“So, What ARE You Guys Now?”

This is the most recent question that has been popping up since I wed my beloved Martin on Thursday: “So, what are you guys now?” meaning what do we call each other.

Our ringsOur rings – this pic taken by my Sweetie 08/08/2013

This is a question that countless gay and lesbian couples have grappled with before us. We get married, have our love “legally documented” and suddenly, we have to “become” something. Our culture in general – gays and lesbians in particular – is hung up on labels (hence our latest designation of LGBTQIA – we have become “The Alphabet People.”)

Since our marriage, Martin and I are the same people we have always been – two guys that love and care for one another. After our marriage, suddenly we can not just be Tim and Martin anymore, society demands we become “something,” as if getting legally married has morphed us into some new, mystical creatures (Unicorns? Creatures with wings?)

After being wed, most gays and lesbians attempt to apply the general societal labels associated with heterosexual marriage. These labels typically fail – let me explain…

Husband and wife have definite gender role values (like it or not) and neither Martin nor I are really “wife” material – we are both caring and nurturing, roles I associate with the wife label but we don’t wear aprons or pearl studs. Husband sounds rugged and masculine, but sort of detached and absent – the uncaring provider role (although it does automatically suggest a penis is included, LOL!)

1950s-housewife

The traditional “lover” always makes me think of some player named Casanova that has several other “lovers” at one time. “Partner” is so vague – business partner, tennis partner, dance partner? I mean, I used to ballroom dance but never at a competitive level.

BallroomWhich brings us to “spouse…”

Spouse is defined as, “…one of a married couple.” OK. So, two people, married, no societal associations based on gender roles but, really, “spouse?” In my head it sounds like some heavy German bread – “The kraut and bratwurst are to be served with a thick slice of spouse, with coarse grain mustard.” Or maybe the annoying sound some logo animal makes during a commercial for high-risk auto insurance (think AFLACK – can you see a seal, throwing back its head on a outcropping of rocks, going “Spouse. Spouse. Spouse?”) Or finally, the worst image that comes to mind for me is that spouse sounds like a medical “inconvenience,” like a blister or a bunion – “Kelly’s bra rubbed her shoulder so badly it gave her a little spouse.” See what I mean?

The synonyms for spouse are even worse: companion (Hoke and Miss Daisy?), mate (a love match at the zoo primate house?), roommate (Oscar and Felix?), helpmate (what, do I live in assisted living now?), life partner (like some sort of medical equipment?) and finally, better half. I mean, by definition better half implies that I am the lesser half, and I am not sure if I like that too much, either…

So, the search for the perfect word to describe us continues. For now, I think the best choice is just to be us. For a long time, circumstances forced me to refer to my Beloved by the cryptic code SBF (shorthand for My Sweet Boyfriend). Now that we are married, maybe the BEST name for the two of us should just be what they really are – Tim and Martin. I kinda’ like that…

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