Be­yond the spa pool

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - CONTENTS -

I’ve been in this job long enough to see cer­tain sto­ries rein­car­nated in new, en­light­ened forms.

Take to­day’s fea­ture on polyamor­ists. I edited some­thing along these lines for a mag­a­zine about 15 years ago when peo­ple who ven­tured be­yond monogamy were still called “swingers”.

That word, which felt an­ti­quated even then, has so many con­no­ta­tions. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. Sub­ur­ban high jinks. Gold medal­lions nes­tled in chest hair. Key-swap­ping par­ties held against a back­drop of con­ver­sa­tion pits and shag pile rugs.

I re­mem­ber the writer of that fea­ture re­turn­ing from an in­ter­view with a swing­ing cou­ple who lived on the North Shore. Hav­ing talked to sev­eral peo­ple in that world, she stared know­ingly into the mid­dle dis­tance and im­parted a piece of in­sight I’ve never for­got­ten: “All swingers,” she an­nounced, “own spa pools.”

In­ter­est­ing. Makes sense I guess. Cer­tainly feeds into the cliches out­lined above.

But when Eleanor Black talked to polyamor­ists of to­day, she found things have changed. These are not just straight cou­ples spic­ing things up on a Saturday night. They are peo­ple chal­leng­ing all of our no­tions of con­ven­tional cou­ple­dom, monogamy and faith­ful­ness. You can read what they have to say on page 10.

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