Monday, 22 February 2016

Polyamory, Padlocks & Pooh

"I'm gonna lock my heart and throw away the key..."

I'm ignoring people's advice to "get out more" because I can no longer deny the love affair I have with my bed, my duvet, my snuggly peluches that are unashamedly scattered on top. Sleeping and relaxing on my bed is still my favouritest thing in the entire world. Despite having travelled the world a lot, met lots of different people and read twice Carnera's bodyweight in books on every subject imaginable, I am spending the Winter hibernating in my soft magnolia nurseryesque bedroom... my body, foetal-like, delighting across my sumptuous bed cuddling fake animals with extraordinary amounts of fur. I was affronted last week when Thumper was stolen. He even speaks and has a thumping foot and to forgive this unfortunate electronic monologue when I make an unlucky turn during the night speaks of a tolerance most high. Anyway, in his place is now a life-size Winnie-the-Pooh (I have no idea how it is life size but I imagine if it was any bigger, it would just be creepy). Goodnight. Oh... I have to finish this? Oh yes, love.

I'm a tireless Romantic and if you are my friend and not a poet, artist or haven't recently dropped LSD, you may roll your eyes on many occasions at some of the shit I come out with. To me, everything (except celery and kohl rabi) is wondrous...the alien jelly clinging to an ingrown hair, the behaviour of saliva a glass of water, the shattered crust beneath my laptop keyboard. Although I do have violent reactions to things to which others pay no mind (like, seeing vegetables cut in a haphazard way upsets me deeply), my experiences are pierced by a pastel-coloured joyful amygdala that believes, no... knows! that the One exists and will come one day. I am stupid enough to even take reassurance from a friend who tells me Barbra Streisand's true love was revealed when she reached 59. I don't Google this. I don't need to because I am busy waiting for Love and it is on its a gilded carriage, smelling of red roses, holding hands across the bridges of Paris. Until that bridge collapses and everyone dies.

"and if I never fall in love again, that's soon enough for me"

At least, that would have been the fatal outcome of a bridge in Paris if Parisian health and safety officials (does it depress anyone else that Paris has health and safety?) hadn't removed the padlocks people have placed their for decades as symbols of their enduring love. 45 tonnes of eternity, unbuckled. The amorous culprits obviously hadn't attended the University of Manchester's day of lectures on polyamory.

I admit - as soon as I saw the word 'love' in the title of the seminar (I may have even invented that when I saw something vaguely resembling 'amour') I booked my ticket and tried to drag my stone-cold hearted harem of friends along to much protesting...mostly related to visions of cultish conversion horror. Repent, Monogam! Repent! So on this dreary Sunday morning, church-like, dressed in a chunky cable knit sweater, my Royal Navy jacket and with fruity linseed muesli in tow, I headed in. Be sure - I am not lonely or unfulfilled in my life. I just believe strongly that we are meant to share our life with a special someone. And not many people know that if I were offered a proposal, I would say yes without hesitation. It is these Hollywood hey-day thought spectres that sometimes (often) guide my actions thanks to the likes of images below.

"Swimmers" Diptych, 1962, Roy Lichtenstein

The event reception was strangely glorious, if a little surreal and unexpected, as it strayed significantly from the stiff academic tone of the invite - Gloria Gaynor, Dusty Springfield and Aretha almost boomed from the tannoy as clangs (or is it throngs?) of people stayed close to friends in case the event was just a front for high brow swinging...and then a Volunteer made a peculiar exulted boast about how everything EVERY thing from the complimentary tea and coffee counter was DISPOSABLE. Hell, yeah! The poor thing collapsed when every blue, green and pink-haired attendee, clad in rainbow colours, shrunk in horror and gestured towards the recycling bins. Never has the first 7 minutes of an event failed to prompt a fantasy swift departure. Oh, is this not the Church service?...

Religion has a thick history of enchanting and bothering people in equal measure. My family were no exception. In fact a band of besuited individuals once materialised at our front door as they had heard, or sensed - I don't remember which - that someone in the household had strayed from the flock (their words). It's in those moments that only a Custard / Gillette cream Pie launched in the visage would suffice as an appropriate response.

As Methodists, my sister and I came off slightly easier with our weekly trip to church which of course neither of us could appreciate until later. Methodists are fair and sweet and soft looking. We even had a female minister with cherubic curls. I blame their philosophy for an affliction to be the voice of reason and justice, no matter how small the slight. I was even determined that no-one in that church be deceived during Communion by the blood of Christ - it was bloody Morrisons Taste The Best Forest Fruit juice. No-one cared.

So, en-duveted and surrounded by my oversized stuffed animals (teddies, I mean), I reflect on how being an early Methodist brought unexpected joy through simplicity to my life, shaping my ideas of love and why many peers would bark at me to get a life and stop being so agonisingly dull and dreamy. I didn't drink, smoke, take drugs, I sang all day...hoping the One would hear. I was the Sandy of my suburbs. Everyone wondered why I wasn't ashamed. I was a Shameless Sandy! But the polished seed of purity was sown early and throttled any potential coolness from my body. It lead to crazy attempts later in life of whittling any potential toxin away...a year being a sugar-free vegan (read: I ate bags of pre-washed salad and, secretly, flapjacks) during my gap year, followed by monthly enemas and the compulsion to jog around each new place that I visited on the day I arrived.

What the fluff has this got to do with anything? I don't know, so back to the matter in hand. Padlocks. Bridges. Colossal mess. Polyamory. Love. After almost 6 hours of lectures, my brain melted and now spells out this sticky grey wisdom for you all to paddle around in until The One calls (wait by the phone for him/her because it's just such a great image). Love is ANYTHING you want it to be. Literally. Make it your mission to fall in love with anything that tickles your fancy - a cookie, a door,a wig, a pineapple, a laptop, a vegetable. Maybe be generous and extend that to a human being. It's almost the 22nd Century so no-one gives a shit. The End. I do?

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