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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Excuse me? Open What?

“I am in an open relationship!” He said like a proud Egyptian declaring his American passport.
“How do you mean?” I asked like a poor Egyptian who has never seen a map!

I was not playing dumb; I seriously did not know what to make out of his statement! Open relationship as in honest? No taboos? Creative? Mentally stimulating? Physically liberating?

He gracefully explained to my not-so-enlightened self that this was the ideal relationship because they would never get bored of one another, they got to enjoy space and freedom, and that he was open and candid about having other partners, but he would always come back to her. He asked me to loosen up because life was too short! He told me that he was very honest with his girl and with all the other girls; it was a sign of how decent and open-minded he was! I walked away from the conversation before my violent streak took over, and ran to the comfort and warmth of my cats - who have so far proved to have better logic when compared to human beings.

So an open relationship is like an open invitation for the man to come and go as he pleased? Who would accept that? Is it like a permission to cheat? What kind of man would have the audacity to demand that? Does it mean that exclusivity is struck out of the context of the relationship? Why would anyone want to do that? So, could the girl have multiple partners as well? What would that make of her man? Half a man? If you delete commitment, trust, and respect from a relationship, what would you have left? Sex? Where would such an arrangement leave intimacy, bonding, and partnership? Why even call it a relationship in the first place?

In the old days, men used to tell naïve girls that they were separated. I remember the first time I heard that line, I asked a series of closed-ended questions for clarification; I always started with whether they lived in separate houses, and when the answer was negative, I asked whether they lived in separate bedrooms, and when that test came out negative as well, I would ask timidly if they slept in separate beds. Most of the time, that also was negated. I used to struggle as I asked for a definition of being separated, and I was always told that they were separated on the mental and emotional level. – This is my definition of sliced baloney marinated in crap that men feed us all the time!

A decade later, men grew wiser and realized that their “I am separated” line is not flying. They used the head on top of their shoulders and voila: a new type of relationships that sounds so politically sound - an open relationship was their proposition! A solution that relieved them of any previously felt guilt. He does not have to lie about his whereabouts or hide his tracks anymore; why should he when his partner gave up her right to object and agreed to become an object in his life? There are two types of girls who would accept such a deal; Prototype A is a girl who does not have true feelings and is using him just as much as he is using her. Prototype B is a desperate girl who consensually gives the man the right to kick her behind whenever he pleased. Aside from the traditional code of ethics, and shockingly enough, I carry more respect for the first type, as opposed to contempt, with no traces of sympathy, for the second.

Following George Orwell’s Animal Farm model, upon replacing the word animals with men and making the necessary adjustments, let me jot down the seven commandments of a man’s open relationship:

“Remember, comrades, your resolution must never falter. Never listen when they tell you that men and women have a common interest, that the prosperity of one is the prosperity of the other. It is all lies. Women serve the interests of no creature except themselves. And among us men let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship in the struggle. All women are enemies. All men are comrades. Here is a toast to open relationships!”

1. Whatever goes upon two legs, and asks for exclusivity, is an enemy.

2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has no character, is a friend.

3. No man shall wear a wedding ring – married or not.

4. No man shall sleep in the same woman’s bed forever – married or not married to him.

5. No man shall respect women – women were created for entertainment.

6. No man shall commit to any woman – married or not married to him.

7. All people are equal but men are more equal than women.