June 26, 2008
Gays get married and I’m still single
I hate gay men. OK, so I don't literally hate them -- some of my best ... no, actually my best friend is a gay man -- but I hate that there's yet another group of guys who are unavailable to me. Married people, actors, Republicans and other men who don't like women: Gay men.
In this town, it's not like you run into that many -- I'm talking about Republicans and married men. But gay men are everywhere. Forget the regular challenges of being single amid the bevy of anorexic beauties who migrate to Hollywood. The single woman's real plight is: Who among the available men is gay? And who is just really, really good looking?
Right now, at this very moment, I am staring at a pleasant man in what could only be described as a lime green polo shirt -- with the actual polo player guy in lavender. His collar is flipped up, his sunglasses are tucked into the open collar, and peeking out beneath his loose and trendy Joe's jeans are brown leather flip-flops with a flower on them.
"You or me?" I ask Jeff, my best friend, who is gay. It's a game we play: Guy walks by, we both look, and I -- of no gay-dar whatsoever -- must ask in coded language if the man is gay or straight. Is he for you (gay) or me (straight)?
"You, you, you!" Jeff proclaims. How can he tell? Apparently gay men have a secret Spockian eye-blink language that communicates "I am gay. Death to straight people. Wanna play?"
Jeff is right, because despite the outfit, the man walks over to a pretty, peppy woman with a baby carriage. His girlfriend. Wife. Baby Mama. Whatever: He's taken, so I don't care.
One of the beautiful things about having a best friend who is gay is that it lets me witness an alternate dating world. It's as if the rules of gravity there have been suspended.
For example, some gay guys don't want committed relationships, and they date just to have fun (unlike straight women who say this, they actually mean it).
Or they have a boyfriend and date at the same time (none of this staying-with-the-wrong person thing because you are worried about never meeting someone else -- you already have someone else).
Or maybe "Fidelity is just a goal," Jeff says. "Not a rule."
It's quite refreshing for someone like me, coming from the very straight-laced Jewish community where you date, you become exclusive, you get engaged, you get married (hopefully you fall in love along the way) -- and it lasts forever and ever, till death -- death! -- do us part. It's a lot to live up to, if you think about it.
So maybe that's why I've found it somewhat disconcerting these last few weeks, witnessing the gay community's response to the California State Supreme Court's ruling allowing gay marriage. As a civil libertarian, I am all for it. I truly believe that every human being should have equal civil rights, especially in the United States of America, which prides itself on it.
So of course I believe gay people have the right to get married.
But, after meeting, talking and waiting in line with couples to get their marriage licenses, my question is, do I believe in marriage at all?
"This is something that every woman has dreamed of since the day she was born!" one woman in a white dress told me as she waited in line for her marriage certificate at West Hollywood Park last week.
I nodded, but I didn't agree.
Dream about marriage since the day we were born? Not I. I am glad that she can have something she has always dreamed of. I am glad people can fulfill a right that has always been denied them (making it even more desirable).
But after witnessing the sheer joy of the couples waiting to get licenses, I realize it's not marriage I'm against but the whole wedding culture. The whole hoopla, the pomp and circumstance, the dressing up, the everyone-has-to-wear-whatever-we-tell-them and the play-whatever-silly-bridal-shower-and-bachelorette-party-games-no-one-likes kind of attitude.
I'm like Mr. Big in the "Sex and the City" movie, who is all for getting married but doesn't want to get carried away by the obnoxious bad taste of a big wedding.
But wait. There's hope. Not to be stereotypical, but (many) gay people don't often have bad taste. Maybe there won't be any let's-make-a-fake-hat-out-of-bridal-paper-wrappings games. Maybe there won't be any more you-must-look-uglier-than-the-bride turquoise bridesmaid dresses you'll never wear again.
Think "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" meets "Bridezillas." Maybe gay marriage is just what the world needs to make weddings sane. Maybe it's here to remind us what commitment is all about -- not a wedding, but a license.
Last week I met two men in their 80s who had just gotten their marriage license.
"Mazal tov," I told them, and they laughed: "People are only now wishing us congratulations, but we've been together 43 years."