The Official Poly Lovers’ Gift List

Each year the Polyarchy — the secret cabal of experts who rule the sexual underground — tries to simplify the lives of up-to-date polyfolk by designing new relationship agreements and requirements, determining what behavior is healthy and what is unhealthy, and setting appropriate and unbreakable boundaries for consensually non-monogamous behavior. Next year’s rules will differ, but, as you know, times change, and last year’s avant-garde is next year’s obsolete.

Under the influence of Mad Men and their bibulous ways, 2010 has been declared the Year of the Beverage. Check this list for the appropriate gift given the length, intensity, and health of the relationship.

One hour to 6 days: glass bottle of sparkling water (plastic is verboten, as it shows minimal environmental sensitivity; warm temperature is acceptable, especially if you enjoy watching seltzer explode all over your partner). Providing a glass and ice cubes shows a willingness to extend the relationship, but a slice of lemon may seem too pushy.

1 week to 20 days: Liter bottle of sparkling water, preferably in cobalt-blue glass. Must be chilled but not frozen. Splitting it by way of two straws shows an arch playfulness masking greed and cheapness.

3 weeks to 6 weeks: Beer by the glass or six-pack is the best choice for this difficult interim period. Microbrews indicate hipness, and many carry amusingly weird names that can send a message to the recipient — the alcoholic version of conversation hearts. Expect knowing smiles in return for Polygamy Porter, and snarled recriminations from Arrogant Bastard or Buttface Amber Ale. When you want to give your beloved a sexual hint, try Golden Shower or In Heat Wheat. Colt 45 is widely considered a preface to restraining orders.

6 weeks to 6 months: Low-priced wine or soda may replace the beer. Two-Buck Chuck indicates a casual relationship. Chardonnay and White Zinfandel reveal shallow, status-based relationships with people whose internal clock stopped sometime during the Reagan era. An Australian Petit Syrah invites the recipient to “climb into my pouch,” or move in. Wine from the former Yugoslavia is an excellent choice, as nobody knows whether it’s supposed to be good or bad. Choosing soda indicates that you and/or your partner are alcoholics, on probation, or jailbait. Embracing the “and” in this situation could become messy.

Beyond 6 months: Casual relationships demand consumables: Blended scotch, martinis, schnapps, liqueurs, and flavored vodkas all come into play. Expense and bottle size indicate the giver’s intentions. A half-pint flask of Popov vodka or Old Crow predicts a brief and regrettable relationship. Gallon jugs of gin, Long Island Iced Tea, or spiced rum promise longer but stormy entanglements.

Secondary partners should be given barware, such as crystal glasses, cocktail shakers, and decanters, all of which must be smashed or returned when the secondary becomes too demanding. Primary partners may be given top-shelf liquors such as 40-year-old single-malt scotch, but only if they promise to share.

Special for the Hot Bi Babe you made a pass at: Unicorn Winery’s Slightly Embarrassed for a failed pass, Traminette for a successful one.

We hope this list will make your holiday shopping simpler. Why worry about your individual partners’ needs, tastes, and interests, when you can consult this handy gift guide?

Incidentally, Mistress Lorelei is always open to gifts of good single-malt Scotch, aged Wild Turkey, and such fine liqueurs as Chambord, Creme Yvette Violet Liqueur, and Bailey’s Irish Cream.

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