Tag Archives: marriage

Welcome to the Future

Last night was yet another amazing evening spent with my new beau.  I was recounting some of the night to a close friend of mine, telling her about how happy I was, how a meteor could fall on my head right now and I’d still have a smile on my face, but inevitably “the future” came back to haunt me.

“Don’t hate me,” she began, “But what does this mean for the future?”

I get it.  I understand the path we are taught to take always ends in marriage and kids and this one doesn’t.  But why is that so scary? 

“Uh, lots of hot sex with someone who adores me as much as I adore him?” I responded.  

But of course it’s more than that.  Of course I’m emotionally invested (meaningless sex really does it get me off, but power to the folks it does!) in this relationship, non-tradition though it may be.  And of course a relationship has to go somewhere.  Even if the habits stay the same, even if one doesn’t progress towards marriage or living together, being together for a long time will inevitably lead to a deeper connection– and that, admittedly, is something I do desire.  

But let’s pretend, for argument’s sake, that he were single and monogamous.  It really wouldn’t change where we are right now: enjoying each other’s company, figuring out each other’s quirks.  We’re still new to each other, and at this stage, we’re having fun and learning.  All relationships start this way, regardless of where they end up. 

So I can’t help but wonder, what’s the rush?  What’s the rush to see it “evolve”? And why does evolution only look one way (i.e. marriage)?  I think Darwin would be disappointed by the suggestion.  Yes, my options would be different, but so what?  Even if I had options like marriage and kids and living together, is that something I even want? Right now I can definitely say, “Hell no!” 

“Wouldn’t you eventually want to live with your partner?” asks my concerned friend.  “Not necessarily,” is the answer, but more the point, who says I couldn’t?  I’ve seen some very creative polyamorous households, for the record.  But really, I don’t know.  I’ve never actually lived with a partner (unless you count that semester from hell back in college, I don’t) and I don’t know that I’d want to.  I very much enjoy having my own living space, and even if I did agree to move in with someone, it would be with the caveat that I had at least a room that was all my own space.   A place to escape to, in case of emergency.  

“But don’t you get jealous?” she asks.  A fair question, and I tell her honestly, “Yes, sometimes.  But actually it’s good for me to get confronted with my jealously.  When I stop to think about it, I realize there’s really nothing to be jealous of.  When I’m with him I feel loved and sexy and desirable and heck, even important.  Each relationship is unique, and when I’m aware of this comparison begins to seem so foolish!” 

I really appreciate how open my friend is being, I know it’s hard for her to think I could be happy without getting married.  “When you do believe that marriage and babies is the path that people take and the structure you believe in, its scary when people you love step outside of that.” 

“I guess it’s just dawning on me now, truly, that marriage isn’t the ONLY path to happiness, to family, to love.  It’s disorienting, to be sure, but freeing too.” 

But really, what I can’t get over is what’s the rush? Honestly, what is it? Is it that my biological clock is ticking? Don’t worry, my ovaries never let me forget.  Is it that everybody else is doing it (I’m at that age, I’m going to at least a wedding a year)?  Or is it that life is short? 

Well that’s the irony, I suppose.  It’s because life is short that I DON’T see the rush.  Why am I going to plan for 5 or 10 years down the road when, in reality, the world could explode this evening?  I don’t know what’s going to happen next.  I could win the lottery, I could get hit by a bus, I could find a baby goat on my doorstep and be tasked with raising him to be a proud, badass adult goat.  I don’t know! And that’s the beauty of it.  

So yes, I’m staying in the here and the now as much as possible.  I’m focusing on all the amazing things happening in my life right at this very moment– the future will come soon enough no matter how (un)prepared I am.  So why concern myself with the amorphous FUTURE, when I can spend my time being grateful for everything already present in my life? 

THE FUTURE, as far as I can tell, has already arrived. 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Diminished

Have you ever heard the saying, “A candle loses none of its light by lighting another candle”?  It’s a beautiful quote, author unknown, that speaks volumes to me about community, helping our neighbors, and giving for the sake of it.  But that’s probably because I’m a bleeding heart who works in the non-profit sector.  

But what if we applied this concept to Love? I would argue that right now, we don’t.  The model we’re peddle from day one thanks to companies like Disney is that somewhere out there this is a magical person who is your missing other half and all you have to do is find them! There are only 7 billion people on Earth, so how hard can that be? True love awaits!  

If you’ve been reading my blog for more than 5 minutes, then you already know I think this idea is bullocks.  There are just too many people in the world and too much love to be shared to say that we each have ONE person who’s our soulmate, ONE person who will be right for us for our whole lives through and ONE person whom will provide us with everything we need.  It sounds like a fairy tale because it IS a fairy tale.  

People ebb and flow in our lives.  Some leave as quickly as they arrived, others stay in it for the long haul, their involvement in our lives varying over time as we grow up, grow apart and come back together again.  I think of parents, for example.  No one would deny the important of their parents in their lives (for better or for worse), but most of us don’t talk to them every day.  We might even have friends that are our parents’ ages.  Does this mean we’ve replaced our parents? Does this mean we don’t care about them or love them?  Of course not.  When you’re 5, you spend every waking moment with your mother.  When you’re 25, you’re probably dodging her Sunday morning calls so she doesn’t know how hungover you are.  Our relationships change and evolve over time, but they are not somehow less important because they change. 

So back to my original question… what if we shared our love freely and weren’t ruled by ugly emotions such as envy and jealousy? Why do we hold onto this concept that by virtue of sharing our love, it is somehow diminished? 

It’s a insidious little thought, one that permeates every part of our culture.  The whole concept of “purity” or virginity is based on this idea– that you should only share yourself with ONE person, and if you share yourself with more than one person, you yourself are diminished– you, yourself, are worth less than you previously were.  Well I call shenanigans on this purity bullshit and all it entails.  Whatever higher power gave me this body also imbued me with bodily autonomy.  As long as I am sharing my love, and not hurting anyone, as long as I am consensually giving of myself, how am I diminishing myself?  The more I love, the stronger I feel, it just doesn’t add up.  

So if you’re a purist or a fundamentalist, if you think a woman’s worth is directly related to her virgnity, this is simply where we part ways.  I will never believe that a person’s worth is in any way tied to their virginity, regardless of gender, and frankly I find any other assertion disgusting.  We are more than the sum of our experiences, more than a series of actions taken or acted upon us.   Human beings are beautiful, complex creatures and I can’t think of anything much more meaningless than the number of people you’ve had sex with.  Like most numbers, it’s just used to shame.  Throw it out!  Love all, shame none. This is a SHAME-FREE ZONE.  

Over the years I’ve had run-ins with polyamory, as it were.  I used to say I just kept falling for people who identified as poly, but at some point I have take a closer examination of the fact that I keep gravitating towards people who identify as polyamorous.  Note: polyamory as in “many loves,” not polygamy as in many spouses.  (Which isn’t to say I’m against polygamy, but it’s not quite what I’m talking about.  Culturally speaking, polygamy is often tied to certain religious beliefs, while polyamory is basically the creation of many thoughtful, ethical sluts.)  

Recently I met someone who just awes me in so many ways, perhaps most profoundly in how much love he has to give.  He is, indeed, polyamorous and he has complete understanding of the idea that one relationship need not take away from another.  We are force-fed the idea of of monogamy (along with the marriage and picket fence end game) and the concept of relationship hierarchy.  And this is where I see a lot of new-to-poly folks fall into a trap.  They might’ve gotten rid of the monogamy thought, but not the hierarchy, and that will cause serious problems if you are juggling more than one romantic relationship at a time.  Trust me.  

But what if we throw both ideas out?  No more hierarchy, no more “primary partner” or “one and only”, just love.  Just love given freely.  It seemed so simple when it first hit me.  That jealousy is beyond pointless.  That I can love someone and have a deep and unique connection with them– and it doesn’t diminish what we have for me to love others, or for them to love others.  If anything, you’re just making the pie bigger.  More love, no shame, no jealousy, no competition.  I’m not saying it’s easy, especially when we’ve been taught the only way to be special to someone is to segregate them from all others.  But that’s not the way.  That sounds more like keeping a pet than loving a person, to me.  I mean, heck, even my cats are allowed to socialize.  

So I ask again, how is my Love diminished by sharing it with more people?  Knowledge is strengthened by spreading it around, I don’t see why Love is any different. 

Just use a condom.  Seriously, be safe.  

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Great Expectations

(Cheesy title, I know, but it’s my favorite Dickens novel and it fits the topic perfectly!)

As much as we all know we shouldn’t be held to anyone’s expectations in our pursuit of happiness, except perhaps those we impose on ourselves, the expectations exist nonetheless.  I had a wonderful, impromptu conversation with a coworker the other day who shared with me some of the pressure she regularly gets from friends and family about the progression of her relationship.  In anything new this usually happens: the people who care about us want to know every last detail and sometimes they do more harm than good in their relentless quest for details and updates.   And in relationships, there’s even an expected timeline for relationship progression.

Don’t believe me? You must be under 18.  Otherwise, you’ve lived long enough to notice that even if you don’t jump on this timeline personally, your friends will, and they’ll do it in waves.  Between 18 and 25 you will attend more weddings than you knew you had friends and relatives.  From 25-40 you’ll be invited to so many baby showers that you’ll take up knitting just to cut costs.  And after 40? The divorce wave cometh.

My aforementioned coworker is married, and she and her husband have been together for nearly 8 years.  However, they’ve only been formally married for a little over a year.  Despite never having been married, I know what this means, at least in terms of expectations.  The public likes hot romances and fast families.  That is, we consider it fairly normal to marry someone if you’ve been dating for anywhere from 3 months to 2 years.  Beyond that? “What are you waiting for?” “When are you getting married?” “When is he going to propose??”  Personally, I have a much more conservative timeline.  I wouldn’t marry anyone I hadn’t lived with, and I wouldn’t move in with someone who I haven’t been dating at least a year (I know, I’m shattering all your lesbian=Uhaul stereotypes!).  Then after you get married, you have exactly ONE year to get yourself knocked-up or family and friends give themselves the liberty to comment on your reproductive choices and lack of reproductive promptness.  Think of the children! Literally.

We laughed as she went through a sampling of the torrent of comments she receives: “When are you going to start your family?” “Are you hoping for a boy or a girl?” “Are you trying very hard? You know the longer you wait…” “Tick, tick, tick! That’s your biological clock!” “You should try [insert sexual position or type of medical intervention here, along with a personal anecdote]!”

Do you see it? How there’s also an assumption with the expectation?  Never has my coworker been asked if she even wants to have children, that is just assumed, but people have no problem asking if she’d prefer a boy or a girl before she’s even pregnant! Audacious doesn’t begin to cover it.  But the truth is, our friends and family absolutely think this is not just their business, but their sworn duty to ask.  Without pressure from our social circles, I’d wager some of us would never get married or have children.

The other thing that strikes me about this is how incredibly sexist it is.  My coworker noted that while she receives these kinds of burning inquiries on a weekly basis, her husband has received them… never.   Some questions are absurdly offensive, like “When are you going to start a family?” as though two people who love each other do not make a family already!  And some of the questions, like “When is he going to propose?” just make no sense.  Who says he’s going to be the one to propose?  If he is proposing, isn’t it likely a surprise?  What if they haven’t discussed marriage yet?  For some a lack of interest in getting married is viewed as an unwillingness to commit and a dealbreaker, but to others it’s just not that big of a deal.  I could go on.  Even still, these are the questions women receive and men do not.  In the case of lesbians, I’ve found that when one partner is more masculine (like me!), they’re often treated like the man in the relationship (which, ironically, is rarely the case in my experience; butches are like Cadbury Eggs, we’re tough and chocolately on the outside, and soft and gooey on the inside!).  Or, to quote a friend of mine, “There is no man in the relationship! That’s why we’re lesbians!” For gay men… I have no idea.  (Twinks, Bears, Gay men of all varieties– Enlighten me!)

All in all, these are intensely personal decisions that, for some reason, people feel entitled to inquire about.  Obviously, it depends on the relationship, but there are some friends with whom I truly have no desire to discuss my relationship plans.  But the sad truth is we do have an established structure in our society.  It approximately goes: Go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, buy a house, send your kids to school (cycle starts over with them), then work until your dead or can afford to retire.   Nowhere is it written that this is how you have to lead your life, but people will expect that this is what you want and eventually what you’ll settle on, if you haven’t already.

Gosh, it almost seems bleak.   But let me say what I said to my coworker:  “You’re allowed to not want children.”  Likewise, you’re allowed to not want to get married, you’re allowed to not actually get married, you’re allowed to not have children, you’re allowed to forgo a “regular” job for one of your own creation, you’re allowed to buy a boat or a hot air balloon instead of a house, heck, you’re allowed to run away to the nearest island and eat papayas all day.  It’s all about what makes you happy.  You are not required to live up to ANYONE’s expectations, no matter whose they are or how great they may seem.

As for single people, we have expectations too.  But the question we get is the same every time… So what’s new in your love life?!” 

Of course, I assume when I hit 40, it’ll change to, “When are you going to adopt another cat?” or “Have you purchased your grave-site yet?”

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Dangers of Being a Single Queer

I’ve come to notice over time that in some ways, being LGBTQ and single carries some additional stigma to it than if you’re a single heterosexual.  I don’t mean to say that we don’t all experience loneliness equally, or that women whatever their orientation don’t get a bad rap (“spinster,” “old maid,” etc.), but we still have some very pervasive cultural myths about gay people, and when you’re single, this makes you a suspicious gay person.  Allow me to elaborate.

In the 40+ years since the Stonewall Riots, gays and lesbians in America have made leaps and bounds towards equality.  The last four years in particular have been very fruitful: We saw “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repealed, the Obama administration stopped defending the dreaded “Defense of Marriage Act,” and last November at the ballot box we gained 3 more states that have marriage equality (bringing us up to 9 nationwide!) and saw an attempt to ban same-sex marriage shot down.  The wheels of change have been put in motion, and we are not going back!

But, amidst all this excitement and progress, it’s easy to forget that we were demonized as deviants and pedophiles not that long ago and, alas, in some parts of the world still are.  One need look no further than Uganda, and the continual push there for a “Kill the Gays” bill, to know that we are NOT out of the woods yet.  I mean, heck, look at the Civil Rights Movement and Feminism– how many years have they been at it? And black men are still arrested at an astronomical rate in comparison to the number actually committing crimes, and women are still raped with impunity while her rapists feel free to post pictures and video of the assault all over the Internet.  It would be fair to say that none of us are out of the woods– unless you happen to be a wealthy, white, straight guy (sorry wealthy, white, straight guy allies– I believe you exist!).

And, of course, I do not believe the fight for queer rights is anywhere near over until we get things done for our trans* brothers and sisters.  I mean, if you’re trans* in America, you aren’t even guaranteed the right to employment or shelter.  In fact, for many years I’ve been frustrated how hard the queer community has been pushing for marriage equality in particular.  Don’t get me wrong– I think marriage equality IS a civil right and both should and will happen eventually… but I can’t help thinking we’re pushing too hard and too early.  Too hard, considering how many other basics LGBTQ peoples are denied and, no offense, but marriage equality doesn’t do much to help the single gay guy who got evicted for the horrendous crime of being himself.  Too early, because it feels like we’re trying to get rights by coming in the back door (no pun intended).  If the general public doesn’t yet accept queer people as being a naturally occurring part of humanity, if we don’t have the right to live, work and serve unmolested, then going for marriage equality seems like jumping the gun, doesn’t it?

There are few things in this world that make me as livid as seeing someone denied the right to see their spouse/partner in the hospital, or having their children taken away because their partner died and their relationship was not recognized under the law in that state, but I can’t help worrying that pushing this hard for marriage equality is going to eventually lead to a hierarchy of gay relationships.  Oh yes.  There may one day soon become the “good gays”– you know, the ones who get married at “act straight”– and the “bad gays” who are unmarried and by virtue of being unmarried take up the mantel of negative stereotypes against gays, like that we’re inherently promiscuous.  Suddenly, being a single queer person isn’t just stigmatized the same ways we stigmatize all single people, but all the negative stereotypes we’ve ever held about gays get dumped on the “bad” single gays.

Take this fabulously dated PSA, circa 1950s, about homosexuals “on the prowl”–Boys Beware!

Now, read some of those YouTube comments and tell me, how dated is this really?  Second comment on the page: “Homosexual freely admit to being paedophiles [sic] in “Louis Theroux – A Place for Pedophiles (FULL)” on Youtube, so all you FUCKS who deny the idea can listen to your fellows ADMIT IT FULLY and WITHOUT GUILT….”

I have no doubt that some pedophiles are gay.  Just like I have no doubt that some murderers, rapists and thieves are gay, female, of color, etc.  Every group has its rotten apples, it’s the nature of humanity, unfortunately.  But it’s NOT the other way around.  Just because one, or many, young white men take up arms and become mass murderers, I don’t see anyone condemning all young, white men.  Granted, this is largely because of the privilege of the patriarchy, but it’s correct in that NOT all young, white men are mass murderers and we can’t just condemn them all because of a few bad apples.  Likewise, you can’t condemn all minorities for the actions of a few within the group, but this happens every damn day.

Oh, and regarding pedophiles, what does the evidence say?

“Using phallometric test sensitivities to calculate the proportion of true pedophiles among various groups of sex offenders against children, and taking into consideration previously reported mean numbers of victims per offender group, the ratio of heterosexual to homosexual pedophiles was calculated to be approximately 11:1.” -From The proportions of heterosexual and homosexual pedophiles among sex offenders against children: An exploratory study

So don’t tell me how most pedophiles are gay, regardless how many acts of pedophilia may be “homosexual acts,” many of those men readily identify as heterosexual.

But this is the kind of crap you get to look forward to being gay and single.  You will be seen as a predator, a pedophile, as promiscuous and incapable of having a long-term relationship.  People will always think you’re trying to recruit them or hit on them.  And heaven forbid you enjoy genderbending or drag– that’s a whole new level of perverted!  (For the record as a Drag King, I don’t want a penis– I love the pearly, pink detachable one I already have, thanks.)  Sure, some kinksters are gay.  But the vast majority of the population is straight, and likewise, the vast majority of kinksters are straight.  Maybe a higher percentage of queers are kinky, but I think that has a lot more to do with the fact that, at some point, you had to explore your sexuality because you figured out you weren’t straight, and I think this can lead to more open-mindedness about kink, for example.

I digress.  But my point is simple: Different strokes for different folks, you can’t paint us all with the same brush because of that one experience you had that one time.  $50 says that guy wasn’t even hitting on you, but kudos on being incredibly vain.  99% of gay people have no interested in “turning” straight people, the same way you would likely not be interested in someone of the opposite sex who was in no way attracted to you.

So I dedicate this post to all my single queers out there, who deal with an extra mountain of bullshit just because of who you happen to Love.  Kudos to you, and keep on doing what you’re doing; living your life to the fullest despite all the haters.  We’ll need your strength for the coming battles.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Forever

Let’s be transparent about it: I’m wary of relationships.  Anyone who’s been alive more then 3 years probably is.  After all, people hurt each other.  And, as my best friend says, “A big front has a big back.”  In the case relationships or love, the more you invest and the more pleasure you get from the whole experience, the greater devastation you’re risking yourself should it come to an end.

Or when it comes to end, I should say.  All relationships end.  Some do make it “till death do [they] part,” but most relationships will end much sooner than that for any number of reasons. Some ends are amicable, others complete blood baths.  I’ve had my share of both.  Nothing I’m saying here is remarkable, we all know it, right? Then why are we risking our hearts? Assuming we put heart into it– which is frankly the one way that seems at all worthwhile to me. But we do it anyway.  Time after time, failure after failure, we keep looking and trying and, more than likely, losing.  And it was never entirely our fault or entirely the fault of the other person.  Though, more than likely, we underestimated our power to change the relationship. Some are just bad ideas from the get-go.

But why? What, exactly, are we looking for? It’s not the risk of heartache that makes me wary of relationships.  Pain doesn’t scare me.  It’s that many of us are looking for “forever.”  Which is asking A LOT.  I’ve promised forever to some people.  I love them still, that’s true, but it sure as hell didn’t last forever.  I don’t really see it in the nature of relationships to last “forever.”  Even if it’s death that has to part you.  The Earth will still be spinning long after humans are extinct and all traces of our existence erased (save fossils), so what kind of absurd thing is it to say “forever” to someone, regarding your feelings and your relationships? Humans aren’t known for their stability of emotions, for one. But I guess “right now” or “as long as it lasts” isn’t quite as romantic as “forever.”

We turn again to Facebook.  Now, I know I talk about Facebook a lot, and it’s because I think Facebook is a fascinating place to study relationships.  I have my relationship status turned off because I hate that everyone has something to say when/if it changes… but it’s intriguing to watch how it plays out on other people’s profiles.  This image is just brilliant to me.  I couldn’t have made up something better:

So, the person who’s toasting to his “forever love of forever” has been dating this gal for about 18 months.  Year and a half… forever, same difference, right? It’s why we let 18-month-old’s drive cars.  But the string of responses just amused the hell out of me.  The first couple of responses are folks chiming in with their own relationship fodder–anything to talk about ourselves, right? But then my kindred spirits come out of the woodwork, and I’m comforted by the few folks gagging and making “Your Mom” jokes to combat the 40+ likes this post already got.

Oh well.  I hope this friend isn’t disappointed down the road of whatever is to become of his “forever love of forever.”  But I’m going to do my best to focus on what’s right here, right now.  I have to let my Love fuel me.  Whether I’ve convinced myself it’s the mystical “forever love” or any of the other, equally as worthy forms of showing Love towards another person, I’ve got to give all I can now and not worry about who I’ll have to Love later.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Casualties of Love

Love is a many splendored thing.  Love lifts us up where we belong.  All you need is love!

…Right?

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Love is a wonderful thing, and I truly believe that only ideas and actions based in Love can be truthful.  But somewhere along the line, especially for us English speakers, it seems that we all forgot there’s more than one type of Love.  It’s not just Love is what you feel for that person who gives you a raging boner– after all, that could just be infatuation.  No, there are so many different kinds of Love.  Love for your country, Love for your family, Love for an animal, Love for Ingrid Michaelson (or any musician– but how can you not love her?).  The list goes on and on and on and on.

But we get particularly caught up in this idea of romantic Love.  And I get why.  Who doesn’t love that new relationship energy, when everything is puppy dogs and kitten rainbows? And, as someone who’s libido is straight up going to waste at the moment, I get the sex part too.  But Sex is NOT Love.  I think sex can be super, extra special if it’s with someone you Love, but sex is just sex.  You don’t have to fuck someone to Love them, and you don’t have to Love them to fuck ’em.

But, hey, if we’re all consenting adults, what’s the big deal?

Perhaps there isn’t one.  But this entry is dedicated to all my fallen comrades.  To the once ostentatious dreamers, who have  given it all up for the chance at domestic bliss.

I first started to realize I was actually losing friends to Love back in college.  I moved in with a new roommate, and one of my close friends quickly fell for her.  It was messy, their get together, since she was in a long distance relationship at the time, but after a lot of angst they became a couple.  And suddenly I only saw my roommate every other morning, when she came by to pick up clean clothes.  This phenomenon, the first way in which we lose people to Love, is something my friends and I have coined “Girlfriend/Boyfriend Island:” that period of time when a relationship is new and you can’t get a hold of your twitterpated friend, by phone or any other method, and they literally seem to have run away to an island somewhere.

Fortunately, this stage usually wears off, but it can take up to a year and for some, it doesn’t seem to wear off ever.  But once you’ve gotten your friend back from the Island, you start to notice that they spend more time hanging out with other couples than they do their single friends and, as a result, you’re seeing a lot less of them.  This is where you actually start to wonder if your friend has been body-snatched, because something just isn’t right.

The length of this Couples-centric stage depends on the person.  For some, it’s transitional like the Couples Island, but for others it’s a lifelong shift into the world of coupledom and coupled privilege.

But none of this scares me.  None of this is why I think there are true “casualties” in Love.  Remember the couple I mentioned before that got together when I was in college?  Well, they’re still together, got married last year, actually.  I went; it was a lovely ceremony and I was genuinely happy for them.  But it was a mournful day, too, because of what they both gave up in being together.

A few years after they’d gotten together, after college graduation, we were all living in the same city and the lovely couple invited me over for dinner.  We had a nice time, but I noticed something… off, about them both.  Namely, neither of them had anything to talk about.  I must’ve gotten asked 10 times over the course of three hours, “So what’s new with you?” I was confused.  Sure, they’re both responsible people, working to save money and, in her case, working towards her doctorate.  But something was missing in both of them.  A certain spark I didn’t see anymore.

He used to be the biggest dreamer of them all.  The stage, the lights, the audience– he was going to be a star.  Now he’s content to sell furniture to snobs downtown.  Her love of school was always legendary, but being a foreign language student, she once had plans to travel all over, live in different parts of the world, soak up the culture.  She’s abandoned all of that now, because her husband doesn’t speak anything besides English.

I was torn.  Here were two people who I cared about very deeply, and they seemed to be truly happy together, just being domestic.  Yet, I could still see the tattered dreams under their feet, and I sincerely am not sure whether to be joyful for them or to mourn was has been lost, possibly forever.  Both of these once vibrant people had become mellow, predictable and, at times, kind of boring, as a couple.

I know Love comes at a cost.  I know because I’ve had to make that kind of choice before: Marriage or my future?  Before I came out, I was dating a straight guy.  It was long distance, and we were together for four years, but I ended things towards the close of my freshman year in college.  It wasn’t for lack of Love.  It was because I saw my future shriveling up before my eyes.  He wanted me to move to another country and marry him as soon as I was finished with undergraduate school.  And while I Loved him, and wanted nothing more than to be near him, I couldn’t make that leap.  I couldn’t throw away all my possibilities.  Without him in the picture, I could do anything after graduation! I could join the Peace Corps, or go to graduate school, or travel the country making money as a street musician– anything was possible.  But with him? My destiny was set.  I would get married, be a mother, and settle down.  No changing the world, no Jules Verne type adventures, just predictability.

To this day, I still Love him, but I chose Possibility.

I say this all with one of my best friend’s weddings looming before me.  In a few short months, I’m supposed to give a fabulous toast to their Love.  But what do I say when I feel like I lost my friend to the relationship he’s in?  Back in the day, when it was just him and I, we were going to take on the world together– and change it.  We sat on the subway talking about every grand thing we were going to do, and there was no ceiling as far as our dreams were concerned.  He was exuberant and opinionated, to the point of being bossy at times,  but I loved that he was just unabashedly him, and no one could stop it.

Or so I thought… Then, one day, he disappeared to Girlfriend Island.  Two years later, he still hasn’t come back.  What kills me, though, is that he is not the same person.  Where he was once loud and proud and in charge, now he’s meek and accommodating.  I’d call him a house-husband, since he does all the cleaning and the cooking and caring for the house, but he’s also supporting his fiancee with his full-time job while she dicks around in graduate school.  Perhaps it would be more accurate to say he’s been house broken.  Where he once spoke of changing the world, now all he can think of are linen colors for the wedding and babies for afterwards.

And then they went a got matching tattoos.  Not little ones, either.  Enormous, colorful, sure as hell expensive, matching tattoos.  I mean, for one, this is but one way to guarantee it won’t work out.  Relationship tatts are generally a terrible idea.  But I think what got me is that, once upon a time, my BFF and I said that after we’ve known each other for 10 years, we’ll get some kind of inside-joke, correlating tattoos.  We’ve known each other for 8 years.  He and his fiancee? Not quite 2.  Suddenly, I don’t want that tattoo anymore.

So on the surface, my friend seems happy.  And if he’s happy, I’m happy for him.  It’s just a little hard to swallow that he’s happy and everything is utterly perfect when, for one, all his friends are her friends and he doesn’t have any of his own where they’re living now, and, more the point, he is literally a vastly different person since they got together.  I mean, he went from extrovert, always being the center-of-attention, to being some kind of doting, lovesick wallflower.

And so I take this moment, to pause from the seemingly endless celebration of coupledom, to mourn our fallen comrades.  To mourn the opportunities lost, the dreams abandoned, and the personalities forever altered in pursuit of “The One,” a fictional concept there to push the idea that you’re not perfect just the way you are.

Well let me tell you–you’re perfect and complete, exactly as you are.   Whether you’re single or in a couple, don’t give up on yourself for another person.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Please Bring…

Last week our department hit our 90%-before-the-end-of-March fundraising goal.  Obviously, we were all pretty excited! But the department VP asked that we keep low-key about it for the moment.  Today, I received an email invitation to a celebration party.  Our VP’s husband is a chef, so she’s inviting us all over to her house for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.  Sounds great, right? Good food and a reason to celebrate! But I’m not sure if I’m going…

Well, why the hell not?!  The invitation was short and sweet.  It said:

Now it is time to celebrate!!!

[Date, Time, Location]

Please bring your significant other and join us for a few hours to celebrate hitting 90%!!!

See the problem? It’d be one thing if she said, “Feel free to bring your significant other,”  but this “please” business has me confused as to whether or not I am actually invited to attend should I NOT have a significant other to bring.  Seems far-fetched, right? It is a work event… but even if we dismiss that notion, there’s still the fact that every other person there will have a significant other with them, and I am straight up not sure if I will even have anyone to talk to!  The last thing I want to do is be mopey in front of my co-workers, but if I go and I’m the only single person there, that’s a very real possibility.

To clarify, here’s a quick breakdown of everyone in my department at work by relationship status: 8 of them are married, 3 others are in committed relationships, and one is single.  You already know which one is me.  To be fair, I’m also the youngest person in my department, but not by a heck of a lot!  The two co-workers closest in age to me (they’re a year or two older than me) are both married.

It’s not like this is a new problem, it’s just one that’s complicated by work.  I’ve routinely not been invited to events or suddenly was not able to spend as much time with a friend because I don’t have a significant other to bring to said events or double dates or whatever it is couples do with other couples.   I’ve never really understood couples-only events, to be honest.  Are your single friends less interesting? Do you have less in common with them? I just don’t see what there is to be gained by excluding people on the basis of their relationship status.

So here we have an event I might not even be invited to if it weren’t for work, again, on the basis that I do not have an S.O. to bring to the party.  So what do I do? Go alone? Skip it? Bring a friend? Bring my cat just so we can all be super clear about who the spinster is?

This seems like an unnecessary amount of heartache for what would otherwise sound like a fun Sunday to me.  Excluded before the party has even started.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Conspiracy

Ever have one of those days where it feels like Facebook is conspiring against you?

Granted, I probably shouldn’t include checking Facebook as part of my morning routine, but there it is.  So I’m scrolling down the front page and the first thing I see is an engagement announcement.  Considering yesterday was April Fool’s day and Facebook is often a medium for said day’s pranks, I’m a little skeptical.  But it looks legitimate!  Facts about the happy couple: They’re queer, they’ve been together about a year and a half, and for one of them this is her first relationship with a woman.  (A few months before they started dating, she actually said something to me about not being gay and I responded, “Really? You totally strike me as a queermo!” She took it as a compliment, fortunately, and a guess a bit more!) Anyhow… I’ve talked about how the young queers finding their loves almost immediately after coming out irks me 10 ways till Friday.

So I take a deep breath and move on.  What’s the next post in my news feed?

Blissfully happy spending the day with the love of my life as we celebrate one year of marriage. So blessed.

Well isn’t that peachy and wonderful.  Am I happy for my friend, that she’s enjoying her anniversary? Of course! But calling someone who you’ve been married to one WHOLE year the “love of my life” bugs me even more than the new queers (that sounds like a band, doesn’t it?).  Especially if we want to talk about marriage and about how having a rubber stamp from the government doesn’t make your relationship better than anyone else’s, you just get a truckload of couples benefits to go with it (so I can see the confusion, thinking that makes your relationship special).  But marriage doesn’t make it special.  IT makes itself special just by being.  There are couples who’ve been together for decades, have never married and never will.  Are they NOT the loves of each other’s lives?

After that I decided to log off Facebook rather than have a rage stroke.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,