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Dublin: 22 °C Monday 15 July, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: The truth about polyamory

Grab a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. The truth about polyamory

shutterstock_673566268 A Pride parade in Toronto Source: Shutterstock/Shawn Goldberg

What’s it like to have multiple lovers – is there a lot of emotional admin, or is it very rewarding? Here, people in poly relationships get real.

(The Guardian, approx 14 mins reading time)

While shows such as Wanderlust depict polyamory as a tumescent bonk-fest, in reality polyamorous people spend most of their time doing the deeply unsexy business of talking about their feelings. Sanson credits polyamory with giving her more emotional self-awareness. “Polyamory has allowed me to be more introspective, think about the motives behind what I’m doing, identify emotions more accurately and be explicit about how I’m feeling about things.”

2. Ghosts of the glacier

As the snow on the mountains melt in the Swiss Alps, the secrets of the mountains’ past are revealed. That means that bodies of those who died on the Alps are now accessible.

(GQ, approx 21 mins reading time)

Jan Theiler had never found a body, let alone two, poking out of the ice. But he was not particularly disturbed. For one, they clearly had been there for many years: The style of the boots and the bottle suggested decades. And everyone knew people have gone missing on this mountain, especially years ago, when the ice was much thicker and crevasses much deeper. There was even a plaque bolted to the monolith at the edge: MARCELIN ET FRANCINE DUMOULIN, it reads. DECEDES ACCIDENTELLEMENT. LE 15 AOUT 1942.

3. The cemetery angel 

shutterstock_1160577316 Source: Shutterstock/Laura Caldwell

When the AIDS epidemic hit her hometown of Hot Springs, Ruth Coker Burks ended up fulfilling a caring role for those who had been abandoned in their time of need. Her actions mean people felt love at a time when they truly needed it.

(Arkansas Times, approx 26 mins reading time)

Her son was a sinner, the woman told Burks. She didn’t know what was wrong with him and didn’t care. She wouldn’t come, as he was already dead to her as far as she was concerned. She said she wouldn’t even claim his body when he died. It was a hymn Burks would hear again and again over the next decade: sure judgment and yawning hellfire, abandonment on a platter of scripture. Burks estimates she worked with more than a thousand people dying of AIDS over the course of the years. Of those, she said, only a handful of families didn’t turn their backs on their loved ones. 

4. Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Ginsberg is a hero to feminists – but they didn’t always trust her. As a new movie about her is prepared to be released, Jill Lepore profiles the iconic US judge.

(New Yorker, approx 30 mins reading time)

Ginsburg often waxes nostalgic about her confirmation hearings, as she did this September, when, regretting the partisan furor over Brett Kavanaugh—even before Christine Blasey Ford came forward—she said, “The way it was was right; the way it is is wrong.” The second of those statements is undeniably and painfully true, but the first flattens the past. What Biden was getting at, in 1993, was what the President himself had said, dismissing the idea of nominating Ginsburg when it was first suggested to him. “The women,” Clinton said, “are against her.”

5. Why did a devoted wife kill her husband?

shutterstock_728429896 (1) Source: Shutterstock/Stocked House Studio

Sally Challen murdered her husband Richard eight years ago. People presumed the couple were devoted to each other, but the truth was darker than they imagined. Now, Sally is campaigning to get out on parole.

(The Guardian, approx 21 mins reading time)

Sally served breakfast and, as Richard ate, she took a hammer and hit him more than 20 times. In case he was still breathing, she stuffed a tea towel into his mouth, before wrapping him in some old curtains. She wrote a note that said “I love you, Sally” and placed it on Richard’s body. Then she washed the dishes and drove back to the home she shared with their son, David.

6. The China hack

Chinese spies were able to reach 30 companies – including Amazon and Apple – by compromising the US tech supply chain, this article states. How did it do it? A tiny chip.

(Bloomberg Businessweek, approx 25 mins reading time)

Nested on the servers’ motherboards, the testers found a tiny microchip, not much bigger than a grain of rice, that wasn’t part of the boards’ original design. Amazon reported the discovery to U.S. authorities, sending a shudder through the intelligence community. Elemental’s servers could be found in Department of Defense data centers, the CIA’s drone operations, and the onboard networks of Navy warships. And Elemental was just one of hundreds of Supermicro customers.


Lisa loved Mark, but she suspected, after six years together, that things weren’t quite as they seemed. How right she was turned her world upside-down.

(The Guardian, approx 15 mins reading time)

This is the first interview “Lisa”, who wants to retain her anonymity, has given to the media. Only now, five years later, does she feel ready to describe how she has been devastated by the deception. She speaks eloquently, though the pain is still evident. Her boyfriend, Mark, always had a slightly mysterious side to him. In their last few months together his behaviour was, at times, erratic; but at other times, their relationship was blissful. 

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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