Up Close and Personal with Lilly, the First Tenant of Polyamorous House in Bushwick
Bushwick has never seen a house like this before, and not just because of its amenities
Bushwick has never seen a house like this before, and not just because of its amenities. DNAinfo gave us the scoop on Hacienda Villa, the 15-bedroom house near the Myrtle-Broadway stop embracing those with alternative lifestyles. Now we're getting up close and personal with its first tenant, Lily.*
Hacienda Villa's first inhabitant half-jokingly bills herself as a “hippie elitist snob" — the result of degrees from Ivy League schools and an abiding interest in Burning Man. In fact, Lily met Hacienda Villa realtor Leon Feingold through common circles at the Nevada art event years ago.
Feingold, who is active in the polyamorous community and considering moving to Hacienda Villa himself one day, only shows the place to a network of friends and friends of friends. But that doesn't mean the house is strictly poly-only. “You can move in if you’re not poly, if you think, ‘Hey, these people are cool!’ and you want to live with them, as long as you’re supportive,” he said. “You don’t have to pass a poly test to move in — you’re not poly enough!”
From Mono to Poly and Back Again
“I was always the token monogamy person,” Lily said. Until she met a couple she hit it off with several years ago. “Our relationship was like Friends, but sexy.” It lasted for four months, and they’re all still pals. “[Being with two people] doesn’t feel like being polyamorous to me. It feels like ‘monogamy twice.’ Did I just invent that term? I should use that term!”
Lily envisions easily transitioning between polygamy and monogamy at any time. If more than one person interests her simultaneously, she’s down. “I don’t view polyamory as a lifestyle. It’s not the act of having sex with someone else. It’s more the energy dynamic.”
“I’m as super, super mega selective as any monogamous person. Maybe even more,” Lily said.
Speaking the Same Language
Before moving to Hacienda, Lily lived in the Village with a roommate who confessed that it would be weird for her if Lily had more than one lover over at a time. “It’s a factor any place where I live, and it’s nice to be in a house where we speak the same language,” Lily explained.
Hacienda Villa's amenities are luxurious by Bushwick standards. A private bathroom on the bottom floor features a towel warmer. The original hardwood on the top floor is highlighted by a kitchen skylight. A fenced-off space in front, currently home to a dumpster, will soon be resurrected as a bike shed. Although all renovations are scheduled to be complete by mid-July latest, tenants are welcome to move in at any point prior, as Lily has.
When asked if she anticipates any potential issues, Lily responded that “the dedicated community space on the first floor should stay there. Bringing that community to the second and third floor without being invited would be something to stay firm on.”
A Polyamory Reality Show?
Numerous media outlets have approached realtor Leon Feingold about a Hacienda Villa reality show. He says it might be an option in the future, but not right now. And it would depend, of course, on how the house's tenants feel. “We want it to be a safe place," Leon said.
For now, life inside Hacienda Villa will be slightly more private than a TV series. The official open house will take place this month as a party hosting, again, friends of friends. At the time of this writing, eight rooms are spoken for. Lily inhabits a sunny spot on one of the upper floors, but she won't be living there 24/7. Currently, Lily spends a lot of time in San Francisco, where she’s involved in a tech startup, but plans to keep one foot firmly planted on the East Coast.
Trust Her - It’s (Partly) For Science
Lily believes there isn’t nearly enough serious material published about open love. In fact, she is a member of a scientific sex research group comprised of colleagues and peers working on their own projects and distributing them via all forms of media, from books to TV shows to blogs. “There is a clear distinction between sex orgy people and people who have a sophisticated understanding of what it means to have relationships with multiple people,” Lily emphasized.
Lily says she might try to fill the dearth of legitimate open love writing and inaugurate her arrival at Hacienda Villa by starting a blog about what life is like there.
“I don’t understand jealousy,” Lily said. “Love is not finite, it’s infinite. You just need to create it.”
*Lily is a pseudonym