14 February 2007

So Romeo

and now for the wisdom of someone with no such life-experience

I’m hardly the most experienced person on this topic but here goes: Gay relationships are different from straight ones. Shocking to hear, I know. Think about who takes out the trash, washes the dishes, and sends out thank-you notes in a “traditional” relationship. You know exactly who to assume is doing each. I know from personal experience that few “traditional” relationships actually do things the traditional way. I know this because the church encourages home life to be composed of a loving dad who is not a tyrant and a loving mom who is not a harpy.

Successful families are encouraged to influence youth in the ward to behave like them. A good father leads the scout troop. A good mother leads the young womens’ classes. I’ve seen these examples all my life and been told to model myself after them. All the while I knew I was different and thought the teachings are only for straight couples.

But these behaviors aren’t invalid, are they? I may not know who will be taking out the trash but I know I’ll listen to his doubts and concerns. I have no idea who will wash the dishes but I know I will be faithful to him. I’m not sure of the proper etiquette for thank-you cards but I know he’ll be my best friend and closest confidant.

In theory, anyway. I don’t have even the faintest whiff of a role model to base this on. Instead I am twenty-five and a relationship-virgin. I get to learn this all from scratch. I didn’t get to practice. No dates in high school. No stolen kisses between classes. No modestly dressed social dances.* Not a single opportunity to figure any of this out. Not for a gay man. If you’re straight you are expected to have learned this. For a gay man, any one of the aforementioned activities would result in immediate disfellowship followed by excommunication.

So Romeo, wherever thou art, what am I supposed to do if I ever meet you?

*Actually, I hate dancing.


good tune


Scot said...

I think you’d be surprised at how simply it all falls into place. My partner and I have been together over 14 years now, and we’ve each found our comfortable roles. I go into work. He takes care of the home. He takes care of the kids during the day; I take over at night. I take out the trash and manage the bbqing, and he pays the bills and cooks everything else (and very well! He was asked to cater the last priesthood dinner by the neighbors :-)). But it’s not all along traditional lines (I say, as he’s out there right now snow blowing the drive…). In the end each person ends up doing what they’re best at, as is really the most efficient way for any couple.

In a way, I think, it’s both a blessing and a curse to not have these roles set out for you. You get to find the value and your place in them, and thereby make them more yours, not just something you were expected into.

Chris said...

I've just discovered your blog, and I quite like it.

There are wonderful gay role models out there, and the man who posted above me is one. And as I am now in a same-sex relationship after ten years of traditional marriage, I can testify to the truth in Scot's statement that it is both a blessing and a curse to have to sort roles out for yourselves that are assumed in opposite-sex relationships.