I was reading this article from the New York Times this past Wednesday.
I want to bring a little perspective on the old cereal – monogamy example. We’ve all heard the argument against monogamy where a man will say something like “who wants to eat the same cereal everyday?” Which usually makes me think, “well, I know I don’t want to eat the same cereal everyday.” But this week I was giving more thought to this analogy and realized the flaws in it.
First off, I don’t eat cereal everyday. Sometimes I’ll snack on K cereal as part of my diet, but that’s where my cereal eating ends. So the idea of having to eat cereal everyday for the rest of my life is nauseating. I’m going to equate this idea to marrying someone I don’t really like but maybe he’d be good for my health or maybe he was on sale. Not a good reason to make a commitment.
So let’s take out cereal from the equation. Instead I’m going to imagine I found some amazing fantastic guy. The kind of guy I love as much as I love Coca-Cola. Because having Coca-Cola everyday for the rest of my life is something I could get behind. Sometimes after a long day with no Coca-Cola, I’ll pop open a can and chug it like I was having multiple orgasms. Ahhhh.
So here we get to the second point which is the monogamy. And for the sake of argument, I’ll be a human being who is perfectly healthy without water. So in my Coke – Monogamy life I would forsake all juices, beers, coffee, any drink at all. Right? I have to admit the thought makes me want a Mango smoothie. But if Coke were to say to me “If you dare drink that Mango smoothie, we’re through”. Well, I don’t think I could live without the Coke. Maybe Coke and I could compromise? Maybe only a couple of Mango smoothies in the summer?
My analogy is running away from me.
What I want to say is that I think the writers and people quoted in the article are right in saying that basically, monogamy is harder than it looks. It’s normal to have a craving for something else once in awhile, it’d be a strange person who didn’t. Some people give in to the craving, others don’t. Some would if they could, and some couples allow each other to give into cravings.
Bottom line is, don’t think about the cereal argument about monogamy, it’s a horrible analogy.
Side Note… I agree with the article in saying that one of the problems we’ve been having lately in marriages in this country is that before it was normal for men to have mistresses while now men are expected to have the same fidelity as the long suffering wife. If it had gone the other way though I think I would have enjoyed if women were instead free to have as many men on the side as their husbands use to have women.
But in all honesty, I’m glad for the way it turned out. Let the men suffer as we have suffered. If I could sew a Scarlett Letter to their chests I would.