I love this description of sexuality. Meet my guest for today’s Marriage Project:
One night, about two years ago, I went out to the bar with a couple of friends. We met a couple of guys and ended up hanging out with them for a while, sharing beers and cracking jokes. I was having my birthday party the next weekend, and invited them, half joking. Before they left for the evening, one of the guys asked for my number so that he could call for directions to my party later. My friends and I left to go dancing at a different bar, where I met a lady. She and I danced and kissed for an hour or so, and I invited her to my party and gave her my number too. I really wanted her to call me, but she didn’t. Instead, the guy called me a week after we met, took me out for Ethiopian food, and we sat by the river in the sun and talked about quantum physics. I began to fall in love then and there.
Sexuality isn’t this thing that is chiseled into our DNA, that we are forced to follow because our genes tell us so. For me, it is like a river, bending this way and that. I am attracted to people, not genders. There are times that I am infatuated with a woman and want to be with her in all ways, and others that I am equally as infatuated with a man, but it is because of who, not what, they are. It also rises and falls and there are times that I feel like a wild, ravenous being and others that my sexuality is barely a trickle and I feel like I could go for years without being touched. I am at peace with this part of myself.
I am not an exciting person by any means. In fact, when you boil it down, we are all pretty damn boring. I have formulaic ways that I respond to certain things — I curl up like a caterpillar in my sheets and cover my head when I want to ignore my partner; I get mad about the dishes not being washed; I pretend to brush my teeth so that I can watch myself cry in the mirror. Having found someone who can laugh at me, with me, and also take me seriously when I need it has been fulfilling, frustrating, and satisfying.
What if instead of finding him, I had found her? What if we had fallen in love, and like my partner now, we were planning on getting married? What if we were our most boring selves together? There would have to be some kind of “coming out” to my family; my friends would have to learn to take my relationship seriously; I would have to endure weird sex questions from people; my wedding might be considered to be pretend because it would not be legal, and this is just the stuff I can think of off the top of my head at this moment. It sounds exhausting. A few of my couple friends, who happen to be gay, have the most loving and stable relationships of anyone I know. I think that it is partly because they had to endure a barrage of ridiculousness, and if you can bear that together, then by God, you can deal with anything.
In our nation’s very recent history, a black person could not legally marry a white person. I told this to my oldest daughter and she responded with absolute horror. The idea of two people not being allowed to marry based on the color of their skin seems preposterous and barbaric to most of us now, and even a child can see how insane it is. This is not to say that racism does not persist, and that interracial couples are widely accepted because they aren’t. They are, however, legally allowed to join to each other for as long as they see fit and no one can argue with that. One day in the not too distant future, parents will tell their children that people used to be unable to marry because of their gender, and their children will respond with disbelief. A child knows that we all have the right to love, that we should be allowed to burn for whomever we want to without shame. It is your right to be boring with whomever you choose, for as long as you are both right for each other.
Marriage equality is not only important, but essential for our society to move forward. Equality is not something that you should have to ask, beg, and plead for. The fear of not being accepted should not be like a lead sweater you put on every morning, that try as you might, you just can’t seem to get used to. Marriage equality is not going to make everyone accept love in all of its forms overnight, but it is a promise that it is going to get better and that makes my heart sing.
2 thoughts on “Marriage Project, Day 13”
Thank you for sharing this, Whitney. Beautiful…
It is delightful to read a beautiful description of being attracted to both men and to women. I am the other side of your either-gender story. I was married to a man once and now, I am (symbolically) married to a woman. The threads of our individual lives have become interwoven with strength and complexity for 25 years. Sexual attraction isn’t chiseled into my DNA either. Why is it so hard to simply be grateful that you found a person you love like crazy? After 25 years, I’m still in love with her. And that’s something to celebrate.