Obviously, I don’t have what you would call a traditional marriage. Sure, I’m married to my best friend, it’s been 4 years now, I think. Somewhere around there at least. She and I never know, and we can never really remember what day we got married or even the year. We always have to count back from major life events (obviously we hold it in very high regard and are super appreciate the institution…).
It usually goes something like this:
Broke up with this guy, 2 years ago, and before him I was dating this guy, so we got married in 2008.
For both of us.
The reality is, we got married on a sunny afternoon, after a long 4th of July weekend, Monday the 7th, 2008. 7/7/08. You’d think we would be able to remember that (I don’t actually remember, I just had to look it up on my calendar). Truthfully, I’ve never been good with dates, or names, but faces, faces I always almost remember…if I’ve made out with them. That always came in handy in a city like San Francisco. Unfortunately, I live in Chicago now, so everyone is a bit fuzzy, but I’m starting to recognize more people. But that is a story for another time, well, stories.
I met Laura when our mutual friend, Sowande, introduced us. I really was’t sure about this San Francisco waitress who was apparently from my neck of the woods (turns out, although we both say we’re from “Santa Cruz,” neither of us are, but still consider it the best option for explaining where we’re from), but I was told to be cordial and give it some time and I’d come around (apparently I had a bad habit of not being very nice to people off the bat, could you imagine?!). Well, she jumped in the front seat of my car and 2 blocks later, we came to a stop at a light. She looks out the window and rolls it down, and in the middle of her own story as the light is turning green, leans out, looks at a homo standing at the bus stop and says “nice blouse,” as we drive away, then continues to prattle on about dancing or work or something. Pretty much I was in love (as much love as a gay guy could be with a girl who he thinks is pretty but doesn’t want to put his junk any closer to her than need be, and it’s been dangerously close a few times, more on that later).
Laura and I got married for a fairly specific reason. Insurance. I had it, she needed it (cause the Peace Corps had just kind of fucked her over. Not my story to tell, you can read all about it when she releases her book next year, titled “Lonely Goats and Ballet Flats”). Anyway, it only made sense that we got married (I did offer on our whirlwind Vegas trip before she left for the middle of no where, Asia, but she declined), because of course, what could possibly go wrong with a gay guy marrying his straight girl bestie?
The answer, not a whole lot actually.
In reality, it’s been a lot better of a situation than I thought it was going to be (at least for me). We’re still married, mostly because we said we were going to hold off on getting divorced until gay marriage was legal. Needless to say, we could be hitched for a while.
Aside form providing a great story, our marriage provides kind of a safety net for both of us. She’s my “In Case of Emergency” person, which is good, cause in a crisis, you want her on your side and making level headed decisions. For example, last month, when i was having chest pains and my left arm went numb, she was the person I called to tell I was going to the ER (p.s., it was only an anxiety attack, totally fine, Dr. said I should go home and take some chill pills and relax, which I did, with fried chicken and The Nanny). I knew that if anything were to happen to me, she would be able to call my parents, arrange travel for them and keep them calm if anything were to happen. She also had friends of ours in Chicago ready to jump if I needed anything. The point is, I feel like someone has my back, even from 1,800 miles away.
We share a special bond, and of all my relationships, this one so far has been the most intrusive, longest lasting and most stable of all of them. We file joint taxes, if I die, she gets all my money and insurance and possessions. I think its the least she deserves after living together for six months. And when I say “living together” I mean, on top of each other (accidentally, one time).
When Laura returned from the Peace Corps in November, 2008, she had few choices of where to go and I had just lost my job (and our insurance and was about to be living off unemployment). She’s little miss San Francisco and still to this day refuses to entertain living anywhere else. So with little money, few resources, she moved in with her husband, me. Into a two bedroom, one bathroom flat in the Castro, with three gays…more specifically, into my 12×10 room.
We shared a bed the entire time, and we were both ecstatic anytime someone started dating a new person, cause that meant we got the bed to ourselves whenever the other was staying over somewhere else. When that wasn’t happening, we built a pillow wall between us, which was necessary after one night of blissful slumber when i woke up in a hot sweat and a sharp elbow in my ribs. I had unknowingly cuddled up to her in the middle of the night and was snoring in her ear (that was the one time my junk came unnecessarily close to her). I learned how to sleep face down and not move much after that. I also learned that I like hummus, cottage cheese and you can eat squash and gourds, not just carve them. There is just something after an experience like that which bonds you for life. I mean, sharing a bed with someone for six months and not having sex, makes for a really strong friendship.
After four years I have to say, that stupid little piece of paper (which is somewhere in my suitcase in my closet, also known as my filing cabinet) actually does mean a great deal to me. Its difficult to explain exactly, but it does change the way you think of someone and communicate with them. I don’t get mad when she tells my friends and potential boyfriends that me and Hedwig have 1 thing in common…and she doesn’t get mad when I tell her the skirt she’s wearing makes her look like a crazy gypsy from the old country. I feel like if we did have a traditional marriage, those things would create tension and build up a huge fight. For us, we just laugh about it, air kiss and shake our heads. I mean, what else could we do? Makeup sex isn’t an option. And for that, I will be eternally grateful.