Monday, October 09, 2006

Conversations with lawyers

So Friday night, I’m sitting around after work with some workmates, and we’re discussing the week. Debbi, a young family lawyer, was telling a story about a couple of new clients who described themselves as swingers. When, earlier, she'd handed their file over to me, I’d said to her that they sounded more like polyamorists than swingers. And now here we are, over a bottle of wine, talking about this, and the cloned blond secretaries naturally ask what the difference between the two things is. I find myself explaining. Remember I don’t know these people very well, but what the hell, it’s my last day on the job anyway, and so I persist.

And halfway through this, I become aware that Francis, a senior partner, has come in and is listening. Now, Francis is a nice guy. He’s also incredibly intimidating. He carries the sort of English accent that discreetly hints at the existence of some very old money. His manner of speech, of dress, of deportment, all make me feel as if I’m a common, gum-chewing, slangy young thing. And now this incredibly proper Englishman, who must be close to sixty, is listening to me explaining the difference between non-mainstream sexualities.

After a couple of minutes, he says, thoughtfully and slowly; “No, there’s a problem with that, you see.”
“A problem with polyamory?”
“Yes. Yes, I think so.”
Oh, great. Now I can either defend the morality of a lifestyle which I don’t practice but have nothing against in principle – which my instinct is to do – or I can nod and smile and leave feeling like a coward. Either way, this is not how I was hoping my last evening was going to go. This is not the conversation by which I want to be remembered.
“What do you see as the problem?” I never have been good at knowing when to shut up, after all.
“Well, ‘poly’, you see, is from the Greek, whereas ‘amore’ has a Latin root. As a neologism, it just doesn’t work.”
“Er. Yes. Good point. I’ll pass that on.”

Thank Christ for that.


Anonymous Michelle said...

I know a lot of people who identify as poly but hate the term for that very reason... :)

09 October, 2006  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Because, god knows, English is such a consistent language most of the time.... :)

11 October, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the morale: lawyers are dorks.

19 October, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh god, I spelled that wrong. Lawyers are also atrociously bad spellers in addition to being dorks.

19 October, 2006  

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