Did you watch the season premier of Sister Wives?
Oh, good. Two things I like about you are your superior taste in television and righteous moral code preventing you from enjoying the carnage left in the wake of another reality TV train wreck.
Remind me to be more like you after this season of The Polygamy Party wraps.
Because I am fascinated by all things deemed “socially wrong” and have a hard time turning down the bounty of jokes such programs offer, I grabbed a bowl of popcorn and a Bible (for research purposes) and settled in for the hour-long ride. TLC’s hit show follows the boring-while-scandalous lives of a polygamous family. One husband. Four Wives. A crap ton of kids with daddy and multiple-mommy issues. The current season begins with the family’s abrupt move from Utah to Las Vegas. Prompted by the looming criminal charges filed against the unique clan for their, um, uniqueness, they packed up their van (and greyhound bus and eighteen-wheeler) and began anew in the City of Sin. To which I say, “Irony, I think I love you“.
The opening episode chronicles what I like to call Duhprise!, a series of serious family talks about alarming events that everyone else saw coming. The wives aren’t thrilled when a fellow wife announces a pregnancy? Duh. How’d you see that one playing out Wife Nueva? The children are acting withdrawn because on top of having to explain their dad’s feathered haircut they are now subject to having their “uniqueness” broadcast to every man, woman, and classmate in the nation. Double Duh, and yet Wife #2 looks pretty astounded. To which I say, “All y’all wives, I’m astounded that you’re astounded”.
Midway through the show, one of the wives (the blonde one. No, not that blonde one. The other blonde one. Nope, wrong again. Oh, forget about it) began crying as she questioned how their lifestyle affected their children, their jobs, and every other nook and cranny of their world. I was prepared with my standard Duhprise! jab but stopped short of mocking the wed-happy clan this time. Perhaps I was mastering that ever elusive sensitivity thing. Maybe I felt the woman’s pain as a mom not sure of how to get the mom part right. Most likely it was the radiant glow of the husband’s feathered locks that entranced me. To which I say, “Sir, your hair is glorious. And disturbing. But- good God- it’s glorious”.
Whatever the reason, I spent next twenty-one minutes trying to justify the family’s odd arrangement. Surely we aren’t all that different. Some of the wives like sweaters. I like sweaters. They live in houses. I’ve only got one, but a roof’s a roof, right? Some of the kids think their parents are whack. My mom once greeted a group of my school friends at the door in her underpants. The more I thought about it, the more rational a polygamist lifestyle became.
PERKS OF GETTIN’ HITCHED…. And then doing it all over again…and again and again and again and again
1. No shortage of potential candidates: Should one wife leave or another mortgage payment just sounds cool, the polygamist husband has a proverbial buffet of willing and weird ladies ready to join the Wife Trifecta. From the participating prisoners in Tennessee Women’s Penitentiary pen pal programs to the ill-dressed ladies not up to par to snag a rich date from the Millionaire Matchmaker, a good wife’s not all that hard to find. Also, I hear Kate Gosselin is on the market for a new village to raise her…village.
2. Stocked cupboards: No, I’m not talking about soup. As the lone woman in a house of boys, I am faced with a monthly shock of having run out of products for the hygiene of my lady bits. Big, brave men, being scared of the tiny, cotton tools, offer no help. They will not, under any circumstances, lay their brawny hands on a toxic box of tampons. If forced to run that cursed errand, the male population will act insulted (even injured) because, you know, I begged for a period just to mess with you. With a bevy of sisterwifefriends, though? Biologically synced menstrual cycles will have you all singing the bloody tune around the same time. What are the odds all eight of us forgot to buy doots?
3. No Headache? Not a problem: A complaint of many uni-married couples is sexual interaction or- more precisely- the lack thereof. The average American bedroom on a Tuesday night sounds a lot like the site index for WebMD: headache, tendonitis, rabies, headache, gallstones, swine flu. A lone wife is forced to walk that delicate balance between courteous intimacy and blatant lying to avoid the doing of the “it”. I, for one, know that the old strep-throat-&-demodectic-mange routine only works for about a week. But when your husband hops houses and swaps wives on a daily basis, suddenly Wife, The Sex Doctor need only be on-call every other month.
4. Everyone loves a little math humor: Traditional brides are somewhat restricted in boring, old choices for wedding invitations. While the standard boy-met-girl lingo is more widely accepted, I can’t help but think how much fun creating a wedding as The Newbie Wife could be. The possibilities are endless. From “We Thee Wed” to “Two Become
One Fourteen”, you’d surely win in the category of uniqueness.
5. Big money, honey(s): Should the polygamist tribe be blessed with straight teeth and feathered locks (check!), a foray into the entertainment industry is a lucrative venture. What starts as weepy interviews on a reality television show can bloom into big screen celebrity. Wives can man the cameras while the kids work as unpaid starlets in a remake of Children of The Corn. The Sisterhood of The Traveling Husband could play out on film with all the tears and female hormones of the more recognizable blockbuster hit about friends sharing jeans. The story line would be the same just with a less attractive male lead… and probably less pants… and definitely less traveling (unless you count a midnight move out-of-state to avoid court proceedings). Never mind. That’s an awful idea. I’d definitely take the denim.
As this week’s train pulled into the station, a polygamist people wrecked and bare to sickly curious onlookers, my list of pros for the television family seemed like a grain of sand at the foot of Cons Mountain. I clicked off the TV and gave my one man a high-five (a passive warning against even thinking about introducing another lady into my house). I spun the little ring around my finger, repeating one thing as I drifted to sleep. Monogamy, I think I love you.
What are your thoughts on polygamy? monogamy? All the gamy’s in between?