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Now They're Challenging Me To A Bar Brawl
After Kate Coe posted a link to a rant about my column, "Along Came Polyamory," on FishbowlLA, and the column found its way to various polyamory bulletin boards, a handful of humorless polyamorists hopped on my comments section.

Brave "Tom" with no last name wanted to rumble:

I'm near Colorado and Cloverfield if you are interested in hashing this out.

Some sane, intelligent polyamorists posted, too. Unfortunately, they seem to be in short supply. But, check out all the huffy commenters on my blog post, "Amy Alkon Is A Big, Dumb Meanie Who Won't Apologize."

The bottom line, despite their heavings and their rude attempts to coerce me into apologizing -- I was quite accurate in my description of what is and isn't a "sexually open relationship":

No, humans aren't naturally monogamous — which is why people say relationships "take work" while you never hear anybody talking about what a coal mine an affair can be. There are "sexually open relationships," but none other than the late Nena O'Neill, coauthor of Open Marriage, admitted to me that few couples can make a go of them. Of course, without an explicit agreement for, let's say, a feel-up free-for-all, you don't have a sexually open anything, just a partner who's cheating.

In lieu of having the goods on me, they turn into anonymous comments section thugs -- nuts who compare unfavorably even to The Cat People. I have yet to see a Jim Treacher-level commenter among them. Quite frankly, I love a good bitchslapping. It's just that if I'm going to be bitchslapped, I'd like it to be by somebody smart and funny like Treach. What most of these polyamory people are doing in my comments at the moment, well, it's like being pecked to death by ducks.

Next time, I'll listen to Cathy Seipp:

Seriously, Amy, I sort of hate to see you bother with such a tiny nitwit as this. She desperately wants attention, and now she's got it although she doesn't deserve it.

The interesting issue to me is: How should these blogospheric attacks from people so far beneath you be handled? My policy is to generally ignore them...other than an occasional tangential mention.

Most helpfully, Cathy also explained my headline for the short of intellect:

Forgot to add that "Along Came Polyamory" is obviously just a play on words and a clever headline, not an insult.

What's most amazing about this whole stupid thing is what one commenter (a polyamorist herself) pointed out -- could there be worse PR for the "poly people"? I've never had such a bunch of rude, low-blow commenters on my site. Quite frankly, I'm not so much horrified by the names they're calling me and rude remarks they're making as I am by how free they feel to make them -- and anonymously. They even insult...Movable Type! In the words of brave Tom with no last name:

> I apologize for the double post,
> the server kicked a 500 error for some reason.

That's 'cuz she's using "Movable Type."

The choice of imbeciles, everywhere.

My personal comments section policy for the past few years -- on my site or others': either I post under my own full name or not at all. Of course, I'm not a weenie. Then again, a number of these commenters did post remarks about how I look like a man. What do you think? Can you spot my huge member under this dress?

Amy Santa Monicagrdress.jpg

Posted by aalkon at October 3, 2006 1:58 PM

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I see two clues... wait. You're in direct sunlight? Aren't you the risk-taker!


Have you any idea why Giselle Bundchen is paid so much? There's a mannish face for you. Apparently we are to single out any definition of structure, any distinctive feature as masculine. Heinlein observed that young girls cannot be said to have their own faces, being so alike until living has shaped them. That would make them interchangeable among the "polyamorists", wouldn't it? And conveniently disposable. Not you, in short. No wonder they complain.

Posted by: Radwaste at October 3, 2006 2:33 AM

Not completely off-topic:
Amy, you glorious Goddess.
I'd seriously consider going gay for you.

Posted by: Deirdre B. Goode at October 3, 2006 5:11 AM

Me too! Er, wait.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at October 3, 2006 5:31 AM

Nice shrug!

Posted by: RedPretzel at October 3, 2006 5:56 AM

Aww, thanks Deidre. I've always wished what the religious nutters contend is true -- that you can change your sexual orientation. If I could've, I would have expanded mine to bisexual (insert Woody Allen joke about greater choice of dates for Saturday night).

And thanks, Red P...warm, too. Vintage cashmere sweater cut up into a shrug. Label says "claudette" -- wish I could get a few more!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 3, 2006 6:00 AM

You look awesome in that photo Amy....but you COULD be tucking....haha!

Posted by: Rob at October 3, 2006 7:00 AM

As my late friend and Advice Lady partner Marlowe used to say, most fashion errors can be corrected with gaffer's tape and/or a Sharpie. (I guess the gaffer's tape is for the tuck, but I'm not sure how the Sharpie fits in.)

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 3, 2006 7:09 AM

...attacks from people so far beneath you...

Ugh, that expression is SO 1950s.

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at October 3, 2006 7:20 AM

Wow - that's a HUGE member!!

And by 'member', you mean billowy scarf, right?

Posted by: Peggy Archer at October 3, 2006 9:29 AM

Great Picture: I think you need a vigorous chest massage!(cultural reference: Larry Hagman in Superman).

As for the Polyamory dustup, I read your suggested book, The Ethical Slut, and was really excited about what it promised. Primarily, the idea of complete honesty and openness when discussing sexual matters was what I liked. I've checked out some of the SoCal versions of Polyamory and so far it looks like a bunch of horny guys looking to score with more than one woman at a time or women that are not having any luck elsewhere. Does that sound cold?
For all I know there may be all sorts of hot women out there looking for multiple simultaneous relationships, but empirical evidence suggests otherwise.

Posted by: Rodger at October 3, 2006 9:52 AM

I was quite accurate in my description of what is and isn't a "sexually open relationship"

Well, thats something that could be quibbled over, since you described what is not a "sexually open relationship", but really didn't describe what is a "sexually open relationship". However thats a point you seem to be missing, polyamory is not the same thing as a "sexually open relationship".

Quite frankly, I'm not so much horrified by the names they're calling me and rude remarks they're making as I am by how free they feel to make them -- and anonymously.

You seem to object to folks posting anonymously. Let me point out some things to you. First anyone who posts their name on a blog comment section, they will have that post come up on any google search. It is routine in the modern business world to do that sort of search. Second, polyamorous people can be fired for their relationships and/or have fairly nasty things happen to them in custody battles, few poly people will associate their real name with poly online.

You keep posting a link to that photo. Did you just not get the irony? Are you that thin skinned?

Posted by: bill at October 3, 2006 10:05 AM

You know, I'd be embarrassed to have any potential employer know I said some of the disgusting things that have been said, too.

Posted by: Brenda at October 3, 2006 10:09 AM

"Have you any idea why Giselle Bundchen is paid so much?"

Nope. No idea whatsoever.

And Amy, fabulous sugartits.

Posted by: Hasan at October 3, 2006 10:12 AM

I forgot to mention...that ought to be a sign, you know, the kind of sign that says, hmm, what I'm saying wouldn't be respected, and would reflect on me poorly. Then maybe you should keep your fingers off the keyboard until you have something smart to say.

Posted by: Brenda at October 3, 2006 10:12 AM

Amy, wonderful picture! It reminds me of that marvelous shot of Audrey Hepburn in "Funny Face" running down the stairs with the red scarf.

Posted by: deja pseu at October 3, 2006 12:10 PM

I'm always amazed at who reads FBLA. I wonder if I have a following in the Poly community?

Posted by: KateCoe at October 3, 2006 1:09 PM

Geez... what an uproar. Kind of weird logic to say that if people don't understand you it's your fault. Maybe if you were being unclear... but you weren't. Don't you think that if something you read really really pissed you off, enough that you felt compelled to attack the writer, that you would read it over and over and over until you were damned sure you understood it? I would. Don't you kind of have an obligation to, especially if you're going to throw a huge hissy fit? People are making this way more complicated than it is. Consent, people. That's what he didn't have, that's what made what he was doing crappy, and that's what would have put him in the clear. That seemed to be the point.

Posted by: Christina at October 3, 2006 2:19 PM

Hey Amy, can I do the bar crawl in your place?

Posted by: Stephanie Coulter at October 3, 2006 4:43 PM

Hi, Stephanie...well, there's a great surprise! And yes!

And as for anonymous comments posting, a few regulars on my site do need to keep their comments private. That's not a problem. They tend to be balanced people who comment politely.

Too often, however, creepy weenie people use anonymity as a way to say something they wouldn't have the guts to put their name behind.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 3, 2006 4:50 PM

Hey, Amy,

I'd kill for a figure like that...I'd even take the member...if I could find it...

Posted by: Brenda at October 3, 2006 5:37 PM

For all I know there may be all sorts of hot women out there looking for multiple simultaneous relationships, but empirical evidence suggests otherwise.

There are some hot women who do the poly thing, but I'd doubt you'd find them in any of the organizations.

Posted by: Peggy Archer at October 3, 2006 8:00 PM

Am I a moron? What is the big deal here? Wasn't the gist of the column - I've read it, but not the annoying parsing by everybody - was that the guy was engaging in bad behavior under any reasonable set of rules, mono, poly-, or otherwise?

Relax, poly-people. Act defensive like this and people will tend to think there's a reason why you need to be that way. The rest of the world just doesn't care what you do with your genitals, as long as it doesn't make a mess for the rest of us to clean up.

Posted by: justin case at October 3, 2006 8:12 PM

Lovely photo, Amy. That color is fabulous. You're an inspiration. Just one quibble: The handbag is too bulky for this otherwise exquisite look. Something sleeker would have been perfect.

Concerning this poly discussion, it really is beneath you, Amy. When it comes to small-minded, sniping losers, one's best bet generally is to ignore them. Consider adopting the motto "Don't feed the trolls". Or remember the old saying "Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty ... and the pig likes it."

See, there's one thing losers can't stand: winners. And you're a winner, Amy.

Posted by: Marie at October 3, 2006 11:25 PM

You're right about the handbag. The truth is, I'd just gotten off a plane from France, and my boyfriend scooped me up and took me to Shutters. I only had time to throw on a dress!

And thanks -- I got into it this time, but next time, I'll take Cathy's advice and yours on feeding the trolls.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 3, 2006 11:32 PM

I know -- you've got Lucy in there, right?

Posted by: Marie at October 3, 2006 11:35 PM

Actually, she fits perfectly in there, but she'd just gotten off a 14 hour plane flight, so I left her at home on her tiny jewel-encrusted throne.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 3, 2006 11:39 PM

Uh, excuse my European ignorance, but what is "Shutters"?

Posted by: Marie at October 3, 2006 11:41 PM

Oops, sorry -- being a little too So-Cal centric. It's Shutters Hotel in Santa Monica, on Pico Blvd near the ocean.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 3, 2006 11:55 PM

Oh, you are so gorgeous!!! :) Very Art Nouveau.

By the way, if you need someone to throw down with you in that bar brawl, I do have a black belt. (A great accessory for sugartits.)

Posted by: Melissa at October 4, 2006 11:23 AM

Polyamory is like the Military Commissions Act of 2006: it could be useful in some situations, but it's too open to abuse in the wrong hands.

Posted by: jeb at October 4, 2006 12:38 PM

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