And they said it wouldn’t last! Mr. Wow on Marriage, and Other Matters.
On August 5th last year, B. made an honest woman of me, at Hoboken’s City Hall. After 38 years of covering my head in shame, being pelted by rocks, and wearing that damn scarlet letter, I am free to be me. Just like Bruce Jenner–aka a rich, entitled, not terribly bright drag queen. (Sorry, can’t get on board the Caitlyn bandwagon. )
People have asked “Is it different, now that you’re married?” Maybe B. would answer differently, but I’d say, No. After we passed the 15-year mark I pretty much considered us married. By the time we got to 30 years, I’d put B. through so much I felt he was entitled to divorce me, although we weren’t legal. I’d never been the marrying type. As I got older, and actually thought about things, I felt overturning the discrimination laws that still exist was a far more important issue. But I realize that the idea and the ideal of marriage is hard-wired into people in love. And aside from love, soft as an easy chair (as Babs would sing) marriage does protect long-term partners. So, even though I didn’t wear orange blossoms or cry—and I am resistant to referring to B. as “my husband”– I’m glad we did the deed. I honestly couldn’t love B. any more than I have for 39 years. (I generally feel B. thinks: “What happened?! I wake up now, right?!)
Also, I’m wary. Marriage is legal now, the law of the land. But if we have an eight year stretch of Republicans after next year’s election, which I believe we will, who is to say how long that law of the land will stand?
But I shouldn’t worry over things like that. What—me worry?
My life is as good as I allow it to be. As I allow it to be. The general angst and anxiety I insist on wearing, seems permanent, a tiresome load on me, B. and the few friends I have. The anxiety issues lead to panicking over the simplest plans, inability to shop (having to deal with my body or my face—getting new glasses—leads to bad choices. Ill-fitting clothes or a fortune spent on glasses that I’m still not sure I like.) Yeah, I know. But none of those medications ever worked. Really.
As I write this, I’m preparing to go to dinner with B. and my friends Mike, Scott and Liz R. They were at the wedding and I just wanted to take them out to celebrate and thank them. A rare moment of planned thoughtfulness–but naturally I’m now sweating, even tho this is nothing but a casual dinner with old non-judgmental friends.
Although I’m polite and always say please and thank-you, and I am extremely sentimental in matters of getting weepy over books or movies, as a friend (and a partner) I am not always thoughtful. I don’t intend to be otherwise, but I often am. I don’t think, I don’t pay attention, I’m too much in my own head. I can be impulsively generous, sporadically thoughtful, but it’s not truly a part of my nature. The particulars of my childhood made me focus on how to adjust to each new situation, separation, unexplained departure. I learned how to be a good boy, charming and agreeable, but being a good boy didn’t help much. (Charm did, later.) But the focus on myself–on preservation and attempting to understand what was happening around me–left my focus on myself. I want to be loved and appreciated, but I don’t give back as much as I get. Not out of meanness. And I don’t expect people to go out of their way for me. But in the end I always feel alone, outside of “real” life. And placing myself outside, it’s often a struggle to connect. I’m better with strangers or very casual acquaintances. I feel safe, and I never disappoint them. I can be that charming boy again. Friends, even if they love you, notice the disconnect. When I notice they notice, it hurts. All around. This big diss on myself leads to B. I can’t explain B.–why he’s hung in! Not being a great one to talk about “feelings” all I have to go on is an explanation he gave me many years ago, when I was trying to figure out what he saw in me. “I love you, that’s all.” As far as I’m concerned, that served as his wedding vow to me, long before we stood before the judge in scenic Hoboken.
It’s harder, now that I’m older. Even when I was young, the lure of a cozy room filled with books and magazines, music, TV, my fantasies, was super-appealing. Slipping into a solitary life never frightened me, although it should. And while it’s not a solitary life now, I’ve made it much smaller over the past ten years or so. One of the reasons I’ve hung on to my job, despite challenges, is that it gives me a structure and a reason to leave my cozy room. Also, after thirtysomething years with milady I don’t see myself forging a grand new career. I might as well stick with what I know.
So you see, marriage hasn’t changed me. I didn’t expect it to, but I toyed with the possibility that a less worried, anxious person might emerge as Mrs. B. Not so much for myself, as I am resigned to me. But for others, especially those who knew me prior to depression, it would be welcome, pleasant, a revelation. Divorce, however, is not in cards. We are “madly mated” in the words of Shakespeare.
Other Matters: Who could have possibly imagined that we would be so grimly amused by the run for president? That the carnival would really come to town?
For over a year I’ve saying that Mrs. Clinton didn’t appear to want to be president for any reason other than “making history” which simply isn’t good enough for me. Her campaign, even aside from the pesky e-mail issue, has been lumbering, boring, without energy or feeling. She will not be president. Nor will Bernie Sanders, although his rise has at least given Clinton something to think about, other than trotting out tired references to her grandmother-hood.
Joe Biden? He’s a an okay guy, and would at least try to carry on the best of what Obama leaves behind, but the NYTimes “leak” of his late son, Beau Biden, urging Joe to run, just before Beau’s death—with intimate dialogue included—could have come from nobody except Biden himself. I think less of him for using his tragedy in such a typical manner. If I want my heartstrings plucked I’ll watch “The Yearling.” He will not be president.
Enter Donald Trump, a very smart, but not particularly intelligent bullfrog of a man, who literally expands unappealingly when talking about his favorite subject—himself. (His big fan, Bill O’Reilly is of a similar nature. When they gab on FOX News, the combined expansions fill the screen.) From the moment he announced, I knew he’d be hanging around for a long time. Maybe a very long time. He is perfect for these times, this era. Broad strokes, comic simplicity, fantastically coarse, utterly ego-driven. He is not just the anti-Obama politically (or he says he is for his purposes) but optics-wise, the polar opposite. I long ago wearied of Obama’s measured, pause-filled, lawyerly responses. Of course I’m glad he’s not a maniac or theatrical for no purpose, but given the ego needed to even think one can be the most powerful man in the world, one should also know how to command the podium and have an eye on the less sincere, but vitally important matter of presentation. Sometimes he has it, but often, in my opinion, not. (This—presentation– is why Jeb Bush can’t win. Utterly ineffectual speaker, with lousy posture, to boot.)
Trump is all presentation, what you see is what you get. What you see is trash, what you get is trash. And what has American culture fed off obsessively? He’s real reality TV. Alec Baldwin, who is on the right side but often an asshole, put it best recently, if Trump becomes president, he’ll be what America deserves.
Oh, yes, now you’re saying it could never happen. Didn’t you say he’d never run, wouldn’t last, that his comments about Mexicans and John McCain would end him? Like the old actress in “Follies” raucously belted out, he’s still here.
There’s enough fatalism in me (in case you haven’t noticed!) that I almost feel I could appreciate Trump as president. The End of Times would come swiftly, after that. Or he’d resign, when he realized being president is not the same as being The Red Queen in “Alice In Wonderland”—“off with their heads, or “you’re fired” won’t do. Of course, we’d have to contend, then, with whomever he’d chosen as VP. Can you imagine? Sarah Palin wants back in. Or Ted Cruz, with his frying bacon-on-a gun ads. Hmmm…I don’t know if I’m quite that fatalistic after all.
Who will I vote for 13 months from now? Mrs. Clinton, of course. Or Bernie Sanders if that’s the way it turns out. I’m prepared for a Republican because politics is cyclical and we’ve had two terms with a Democrat. I’m even prepared for Trump, if for no other reason to see if he’ll put his name on the front of The White House.
Still, as long as Justin Bieber continues to post nude photos of himself… Lenny Kravitz wear pants that split up the front…my iPod works…I can read at my leisure… B. continues to love me…and Turner Classic Movies is always available!—what, me worry?
Love to all you, from me and B., that new/old married couple.