I just read an article about Mike Pence, America's new Vice President. In it Pence is quoted as saying that he would never be willing to have a meal with a woman other than his wife unless someone else was present. The article concludes, rightly so, that this is a huge problem for someone in a position of power like Pence is. It restricts his ability to interact with women, and thus pushes women out of his circle. Women have enough difficulty getting to the top of the power pyramid as it is.
It is entirely okay for people to have whatever rules they want as part of their relationship. Whether you are Mike Pence and can't have lunch with a woman, or whether you want to be collared and chained, spending your days playing fetch and being called Rover, if everyone agrees to the relationship rules then they can have them.
But you really do have an obligation to consider how your rules affect the people around you and how they are influenced by the complex social pressures that are inherent in our culture. If a black person says they want to only date black people, and a white person says they only want to date white people, these are different things. Racism is real, and you need to spend time thinking about how your attractions and relationships are affected by it if you want to do the right thing by the people around you. Other entrenched bigotry is the same way.
I chose the two examples above deliberately because they are both about equally unthinkable for me personally. If I had ever tried to tell Wendy that she couldn't have a meal with a man without a chaperone she would have told me to shove it, called out my heteronormativity, viciously mocked my sexism, and broken up with me. Not necessarily in that order.
If she had done the same with me I would have assumed she was joking and laughed my ass off. If she was serious I would have broken up with her right away and wondered how the hell I was so wrong.
The collaring / Rover thing would have been completely different. My 'hell no' reaction would have been roughly the same, but I would have just said hell no and then kept on doing whatever I was doing before. Pretty sure Wendy would still have yelled at me if the roles were reversed, and that tennis ball would definitely have gone un-fetched.
In any case Pence's rules are hilarious when I consider my life these days. If Wendy wanted to have dinner with a man and ended up having sex on the table the only thing that would worry me is cleaning up the mess, and maybe dressing incidental wounds from forks or shattered crockery.
OKCupid has a question on it that goes like this:
Imagine that you come home to find a partner pouring red wine all over a stranger's naked body and then licking it off. Which, if any of the following, would bother you most?
1. The spilled wine.
2. The cheating.
3. The fact that I was not invited to join in.
4. Actually this would not bother me.
I find this question hilarious because such a large subset of the population would look at it as an impossibility, a ridiculous thing put in there so you can answer "The spilled wine" and have a giggle at how silly it is.
Whereas I honestly want to answer 1, 3, and 4. I don't want to have to clean up spilled wine, that is super annoying. I wouldn't actually be bothered by not being invited, but I would hope to be invited once I arrived home and witnessed the event.
It isn't as though this has actually happened to me. But if it did, I would definitely brag about it.
Sometimes when I think about these things I am amazed at how my perspective has shifted. On one hand I recognize that I am in the minority, but there is a big part of me that sees Pence's rules and laughs, thinking "Hah, how absurd!" and then realizes that most people see his rules as either normal, expected, or perfectly understandable, and they think my rules are evil, ludicrous, or dangerous. I am stuck in this place where what I do now seems like the only reasonable way to exist while being entirely aware that hardly anybody else does it this way. I find myself sometimes hearing people talking about what they can't do and I wonder why in the world that would be so, and then realize "Oh right. Monogamy. That thing everyone does."
Monogamy is all right. But that version of controlling, jealous, heteronormative monogamy that assumes that every interaction between men and women must be about sex and nobody can be trusted to honour their commitments... yuck.