Our family is:
Irresponsible. Immoral. Weird. Over-sexed. Terrible parents. Infection-ridden. Adulterers. Potential jealous murderers. Some critics weep about us, others think we're hefty contributors to the End of Days. We men are everything from the world's most beta males -- pussy-whipped ad nauseam -- to shag-happy grade-A shits. (I do believe those are all the chief orifices covered in half a sentence.) Oh, and the women? Sluts, control freaks, or both.
That's what some commenters and commentators have said about us.
Lor' love a duck! If I want to hear that kind of language, I can get it at home.
I've been chatting about all this with Terisa. She -- and Scott & Larry, but she perhaps in particular -- has been a target much longer than I.
"Does it bother you, even a little bit?" she asked.
"No," I said. "Besides, they don't know us personally."
I was tempted to say that I'd always rather people would say something nice instead (or at least pick up young Edwin's bar tab once in a while). But even that's not true: not in the advocacy sense. We're trying to show that polyamory can work okay in a regular street, with regular people, and that there's no need to hush it up. This is a wee bit off the grid, so it'd be suspicious to hear only approval. Nobody kicks a dead dog, right?
But there is one kind of angst about us that could be more demoralizing, if allowed to be so.
It is the kind that I'm not sure is even there. I catch it out of the corner of my eye, but can't quite locate it if I look straight at it. It bothers me more if it emanates from friends and colleagues. It's best described as a suspicion that, in some muddy way, we have let the side down or gone strange. That we are like a drunk from whom, for now, it is best to tiptoe away until he has slept it off.
This can be hard to handle, because it is hard to address. Perhaps people are staying quiet because they are simply too busy to care. Actually, I'm certain this is often the case. But with other folks, broaching the whole issue with them can seem self-conscious. So I just let it be. I figure they'll come and chat, if they feel like it. Meanwhile, perhaps they'll get the occasional glimpse of us with our partners when we don't think anyone's looking: at the grocery store, or whatever. Hopefully, that will say a thing or two.
There are also the boatloads of support we have.
Quite apart from which, there's another reason why I try not to grumble about negative comment. That is: we've kinda asked for it. We could have stayed private, but chose to stick our heads above the parapet. This does not excuse irrational or hateful content in the brickbats leveled at us. But I guess we knew that people would gnash their teeth and turn the air a vivid blue. Fair enough, guv.