Posts Tagged → \”Ken O\’Neill\” \”The Marrying Kind\”
February 14th, 2010
This year, Marcus said it first.
He gave Theo a gentle nudge to pry her from his pillow. She purred, hoping against odds that he might choose her over me. When Marcus didn’t, she hopped off the bed and Marcus nuzzled up beside me.
“Happy Valentine’s day, Bug,” he whispered.
“Happy Valentine’s day, Bug.” I grinned and gave him a kiss.
Theo gave us about three minutes of privacy before she jumped back up on the bed. I don’t think she knows she’s a cat. At some point, she decided that she was Marcus’ wife. Fortunately, I have not been cast as the other woman. I’m more like Mom. When she’s sick or wants food, she’s all over me. But when she needs love, It’s Marcus’ arms she leaps into. It’s his nose she licks.
“Happy Valentine’s day, darling,” Marcus told Theo. She pressed into his arms, and he shrugged. Sorry bug, I have to please the Mrs, his raised shoulders seemed to be saying to me.
Then he giggled sweetly. And suddenly I remembered that I love Marcus.
I should clarify that I am usually aware that I love him. But in fact, the awareness of love is not at the forefront of memory twenty-four hours a day. Not for me. Not for anyone, I suppose. Between life and stress and work, there are many other things to think about.
But when these moments happen–this morning’s giggle for example; or a thoughtful e-mail he’s sent for no reason, a particuarlar glance in my direction, or even just hearing him call me Bug–I remember that I love him.
I suppose this isn’t revelatory, what I’m writing here. I imagine this is much the way it goes for all couples who’ve been together beyond the early flush of romance and discover that they have the desire to build a life together. That living with the other person is fun and difficult and extraordinary and the only way of being that makes any real sense.
On Valentine’s day, we all celebrate that very special kind of love. Of course, if one hopes to have more than just one Valentine’s day with the same person (I’ve had 12 with Marcus) on some level the celebrating must happen every day of the year.
This is true for all couples.
And maybe that’s why I care about Valentine’s day. Because it’s a day for all couples. It’s a day we recognize how the same all of us who are in relationships are–in spite of superficial differences like age and race and gender and orientation.
One day a year we collectively agree that loving another person is a great gift. It’s an awesome responsibility. It is a challenge. It is a hope.
All people are allowed to celebrate Valentine’s day. There is no single group that’s unwelcome. Because on this one day a year we all seem to understand that it all comes down to love.
And if you have it–if you have been blessed with this sacred gift– you are welcomed to be a part of the celebration.
Today we’re all equal in our love.
Well that’s another story.
November 16th, 2009
I’m guessing it was sometime in late September of 2008. I was sitting at my desk working on my second book. My first, The Marrying Kind, was at the time still unsold. I wasn’t in great spirits because I kept getting rejections from editors who said things like: great, funny, touching, I don’t think I can sell it. Gay fiction doesn’t sell.
While I will probably never write anything quite as “gay” as The Marrying Kind again, my second manuscript also features some gay characters. And apparently, as I was told, readers are not interested in gays.
So I’m writing, or struggling, and it’s the fall of 2008, and the phone rings. And I think, let the machine get it, you’re writing. Then I look at my blank computer screen.
I answer the phone.
It provides a welcome distraction.
There is a pause after I say, “hello”. So I know it’s a solicitation. But I’m not writing anyway, so I hang on.
It’s a call from the DNC. They want my money for Obama. Well for Obama, of course. I pull out my credit card. I can’t give a lot. I am an as yet unpublished author (of a book featuring gay people) and a massage therapist.
But for Obama I can spare $50.00. I mean, it’s OBAMA!
I’m about to give my info when a little voice in my head says “Barack Obama does not support marriage equality, why are you giving him money?”
I looked at the credit card in my shaking hand. “You know what,” I hear an angry quiver enter my voice. “On second thought, forget it!”
“Pardon?” The confused DNC volunteer asks. “I just need your card number, sir.”
“No. Not a dime for Obama.”
I sense the campaign worker might hang up on me. And really, can I blame him? But I don’t want him to hang up. I want him to know why he can’t have my fifty bucks.
“I am a gay man,” I say. And now I can see Sally Field as Norma Rae thrust the STRIKE sign above her head. “I will not,” I thunder on, “Give one dime, not a penny, to a candidate who does not believe I deserve the same rights that he enjoys. RIGHTS, I might add, that his own parents would have been denied in some states when they were wed.”
Now I was on a role, “Please tell Mr. Obama,” I say this like the future president and the poor, put upon volunteer on the phone are best buds. “Tell him, when he decides to support my civil rights, I will reward him with contributions to future campaigns.”
I hung up. Had a moment of triumph. And then pictured Sarah Palin and John McCain in the white house.
“Oh my God! What have I done.”
I didn’t call the DNC back. Nor did I tell anyone of my boycott–I was totally on the downlow.
I did vote for Obama.
When he won, I was very glad he had done so. And I was more glad that he’d won without any of my money.
Still, I said nothing about my boycott.
Now I hear we’re all hanging on to our dollars until Obama and the DNC make equality more of a priority. (About time!) I read that leading activists including Pam Spaulding, Andy Towle, Michelangelo Signorile, Dan Savage and David Mixner are requesting that folks put a freeze on their donations until Obama actually lives up to his self-proclaimed title of “fierce advocate” for GLBT issues.
So I guess I can say it now: I’m in, everybody. I’m in.