I met a gay man today. Yes, you read the words correctly. G-A-Y. One of my many jobs is at a salon/spa in Rutland, which happened the location of our acquaintance. Now, before you have a chance to say it, let me: “Oh, so typical! A gay man at a spa…so un-masculine, so, cliché!” Well I beat you to it, so now, you can’t make the joke…
I met a gay man, at our spa, and he was getting a facial. We’ll refer to him as John. John’s HUSBAND bought him the gift certificate (as he does every so often on a continual basis, I was informed). He tells me they are visiting from out of town, and he’s decided to try a new place.
I comment on how thoughtful it was for his husband to pamper him, to which John replies, “I’m the domestic one, he better!”
Joking aside, you might guess where I’m going with this, however you might be wrong. The focus is not about the adventures that an openly gay man had at our salon (although, he did say the facial was fabulous).
As a tool, I’d like to use this situation in comparison to the hundreds of women who walk in and out of our doors on a daily basis.
It’s very common for our women clients to leave, beaming about the relaxing service she’s just received, as a gift from her husband. “How nice,” we all say, “that you’re so well taken care of!” And she’ll smile, her wedding ring sparkling. And most of the time, we can tell (or at least hope) that she’s genuinely happy.
I don’t think it’s really about the massage, or the facial at that point (although for the time being, she’s preoccupied). She loves the fact that she’s in love, and her significant other knows her guilty pleasures (be it pedicures or something more personal) and perpetuates them. And yes, you’re probably laughing, because perpetual spa treatments must be glorious, right?!
We assume she’s in love, and we know that she’s married (I mean, look at that rock!). And that’s the point. Look at the ring finger on her left hand, and immediately, you know her status. She’ll even tell stories of how the ring was picked, if asked.
She’ll never have to fight for her right to a legal marriage; one recognized openly by everyone. She’s had it all along.
Our conversation continues, and I ask John, “Where were you two married”, guessing they are legitimately married considering the terminology he used (husband). “Which state?” I add.
His face tightens slightly; sighing and scoffing simultaneously. He replies, “We’re not. It’s been 16 years. I don’t need a piece of paper to know I’m in love, and we’re committed.”
Wow, I think, and agree.
“We do have a domestic partnership,” he explains, but it’s not recognized everywhere.
Two grown men, completely comfortable with their sexuality, have been in love and together for 16 years to date. But I don’t see a ring. But then again, maybe I didn’t even look.
Hopefully, by now, you see my point. What is marriage?
To my dismay, the Merriam-Webster dictionary is (APPARENTLY) religiously inclined.
1 a (1): the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2): the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage
I can only assume, that for the sake of their sponsors, they must differentiate. I move on, to dictionary.com.
1. the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.
We chat a little more, John and I. As he’s said, he’s in town visiting, and I ask where he’s from. He doesn’t tell me where he’s currently from, but rather, explains that they are in transition…moving to Georgia. We begin to talk briefly about Massachusetts and California (gay-marriage is legal in both places).
He mentions that Georgia is terrible when it comes to gay-rights. I then ask why they are moving. He responds, that his husband wants to be closer to his mother. It’s just the two of them left, explains John, and they’ve already had a scare that they might lose her. This ultimately means that he’s chosen to move to a state that in 2004, banned gay-marriage, and in 2006 upheld the amendments, despite violations in state law regarding the ban.
Please re-read the last paragraph.
Re-count those 16 years, and everything in between. Tell me that selflessness is not infused in this relationship. Tell me that we aren’t talking about a man who is so entirely committed to (loving) another human being (albeit, a man) that he’s chosen to sacrifice his rights to marriage, in order to support 100%, the one he loves.
And now I must ask. When do ‘straight’ individuals have to make a decision like this? (“Oh, yeah, sorry, can’t move to Utah, they don’t marry straight couples there”).
A man and woman, married; don’t they have it made? There are no limitations or restrictions on the validity of their marriage from place to place. They are no less a married couple in Atlanta than in Boston.
And now the golden question.
How many gay individuals have you seen (or heard) out there, petitioning for the rights of ‘straight’ marriage to be taken away?