on obama’s memoir and threesomes

It’s indiscreet to even wonder about this aloud but I’m reading Obama’s memoir and I’m liking it a lot but I keep wondering if he slept around on any of these intergalactic travels where dudes were putting him up in palaces in the desert, tryna lure him into accepting six-figure jewels as gifts—I have to imagine that one of these autocrats tried to win the president’s favor by sending sex workers (slaves?) into his bedroom at some point—and I think part of the reason I’m so preoccupied with Obama’s potential extramarital affairs or trysts is because

  1. His image is so respectable and family-focused and thus an act of infidelity, as the most powerful man in the world, would be conceivable, I think, insofar as that kinda power must go to your head in some ways, etc., but also unforgivable (?), or at least difficult to reconcile;
  2. For strange personal boyish reasons I think I’d be really disappointed if I had to be like, “Shit, even a guy who’s this respectable can’t seem to keep it in his pants.”

Now lemme just be clear in saying I have no reason at all to believe that he might have slept around. I’m just thinking that the opportunities to do so must’ve been manifold. Cuz I hear it even from (forgive the appraisal) some of the unremarkable professors in the college where I work—one of whom, a short guy who sued to be pretty husky until just recently, told me, in his nasal drawl, that “some young students of mine have invited me over to their apartment where I suspect they’d’ve presented me with an opportunity to ruin my life.”

            My friend Steve Donoghue is one of what I think I consider the enlightened crowd that says monogamy, or at least sexual exclusivity, is primitive and dumb or, at best, just a ridiculously high ideal for us humans with all of our impulses and tiny attention spans—and, indeed, I’m friendly with three married couples my own age whose conjugal borders are somewhat porous. If you know what I mean.

            They’ve got rules about it!, I mean it’s not a coital free-for-all where either partner just pursues whom or whatever they please. But they sleep around a little or have threesomes and it’s fine.

            And they seem all the happier for it. Frankly: there are three couples who confide this to me, but I suspect I’ve got more married friends who actually practice it, and at my tenth high school reunion last November, where I caught up with two classmates who were about to get married, the bride-to-be, on one half of a picnic bench, put a hand on my thigh and another on the small of my back and told me she wanted me to come to the wedding, told me in an emphatic way how happy she was to be connecting with me again, while her fiancé (with a dodgy look on his face) sat across from us on that same picnic bench and looked around like someone doing a bad job of being covert. We were all drunk, so maybe it’s just one of those things where someone in the relationship gets flirty when drunk and then the couple goes home and fights about it, but still. I think about that encounter. To be honest, the reason I didn’t go to the wedding is cuz I couldn’t afford a gift, and I didn’t feel so bad about it cuz I hadn’t spoken to either one of em in a decade. Also frankly I suspected the invitation had sexual undertones, and if I did go, it’d be because I was hoping to collect on those undertones, even though I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I’d been propositioned. I guess it depends on the proposition? I’m serious about not having money for a gift, and that the giftlessness was a factor in my avoiding the wedding, but it’s also probably fair to say I chickened out.  

            (I bring this overthinking into literally every romantic situation and it’ll probably come as no surprise that, like a well-militarized border, I don’t see much action.)

            Anyway. It’s been a long time since I was in a serious committed relationship. Years. Buut I wonder if my jealousy would allow for that. I remember Don DeLillo saying in an interview somewhere that the reason his marriage has endured all these decades is cuz it’s always been less about romance than survival. A partnership in the more…secular sense.

            But maybe the sanctity of the monogamous ideal resides in the fact that we pursue despite how impractical it is. Faith, etc.

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