This piece originally appeared at Womanist Musings where Renee has very generously allowed my random musings to appear on her excellent blog
So, I recently had a wedding anniversary. And, by recently, I mean several months ago. Which should probably tell you a lot about how organised I am about writing stuff.
Anyway I had a wedding anniversary and you'd be surprised at how many people asked me “what, you celebrate anniversaries?” (Including family, friends and, most especially, my employers who are most put out that I can't work extra for such piffling little reasons – though not so piffling for my colleagues. Whyyy is that I wonder?)
And, of course, they're right. In Gaytopia we don't celebrate anniversaries, rather we gather round and have an orgy to celebrate the day we pledged to destroy loving families.
(Actually lines like this always worry me. As a gay British lawyer, not only do I enjoy sarcasm but I'm almost legally required to use it every opportunity, but you KNOW there is some fool out there, probably belonging to some organisation with “values” “family” and “tradition” in its name, looking at such posts and yelling “I KNEW IT!” before running to tell his friends/congregation/political party all about those dirty dirty gays. Ah well, those guys were never going to be fans of mine anyway).)
I'm just eternally surprised by people's surprise. And surprise about some of the most ridiculous things – anniversaries, celebrating each other's birthdays (though, it has to be said, I do not celebrate birthdays well and instead look in the mirror and wail “a grey hair! A GREY HAIR!” then have a week or so of panic and angst. As you do) even going on holiday together. Even simple things like spending time together – a simple “I'm going to spend Saturday with Beloved” can get me the most amazing wide-eyed stares. Yes yes, I am actually spending quality time with my husband. I can see how this would shock you.
I sometimes wonder what they think we actually do? What weird and arcane things they think we get up to in Gaytopia? Actually it's probably better not to ask, I have enough grey hairs.
Is it really that shocking that I spend time with my husband, really? Ok, granted if you've met him and seen the many many many many MANY irritating things he does, you may wonder why I haven't strangled him, but otherwise is it really that odd for a married couple to have an actual life together?
And equally annoying is the idea that such activities are faked. We couldn't be celebrating our anniversary because we love each other and this day is important to us – no, we're “faking” what a “real” marriage looks like. We're not going on holiday together because we want to be together, no we're “copying” a “proper” relationship. I'm not spending time with my husband because I love him and value his company, no, I'm performing a “pantomime” of “mundanity.” Can't be real, can it? Can't be who we are? No. It's a performance, an act, a lie.
And while we're on the subject, I have to ask...
Do you ever spend all day... excited? Really hot and flustered. Constantly distracted – your mind always wandering to... well, y'know.
And then you get home, you see your partner there, and that's it... you just have to grab them and run to the bedroom right there! For a fascinating game of tiddly-winks. Or *guilty gaze* Monopoly. Or even *hushed voice* Cluedo.
What, never been there? Well I can't say I have either, boardgames have never really fascinated me to that degree. But, it's amazing how many (straight) people think that a bit of tiddly winks is the most exciting thing that goes on in my bedroom.
Yes it's another one of those things some straight people believe about us that leave me bemused and confused.
See, I'm used to straight people assuming that every time their back is turned I'm merrily humping away. After all gay man = perpetually shagging is an old old, tired trope (insert obligatory “you're all just jealous” here if you like). I even had a nurse the other day lecture me about my terrible unsafe sex despite my repeatedly telling her that a) I was monogamous and b) it was none of her damn business.
I'm even used to straight people assuming that my eternal goal in life is to one day be able to seduce their (apparently) irresistible sexy selves into my bed as soon as possible. And by “seduce” they usually mean “he's going to ram me up against a wall and have my wicked way! SAAAVE ME”.
That's an old one.
But the idea that we're totally chaste still pops up to my eternal bemusement. People are literally shocked at the idea that I have a sex life. And I don't mean nitty-gritty, I'm going to give you all the gory details shock. No, the mere idea that Beloved and I don't live celibate lives shocks them. It even popped up in a particular incident when family didn't realise “you have a key to my house in case of emergencies” doesn't mean “barge in whenever you want even if the door's locked” which lead to outrage and shock because we're not content to engage in a rousing board-game. Despite my having every right to be incensed, they were angry because they never realised I *gasp* had a sex life
It comes down to doing mentally gymnastics – trying to accept someone as gay but at the same time preserving that good ol' straight horror of 2 people of the same sex getting it on.
People bemuse me. I sometimes feel when I came out of the closet I was confessing to being a sleeper agent from the planet Zog. I am bemused that, well, rather commonplace behaviour and activities on our parts are regarded as unimaginable.
Of course, the plus side is they will believe absolutely anything you tell them. Which can be funny. Yes yes it can.