Promiscuous Gays

Posted: 30 June 2008 in bitter old woman, queerlife

For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t ask you if you were leaving your husband behind when you moved.

I just wanted to set the record straight there.  I mean, when you tell me that you’re moving for a new job, on a whim, for the sandy shores of Lake Straight, I don’t wonder if you’re going there alone.  Why would I?  You’re married.  You wear a ring on your finger.  I didn’t come to your ceremony, of course, so I didn’t witness your undying vows of love and adoration, but I still believe you when you tell me that you’re wed.  I expect that you want to spend every waking moment together, would die to be separated and would perish at the thought of one moment working apart from each other.  People, I believe you.

Since I’ve started telling folks that I’m moving, I’ve been dismayed that even my enlightened friends immediately ask “Is D. going with you?”  Why wouldn’t she come with me?  One of my co-workers points out through hilarious guffaws that it’s because us queer folk are promiscuous and it must be time for me to trade up.  He’s kidding, at least, he doesn’t think I’m promiscuous, a lone island in a sea of bed-hopping gay people. But the people to whom we sent wedding announcements, who sent us cards and gifts, who always ask after D. on the telephone, are asking if she’s coming with me.

Perhaps I’m being oversensitive.  I can’t afford to go out and get a whole set of friends.  But I wonder what they’re thinking.  Just because D. and I are are the same gender, there’s no permanency to our relationship?  From now on, anytime someone says, “Oh! Is D. coming with you?” I’m just going to insert the words “right way?” after their comment.  If I didn’t assume they meant the best, I’d be angry and that won’t do.  They’re supposed to be my friends.

Points for assuming, in this case.

  1. Dylan says:

    Whoa. Sometimes the reality of how gay relationships are perceived is too much for me. I don’t think you are being oversensitive at all… that is a ridiculous thing to ask. If you’re moving and you’re married… the default assumption would be, of course you’re moving TOGETHER. This post kind of makes me think about the legality of marriage in a new way… maybe if we could all get married by the actual state, people would think of gay marriages in the same ways they do straight ones. Permanent, life long, REAL commitments… not just some little event we throw for shits and giggles.

    I’m sorry this is happening to you. But YOU know how deeply you and D. are committed and at the end of the day, that’s what is really most important.

  2. Digger says:

    I don’t think you are being oversensitive. I would be annoyed by that too. The one that used to get me was that people could never ask how I am or how M is, but “how are you and M?” Like the assumption was that our relationship was somehow tenuous.

  3. hmm. i have two simultaneous reactions to this. one, ugh – exactly what all y’all said.
    two, are you sure people wouldn’t ask that of a straight couple? ’cause i think i can count on one hand my friends whose (straight) parents are still married – i’m not sure many people still believe that marriage and forever are related.

    i’m probably being too nice to the world, i tend that way.

  4. backlist says:

    Excellent thoughts, from all. Dylan – I wonder if marriage would fix it, after all, I wear a ring and these folks don’t know that I didn’t get married in some loophole ceremony somewhere. On the other hand, it’s one more step toward legitimacy and that would help. Digger – I’ve totally had that conversation recently. Really? You need to ask how we’re doing? I don’t ask how you and your wife are doing… And LBA – thank you for shedding some light on the issue. I’m happy to assume it’s the general lack of faith in committment on the whole. Yay human race!

  5. Dylan says:

    More thoughts: But just look at your wording… loophole ceremony. I don’t mean if it were legitimate in one state here or there, I don’t think that would have any effect on people’s perceptions about gay relationships… but if both gay and straight marriage were legal across the board at the federal level… and then straight people had to think of gay marriage as being EXACTLY like theirs… it might change the way they think of those relationships as well. Maybe not. I can never decide if I’m in support of gay marriage or not… sigh.

  6. linaria says:

    oh boy. everybody’s favorite topic.

    I’m sorry people are being such jerks to you. for what it may or may not be worth, in my little corner of Massachusetts, people are taking the gay marriage thing pretty seriously (or so it seems). because it’s HERE and you can see the wedding announcements in the papers (though not half as many as there were at first). it’s still weird to hear a woman say “my wife” and see people realizing it’s not an affectation, but…well, it’s something.

    I think. but what do I know, I’m so bitter I can’t say a thing about it without it coming out sarcastic. but I really and truly hope you find some more friends who aren’t clueless, in your new perfect life.

  7. WKC says:

    It might have something to do with lasting straight relationships being etched into general culture from the first “and the prince and princess lived happily ever after” to the last Hollywood rom-com, whenever that will be, while many people’s (including my own) first exposure to gay relationships is from liberated, rebellious young adult types who often shun domesticity along with heteronormativity. I feel like, in general, the archetype for stable gay couples–as well as for many other things–is simply not there.

    Maybe one day our archetypes will be updated, but until then, it’s comforting (to me, at least) to know that while rational explanation is often necessary, it’s usually sufficient. Depending on the circles one runs in, of course.

  8. backlist says:

    Will – you’re right, there probably isn’t an archetype, but I think our archetype for straight couples is rather outdated. In the meantime, I’ll try to be less liberated. 😉

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