Polygamy. It’s all the rage. Okay, perhaps not actually doing it, but thinking and talking about it.
The TV series Big Love got everybody’s tongues wagging. Starring Bill Paxton as a handsome, modern polygamist, with Chloe Sevigny, Ginnifer Goodwin and Jeanne Tripplehorn as his three sexy wives, the show raises all sorts of interesting questions.
For men: would you really want several wives? Sure, the sex would be great, but could you seriously be bothered dealing with the emotional needs (and menstrual cycles) of an entire community of females? And women: could you ever be capable of sharing your man with other women? Not having to have sex every night would be great, but what if you needed a cuddle on one of his rostered days off? And how would you cope if one of your sister-wives was thinner than you?
Still, despite the challenges of Plural Marriage, I believe the polygamists are onto something. After all, conventional marriage is hardly ideal. One partner to fulfil all our needs till death do us part? No wonder the divorce rate is rising! Clearly polygamy, offering a variety of partners to fulfil a variety of needs, is a viable alternative for the modern spouse.
However, traditional polygamists haven’t quite got it right. Though they’re on the right track with the notion of multiple spouses, they’ve actually got the whole concept in reverse.
You see, it’s not the modern husband who needs a multitude of wives. It’s the modern wife who needs a multitude of husbands.
Think about it. The average man is pretty simple in his needs. He requires food, shelter, a pleasant job, peace and quiet, regular sex and… no, that’s pretty much it. He doesn’t need to be married to four or five women for this. One woman can easily fulfil those requirements, and have plenty of time left over to work, tend to the children, and bond with her girlfriends.
Women’s needs, on the other hand, are far more complex, and so are our spousal requirements. We need our partners to perform a number of different functions, and to fill an array of distinct roles.
For a start, we need Provider Man, a husband who will earn plenty of money and support us in our childbearing years. We need Family Man, who will change the nappies, do the soccer run, and help the kids with their homework in the afternoons. We need Sensitive Man, who will hold us in his arms, be nice to our mum, and talk sympathetically about our problems. We need Sex God Man, for those moments we want to be ravished like the goddesses we are. Oh, and we need Handy Man, about twenty times a day, for all those pesky little jobs around the house.
We need Jamie Oliver Man, for meals, and Technical Man, for computer glitches. We need Queer Eye Man, for shopping, and Funny Man, to make us laugh. And we need Clooney Man, who looks brilliant in a tux, to escort us to parties and make our girlfriends wild with jealousy.
So how can we get all these men in one husband? We can’t! Men aren’t that adaptable! They’re not women, for goodness sake. So there’s only one answer.
Yes, we women need to take on many husbands. Of course, there may be downsides –more sex than we strictly need (though that wouldn’t be a problem on Clooney Man night), and less control of the TV remote. But these would be small prices to pay for the emotional fulfilment a Plural Marriage would bring.
Now, purists may argue that this version of polygamy defeats its original biblical purpose, which is to maximise the number of offspring of every family. I beg to differ. Given a full complement of husbands to provide for us, nurture us, cook for us, clean for us, rub our backs when we’re tired, entertain the children, feed the baby, and tell us we don’t look fat in those maternity pants, we could easily pop out a dozen babies per head. And we’d certainly feel like having sex a lot more, too.
So modern women, let’s embrace the new polygamy! It may not be conventional, it may not be simple, it may not even be legal, but it will certainly be rewarding.
And when Sensitive Man is rubbing your shoulders, whilst Family Man minds the kids, Queer Eye Man irons your clothes, and Handy Man fixes the stove so Jamie Oliver Man can prepare dinner, you’ll be glad you made the change.