Saturday, January 9, 2010

Still a New Jersey Outlaw

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies.

Meditations on Marriage

The two boys/men with whom I was most intimate, but didn't marry, both have wives and children. One of the guys is a gorgeous, athletic Leukemia researcher, who went through high school and his undergraduate years at Harvard in six years, rather than eight. The other is a handsome, musical business mogul who can do innumerable push-ups on his knuckles -- or could when we were 20 -- and who sold his business for US$150M, and now, is the CEO of a global green energy company.

The person with whom I have chosen to share my life -- for nearly 18 years so far -- is beautiful, as well as the funniest person I've ever met, and is kind and graceful, with nearly a photographic memory for anything she has ever read, and she has three Masters degrees and a Doctorate.

In not being allowed to marry, Pat and I have a good problem compared to people of any sexual orientation who've not found the love of their life and who have no marriage prospects at all. Ahhh, that's the gratitude I was hunting for in the midst of the shameful news that New Jersey's Senate voted against same-sex marriage.

This morning, I heard an interview of Elizabeth Gilbert on NPR. She was discussing her "champagne problem" of trying to follow her mega-bestselling book with another. Apparently, she wrote the bestseller about getting divorced and liberated in the process, and the new book was about how she needed to marry her boyfriend in order for him not to be deported.

*That's* your champagne problem, I thought bitterly, listening to her. She has no appreciation of her freedom to marry her boyfriend in order to stay united. Bi-national, same-sex couples have not got that similar right. For that matter, neither do same-national, same-sex couples.

It is doubtful that I will read either book, but I did prize Ariel Levy's recent review of the second one, especially this paragraph:
“Committed” is an unfurling of Gilbert’s profound anxiety about reëntering a legally binding arrangement that she does not really believe in. All this ambivalence, expressed in her high-drama prose, can be a lot to handle. (One generally doesn’t indulge another person’s emotional processing at this length unless the jabbering is likely to conclude with sex.)

Why the paragraph appealed to me: It was written by an openly-lesbian journalist, who in this article wrote, referring to an old-school lesbian separatist, "If I weren’t female and gay, I doubt very much that she would have spoken to me." And I might be projecting, but I want to believe that Levy felt the same impatience as I did about Gilbert's actual champagne problem -- of having the freedom to marry the person she wanted to marry, but just being tiresomely expressive of her fear to do so.

During low points like today, as I have time to feel hurt and righteously-indignant about the New Jersey Senate's inhumane decision, I fall prey to what-if-ing.

What if I had married the doctor? What if I had married the green CEO? Well, my partner is a doctor, too (in Education), and as an active Master Gardener, she couldn't be any greener.

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