We stop to stock on groceries and, as a bonus, we are treated to a scene from HBO’s Big Love. They walk down the aisle of your typical Walmart store. Three women behind a cart: one 40, one 30 and one 20 (or maybe just 16) year old, dressed in prim long dresses and sporting elaborate hairdos. They must be sister wives. Heeding the guidebook’s advice I tried to gawk respectfully.
I have nothing against polygamy per se. Obviously I oppose brainwashing women and forcing teenage girls to have sexual relations with older men. And most definitely I condemn religious motivation behind any kind of liaison: catholic monogamous marriage as license to have sex is just as artificial. I do think that separation of church and state means that state should either sanction all types of civil unions or none, instead of enforcing judeo-christian version filtered through Napoleonic divorce laws.
Monogamy is a social and cultural construct developed as a compromise between men, for the benefit of men. In western version of marriage women are still a property but they are now a rationed property: one man can only have one wife at a time.
Evolutionarily humans are mildly polygamous. I like to speculate what would happen if polygamy were practiced in our modern, western, puritan, mood-enhancers addicted society. As things stand now, American women, obsessed with catching a husband, are turning men into a fickle prey and turning themselves into unhappy pursuers of a singular goal. Compared to a steeplechase of serial dating sharing a man fairly and openly with another woman or two might not be such a bad option. Once several women settle for one man, the pool of potential mates for guys shrinks. They, and not females, have to put an effort into finding a spouse. Males have to achieve something to demonstrate they are worth of becoming a husband. Growing up to be capricious prima-donnas, ageless boys tending to their ever growing beer bellies leaves them without any reproductive chances.
May be we are spending too much time in Utah. But our casual observation of small Utah towns seem to confirm the trend. There are depressed areas everywhere in US, especially easy to find if you dare to leave the interstate. Small cities in Utah however look better than those in Nebraska, Iowa or Alabama. There is no trash on the streets, backyards are not littered with collection of defunct machineries, teenagers are less scary, diners are cleaner and more inviting. There must be a way to accomplish this better than a wacky religious cult.