Please allow me a bit of an indulgence with this week’s column. (As if you don’t every week.) But this is the evening of our anniversary, so that has rather been at the top of my mind today.
It’s not one of those milestone anniversary years ending in zero and, therefore, not significant enough to warrant something like a reception. Karl and I have racked up enough years together that we are closing in on the median age in the United States—wouldn’t it be jarring to reach the point where most of our fellow citizens hadn’t been born when we got together?
It’s always been a rule with me never to ask an older gay couple from what date they measure their years together. (Similarly, it’s a good idea not to press for too many details on how they met, but that’s a different column altogether.) Usually, in the absence of a wedding ceremony—which was always the case until fairly recently—the date celebrated had something to do with a “first” something or other. First meeting. First date. First whatever. Pretty straightforward actually, particularly if all three firsts were on the same day. (Gay boys will be gay boys, you know.)
Karl and I have always celebrated the anniversary of the date we had “The Talk,” which was about a month after knocking out all the “first” stuff—more than one day, mind you. Not many more, but more than one. For us, “The Talk” was less a proposal and more a statement of expectations and understandings. For example, it seemed important to me that Karl understand that my idea of heaven was never going to include a rustic cabin on remote acreage—anywhere. That it would include less domesticity and more society, and that simple is nice, but it sure isn’t me. There was also making my other expectation clear—the one which involved his hearing the expression “kissy kissy bang bang” for the first time.
Earlier today, I went online to review the wedding registry for the daughter of a dear friend who is getting married later this year, now that she and her fiancée can get married anywhere they want in these “United” States. (At least as of this writing.) As I looked through the selection of sheets, towels, and kitchenwear, it seemed so normal, so ordinary, that I should be deciding on a gift for a same-sex couple just as I would for any other engaged couple. And, suddenly, it all seemed very extraordinary indeed.
Back in the day when gay life was sub rosa, couples were called “lovers,” and I always liked that term. It seemed worldly and sophisticated to have a lover, not to mention the more blatantly sexual association of the word. As we all got less closeted and more public, we started using the more innocuous term “partners”—which always sounded like a business relationship. A lot of folks, gay and straight, say their spouses are their “best friends.” That’s sweet. I love him, but Karl isn’t my best friend. He doesn’t know the relative advantages and disadvantages of cream versus pressed powder blush, and he doesn’t need to know. Karl is my lover and my partner; he is my husband. No other word even comes close.
By the way, the only expectation he stated in “The Talk” was never to be referred to as my “latest” or “current” or “new” anything. If I had known then what I know now, I could have assured him his adjective would be “only.”
Happy anniversary, baby. Got you on my mind.