I’ll come right out and say it, I’ve never understood polyamory. To be blunt, I’m not incredibly facile at building and maintaining loving relationships with one person at a time. (Yes, folks, Bacchus is available, and has been for… well… crap, I’m out of fingers and toes, uh… er, for a long time.) Start upping the numbers, and in my limited experience, things get ugly fast.

That “experience”, I will confess, consists of only one single train of events, which unfolded over two years and involved five friends of mine, three of them quite close friends. By the end of the matter two previously happy couplings were history, and I had witnessed a wedding, two divorces, one suicide attempt, several more contemplated suicides, and many many many hours of anguished conversation and tearful soul searching. Nobody, and I do mean nobody, appeared to enjoy much of this process, although the central figure is, or was when last heard from, happily living in a poly family and community on a different coast.

Now, that said, I’m sympathetic to the idea of polyamory. It’s just that I’m pessimistic about its prospects and stability. So I tend to be drawn to accounts of poly lifestyles, and I try to be polite about the fact that my fascination is akin to the fascination of a train-loving bystander at a really juicy train wreck.

Ever since I first linked to Lilith’s Note of the Day, I have noticed that Lilith has interesting stuff to say about the poly lifestyle. Her blog, and the network of linked blogs of some of the people dear to her, make for fascinating reading, at least if you are interested in human relationships and the rich complex ways in which they overlap.

All of which is by way of incredibly long-winded introduction to this item, entitled simply “How to Fuck Up” by Elise Matthesen. Lilith notes that this helpful guide has been circulating since 1997, but she doesn’t personally think it’s gotten quite enough exposure. Of the nine enumerated methods for fucking up, I saw at least seven put to effective use during the one poly train wreck I witnessed. So I’d have to agree, a little more exposure couldn’t hurt. Go read it already, it’s full of gems like Method One:

1. Lie. This is basic and effective. To maximize bad results, lie about something important to the other person(s) and arrange to be caught in the lie in such a way as to produce maximum shock. Additional stress points awarded for keeping the lie going for a while before discovery, which increases the disorientation and sense of betrayal in the deceived person(s). Lying about sex gets double points. Lying about being married gets triple fuck-up points. Creative lies of omission (i.e. “not telling”) with fancy rationalizations and condescension get gold stars.

And now it’s truly the deep dark middle of the night, and time for sleep.

[links removed due to ancient rot]