Walter Crasshole ponders how homos are entering matrinomy.
“I have something for you, Walter,” Sebastian said. I expected poppers. Or a pill. Or at least maybe he was hiding a six-pack in the bottom of his backpack. He handed me an A5-sized black postcard. On it, a tastefully written invitation to his and Max’s wedding, to take place in just over nine months at an idyllic castle near the Czech border. “We didn’t print enough for every guest, but I wanted you to have one of the official invites,” he explained. It seemed kind of old-fashioned – but isn’t marriage anyways? – and made me aware how serious this was. And it fit Sebastian’s personality to do this: an infrequent lover over the years who had morphed into one of my closest friends, he often is the most adventurous, crazy of the bunch while also having an enviably on-track life, especially for someone younger than me. Gay Germans have all the luck.
That was seven months ago, and on the road to the chapel in the meantime, someone hitched a ride on the carriage – a cute, young Italian stud named Nicola with a strict Catholic upbringing. And Nicola’s husband Zarbo. Sebastian had started dating Nicola, Max hooked up with Zarbo. When we’d hang out, Sebastian would start talking about his adventures in, ah-hem, polyamory – I prefer calling it sluttiness or (if it must be respectable) an open-relationship. He combined two words that I hadn’t at all expected: “monogamous polyamory”. “It’s simple,” Sebastian told me over a Kindl in Görli, “Yes, Max and I are still engaged, but I only sleep with Nicola and Max only sleeps with Zarbo.”
As I joined both Sebastian and Max out on a wedding dry run to the castle in April, I thought how bad-ass it was that marriage for gays has developed differently than its straight counterpart. And, in Germany at least, it’s had less than a year to truly distinguish itself, since Merkel’s 2017 summer manoeuvre became law on October 1. Still, my friends’ monogamous polyamory is a pretty brazen way to enter into this union.
But why get married at all, you may ask. They haven’t even rented the tuxes and are already boinking other people. Shouldn’t we just destroy the institution of marriage altogether? Well, let’s face it, the reality is that there are pragmatic uses for marriage – freedom of movement, taxes, kids (if you must) and someone with legal access should you fall into trouble. A lot of other things would have to change for marriage to disappear and in the meantime, some people are going to enjoy those rights. And yeah, maybe monogamy and sex don’t need to have anything to do with marriage at all.
As for them personally, the aforementioned German sensibilities that balance out Sebastian’s wild side partly explain their choice. He and Max have been a pair for five years, with a shared apartment, social circle overlap, families and vacation plans. Simply put, they already fit together. And of course, they love each other. Even if they’re lovin’ other people at the moment.
Sound much like having their cake and eating it too? Or does it still seem too much like we’re not getting the point of marriage? Who knows… Maybe we are here to wreck marriage after all. And still get the party.