Thursday, January 26, 2012


While there are certainly civil rights issues surrounding the subject of gay marriage, these inequalities also present some pretty awkward, less-publicized logistical issues.  What name, for example, do we give to our significant others?   Are we partners?  (Too business-like.)  Husbands/Wives?  (Most accurate, but not legally so.)  Lovers?  (This sounds pornographic and gives me the skeeves.)  Boyfriends/girlfriends? (Too high school.)   My friend John put it this way: “If I say that Jake is my partner, it sounds like we have started a law firm together.  Still, I don’t want to call him my boyfriend.  That just sounds like we should cuddle and watch Dawson’s Creek together.”
The water is muddied further once parents, siblings, and other family members get involved.  Danielle’s parents can’t technically be my in-laws because by law we are of no relation to one another.  Therefore, her nieces and nephew are not technically my nieces and nephew.  Still, we send them Christmas presents and see them about once a year, so I consider them to be my kin.  My cousin’s daughters, before they were informed of Danielle’s and my relationship, also struggled to figure out how the family was connected.  They showed a friend a picture of us with them at the beach, pointed to my picture and said, “That’s our cousin.”  They moved their fingers over to Danielle’s picture, paused and said, “That’s our….sort of cousin?”

All the confusion is certainly understandable.  How can you give an appropriate title to a relationship that is not formally recognized, or at least not consistently so?  Homosexuality has long been referred to as “the Love that dare not speak its name,” but in a time of evolving attitudes, a myriad of state laws regarding gay rights, and expansive vocabulary of terms for gay couples, it may be more accurate to say that we are wrapped up in a “Love that is searching for its name”.

I have been called Danielle’s girlfriend, roommate, wife, and partner and once, from a well-intentioned but old-fashioned friend, her companion.  That’s right.  Companion.  As if Danielle is convalescing by the sea and I have been hired to read to her and fix her meals.   As if she is the Aunt March to my Jo.  

Of all the titles I have been given, my hands-down most hated name is when I am called Danielle’s friend.  To say that Danielle and I are friends is certainly not untrue.  In fact, she is my very best friend, the finisher of my sentences and reader of my otherwise illegible mind.  We were friends for a good three years before we became a couple, and our friendship continues to anchor and nourish our relationship as a couple.  

Still, the term “friend” feels like a diminishment of the depth and scope of our connection.  You would never hear a married couple introduce themselves in this way:

“Hi, I’m Mrs. Jane Doe, and this is my friend Mr. John Doe.”

It sounds ridiculous.  It just isn’t done.

Likewise, my parents wouldn’t introduce my brother and his wife as their son and his friend.  No, she is their daughter-in-law.  The terms are familiar, the relationships clear and defined.  

So where does that leave Danielle and me?  Are we partners?  Wives?  Girlfriends?  Some other term we use to make others more comfortable?   By grasping for terms, settling for lesser titles, and struggling to demarcate connections and relationships we are left feeling frustrated and second-class while confusing the crap out of those we meet.  I can see the wheels turning in their heads as they try to figure us out.  (“They said they were just friends, but they sure are touchy-feely.  Hmmm.  Maybe they’re just REALLY good friends.)

Please, America.  Put your lexicon first for once.  Stop the confusion, and make gay marriage legal nationwide.  Cut out the gray areas and just let married be married.  If you don’t you’ll have a lot of your citizenry looking like dumbasses as they look at us, smile, and say, “Those two sure are bosom buddies…..”

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The REAL Gay Agenda

Perhaps you’ve heard the term “gay agenda” thrown around by members of the far right to express the need to block the progress of civil rights for the GLBT community.  Some speak of the gay agenda as if it were some thick document of mores and how-tos for overturning heterosexual marriage and casting our country back into the good ol’ days of Sodom and Gomorrah.  However, in our 8 years of being out lesbians, we have never received any propaganda or paperwork informing us of any such agenda.  Perhaps our copy got lost in the mail or we never got listed in the Registery of Gay People, but we're beginning to suspect that there is no such thing as the gay agenda.
To set the record straight, we’d like to propose a more realistic version of the gay agenda.
GAY AGENDA: Weekday Version
6:00  Wake up and hit snooze.
6:05  Grumble and hit snooze again.  If it is Monday, insert a curse word into the routine.
6:10  Get up and get dressed.  Bump into furniture because your eyes are not yet fully open.
6:15  Start the cars so they can defrost, and let the dog out.  Pray that she will choose to do her business outdoors instead of leaving a surprise indoors.
6:30-7:00 Begin the blur of turn signals, coffee, and NPR’s Morning Edition some would call the morning commute.  Congratulate yourself on being able to operate a vehicle before sunrise.  However, do not congratulate yourself TOO much because you have spilled coffee down the front of your sweater.
7:00-4:30  Work.  Feel a little part of your soul die.
4:30-5:00  Drive home.  Realize that the effects of coffee have worn off a long time ago.
5:00-5:30  Convene the nightly Meeting of the Indecisive Minds.   Play out a script that goes something like this:
Partner 1: What do you want to have for dinner?
Partner 2: I don’t know.  I don’t really have a taste for anything in particular.
Partner 1:  Guess we could use the stuff that’s going to go bad soon.
Partner 2: Ugh.  That doesn’t really sound good tonight. (pauses)  Hey, want to go out to eat?
Partner 1: I am tired of always going to the same restaurants.  Nothing sounds good to me.
Partner 2: Well, we do live in a small town.  We just don’t have as many options.
Partner 1: Tell me about it.  (Thinks for a moment.)  Do you want to heat up the pizza in the freezer?
Partner 2:  I would rather have vegetables.
This could go on for quite some time.
5:30-6:00  Decide on fixing breakfast for dinner.
6:00-8:00  Clean up, do laundry, and watch tv.
8:00  Decide to watch just one more episode of West Wing.  (Thank you, Netflix!)
8:45  Watch another West Wing.
9:30  What the heck?  If we watch the last West Wing on the disk, we can put it back in the mail to Netflix and get our next disc sooner.  We are getting more value from our rental plan this way.
10:15  Shower and put on pj’s.
10:30 Read in bed until your eyes get heavy.  Make a promise to each other that you’ll go to bed earlier tomorrow night.

Rinse and repeat.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pleased to Make Your Acquaintance

Perhaps we shouldn't admit this, but we're a wee bit skeptical of blogs.  Sure, there are some great ones out there full of how-to's on just about any topic imaginable.  There are also blogs that are downright hilarious.  We laugh so hard reading Cake Wrecks that it must count as our ab workout for the week. 
That said, it feels a little narcissistic to say, "We are starting a blog," as if the world has just been aching to hear about the minutae of our lives.  Who are WE, we ask ourselves, to start a blog?
Individually, we are just two ordinary women, Danielle and Elaine, living out what are basically two ordinary lives.  We work full time, go to church, pay our bills, cook, clean, watch tv.  Nothing particularly blog-worthy there.  What sets us apart is that we are a lesbian couple caught up in the most wonderful love story at a time when the laws of our state and country tell us that we are second-class citizens, separate and somehow "less than".  We feel like a run-of-the-mill, regular old married couple and know we have much more in common with heterosexual couples than the few differences used to divide us.  However, it was only a week or two ago when presidential hopeful Rick Santorum stated that children growing up with same-sex parents would be better off being raised by convicts.  Sorry to object, Senator, but we are just not that subversive.  Thanks for giving us a bad-ass reputation, but our anti-establishment activities tend to limit themselves to accruing small library fines or fixing breakfast for dinner.  Scandals?  You won't find them in our home.  We're too busy reading or knitting to get into trouble.
Because of the tenuous political situation regarding equal rights for ALL, we feel that this is as good a time as any to begin telling our story.  WE know that we're no different from anyone else, but nothing will change for us and the family we want to start unless OTHERS realize and embrace the fact that we are not a threat to the country or to anyone's marriage, that we are not in the least bit scary or different.
So here it begins....our story in bits and pieces.  The laugh-out-loud parts.  The story of how we met and fell in love.  The day of our wedding ceremony.  Our struggles.  Our joys.  Our very cute dog.  (We couldn't leave her out.)
We hope you'll join us on our journey and help us fight the good fight.

Danielle and Elaine