How does he date?

2010-02-16 00:00

I WAS doing some writing over a milkshake the other evening while waiting for my wife to finish work.

The writing involved responding to a series of questions about one’s life, some more serious than others. Partway through I looked up and saw three young girls in skimpy shorts and tops walking through the mall. I confess that I enjoyed the sight for a moment before looking down at the next question: “What temptation have you been able to resist recently?” Caught!

That, and the memory of a married colleague who was caught sending messages of “love” to another colleague, got me thinking about one aspect of polygamy that no one has addressed. Many have eloquently argued that polygamy is okay. I am against the practice in a modern open society but I am willing to accept that marrying more than one spouse may be acceptable to some and may work in some circumstances. The question I have not heard anyone discuss however — and I would want to hear from the wives about this — is, how does one go about finding the next wife?

In other words, it’s not the wedding that bothers me but the wooing. It’s not that our president has married more than one wife (one loses count of these things) but that he seems to have “tried them out” beforehand — he has fathered children by some of them before marrying them. And there have been countless others who have not made the grade marriage- wise but have been discarded.

Our president, of course, is not your average polygamous man-in-the- street. But let’s look at the ordinary man who considers polygamy to be okay. He has (so far) only one wife, but, of course, he’s open to possibilities. Now, I might look up from my writing and have flirtatious thoughts, but my wife knows that they are no more than that and that my writing is really what keeps my attention (no, really). In a polygamous relationship, the wife has to expect the worst.

If marriages are meant to be open and honest then what does the husband say? “By the way, on Friday, I’m going out to dinner. There’s this gorgeous young thing Bill introduced me to. I’m going to take her to that new restaurant we spoke about.”

I don’t know anything about the working of a polygamous relationship, but I cannot for one moment believe that that is how it works. I’m pretty sure that there will be a veil of secrecy over the wooing. Some say that mystery adds to the romance of a relationship, but I don’t think this is the kind of mystery they have in mind. What this means is that, instead of just putting up with my enjoyment of a pretty girl who walks past, my wife has to ask herself whether I’m thinking about taking the girl on a date — or perhaps I already have?

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