One of my European friends, who writes a blog called Love Flavored Ice Tea (LFIT), shared an interesting post in my LoveOTB Facebook Page recently. In it, LFIT likens being out as poly–sharing ourselves fully and honestly–to zir girlfriend wearing a particular red dress, and being seen in public with both of her partners:
The red dress is a gift I gave to b, one that is quite inviting to the eye, some might call it exposing. Still she wears it with pride and a bright blush and in many ways, the same is true for our relationship and how it is displayed to our fellow human. Beautiful, but yet it may still shock people… some feel morally offended, some smile and enjoy what they see. When a girl holds hands with two boys, kissing both… she wears the bright red dress, draws eyes and thoughts, judgment and opinions.
To be out about being poly (or otherwise non-monogamous) is honest, and also somewhat provocative. Many in our society have judgments about polyamory as a way of life, preferring that we “not be so showy” about it. LFIT extends the metaphor, and talks about Galileo having “worn a red dress,” saying that there are many who have had to had the courage to be out about themselves and their work in the face of criticism (sometimes even lethal criticism):
Our lives where improved by these proud man and woman, putting on there red dress, showing themself, some passing without ever knowing that they changed the future and the lives of countless people. How would humanity have advanced if its mind was more open? … If every man and woman would have been granted the chance to life out there inspirations? I do not know, but I know there are always those who dare and those who don’t. … Do you dare to wear your red dress?
There was a time that I wore a red dress to a fancy holiday party at my then husband’s new work. I had never met any of these people before. I found out on the way to the event that, without my knowledge or permission, he had shown the just-released Montel Poly Episode (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcZh5lVN5kg) AT WORK that very afternoon. I was mortified! And when we arrived, I was the only woman (except the event coordinator) wearing a red dress, in a sea of “little black cocktail dresses”. It was one of the hardest nights I have ever endured, facing scrutiny and questions when I wasn’t ready for them, and felt I stood out like a sore thumb. I held my head high, however, and smiled, and did my best to answer those questions. To do otherwise would be to admit that there was something I should have been ashamed about. I was not willing to do that, because I did not and do not feel that I should have to be ashamed of being polyamorous.
“Do I dare to wear my red dress” you ask? Yes, I do. I have grown, bit by bit, into wearing my red dress with pride. It is not easy, but it is worth it, for myself, and for others who, like me, wish to share love with more than one.
We shall all wear red dresses together. :^D