Saturday, December 22, 2012

I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It

The Christmas party had a dessert table; ergo, I was next to it. The host brought over a friend of hers to meet me. He'd seen "The Goodbye Girl" recently and had just Googled me to make sure I wasn't dead.
Well, he said "To see what you were up to," but I think we all know what that means.

We briefly covered how I wasn't dead, wasn't acting, wrote a bit, and then moved on to how I knew the host couple. I said, "Their son and my daughter have been friends since they were three" and then lunged purposefully at some shortbread.

"Oh!" he said, pleased, "Is she around?"

"No," I said, crunching, "she's coming later with my partner."

He smiled and asked, "Is she your biological daughter?"

Being as I was busy finding a dried cranberry which had jetted from my cookie into my sleeve, I nodded yes without thinking much about what he said. Then, it played back in my head. My biological daughter? Was he an adoption lawyer or just gunning for Weirdest question ever asked a former child actress? Then I played back what I had said and realized Oh, I'm a lesbian.

This is not the first time I've been a lesbian; I favor flat shoes and have sporty wardrobe leanings. But, ironically enough, it took finding the love of my life-- but not marry him-- to finally secure me a position on the Sapphic softball time, because of one word:

Partner.

There are a few reasons to get married and I approve vigorously of all of them. If your religion calls you to that ritual, know that I'll be there in proper clothing, actual heels and a tissue for dabbing my eyes when I cry. If you marry because you are unapologetic romantic and proclaiming your love in front of your friends makes you happy, I'll bring two tissues. If you are getting married for tax or insurance reasons, I might even give you a high five, such is my joy in saving money. But here's a reason very few people mention; it's nice to have a title. Everyone understands what the words husband and wife mean. They may not want one-- they may be writing a check every month to one of those they used to have-- but there is no thought involved in deciphering these people's relationship to one another. The world understands these people have entered into a sort of a contract and might have gotten a breadmaker out of it. But if you are, say, us and you've had years and years together, and a child, and have seen one of the people through two books and the other through graduate school and you've collectively had pets but not a marriage, what are you? I refuse to invoke the word "Boyfriend," not the least because Consort, while lively and opinionated, is not a boy and to call him one would imply I don't understand what the word means. I won't call him my "Sweetheart" because I am not a Lladro figurine and I won't call him my "Lover" because I am neither Brazilian nor a Real Housewife. Obviously I'm fond of the word "Consort," but it only works on the page; I use it in person and anyone who understands what a Consort is thinks I'm delusional and anyone who doesn't thinks he has a weird first name.

This leaves me with "Partner," which I actually like. It creates a picture very much like our lives, where we work together, filling in for the other's weaknesses, protecting each other during ordeals, building something worthwhile together.

Of course, it's also the thing many lady-loving ladies call their better-halves as well.

I thought about clarifying this, but couldn't think of a graceful way to say "You do understand my partner is an outie and not an innie, right?" Even correcting his misperception that  I was gay seemed overly political, being as I had just met this man's husband. I chose to do what I usually do around dessert bars, which is eat something. I smiled politely and wished Consort would get there soon, because if I knew anything about my partner, he was really going to like this story.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Robin Raven said...

So funny! I bet it is unnerving having random strangers tell you they've Googled you, though.

I recently had someone I went to school with tell me they had always assumed I was bi (without any further explanation). Hm. Also, because I'm a very outspoken activist for human rights with a habit of posting such links on Facebook, random people have assumed I am gay. I don't really care if people think this so I rarely bother to announce that I'm straight, but it is funny how people presume so much!

I bet Consort did find your party encounter rather funny.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Someone Said said...

My wife uses that term often, she's from Scotland and Partner is commonly used in the UK, with equal references to straight or gay relationships.

3:22 AM  
Blogger Mark Moran said...

Great entry ... for a moment, I pictured you, Consort and Daughter as this little outpost of the Rainbow Family, but without the VW microbus and wilderness camping. Does anyone actually say things like, "He's my old man ..." anymore? Eeesh ...
Wishing you, your life partner and offspring (now there's a catchy title) a merry Christmas and happy Gnu Year!

6:42 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

I can't stop laughing. I wish I could have seen the husband's face when Consort walked in.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Twisted Susan said...

I'm still smiling over I do not need a doctor; I need a lawyer.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Mommy Lisa said...

gah. love it.

4:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The term "Partner" is used in many English speaking countries. I have friends in Australia who use it, as well as a cousin in the UK.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Sara J. Henry said...

You could have said, in this instance, "She's coming later with her father." Or, I suppose, you could say "male partner." Or just "Daniel" - leaving it up to the questioner to wonder or ask who Daniel is.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Julia M. said...

Spouse? "A spouse is a partner in a marriage, civil union, domestic partnership or common-law marriage".

11:07 AM  
Blogger AndyEM said...

"No...he's my partner-partner. We own a Sex Toys Shop downtown."

2:26 PM  
Blogger StevenIre said...

They had the same trouble figuring out the partner with the Kate Mulgrew vehicle called first ‘Mrs. Columbo’, then ‘Kate Columbo’ followed by ‘Kate the Detective.’ They finally settled on the name ‘Kate Callahan’ for the character and ‘Kate loves a Mystery’ for the show. And who doesn’t love a mystery. In the mind of the show’s executive producer, does he exist? Well they probably never thought he was a woman.

2:08 AM  

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