March 26, 2012: Giddyup, Partner

            It’s become a kind of parlor game, for me: I refer to Tevye as my “husband,” and then I wait to see if the person to whom I’m speaking repeats it back as the word “partner.”

            I’m rarely disappointed. Apparently the word “husband” is, when spoken by a homosexual about his spouse, as horrible to most folks as the word “nigger.” People just can’t seem to spit it out.

            It happened again today. I was speaking with our exterminator, who’s still trying to get rid of the pigeons roosting on our front porch. He asked if I’d be around tomorrow morning, and I said, “No, but my husband will be.”

            “Well, what time does your partner leave for work?”

            “I don’t have a partner,” I calmly replied. “My husband will be home until about ten o’clock.”

I am not in business with this person.

            Of course, these folks who refuse to share my use of the word “husband” are technically correct. Tevye and I are not legally married. We’re second class citizens in this state, as well as in the other places where we own property. Not allowed, by law, to marry.

            Which is, in our thinking, all the more reason to appropriate the word “husband.” It’s a refusal to accept the discrimination against us, as well as a means of starting a conversation about how pansies are routinely discriminated against in a country that claims to be about freedom and “the rights of all men.” Because often, when someone hears Tevye or I say “my husband,” they’ll ask, “Did you have a big wedding?”

            “No. We’re not legally married,” I always explain. “We’ve been a couple for 15 years, but we’re forbidden by law to make it legal.”

            The part we don’t tell people is that the other reason we settled on “husband” is because it’s the least odious word we could come up with. “Boyfriend” makes us sound like Sandra Dee in a beach party movie; “Soulmate” makes us want to vomit; “Lover” is just gross. “Friend” is for cowards, and “Partner” makes it sound like we’re either in business together or trying to hide the truth. Which is this: We’re as married as the rest of you, deep down, in a way that laws can’t dictate.

Thing I Hate Today: Euphemisms.


4 Responses

  1. Robrt,
    My “HUSBAND” and I love you and your “HUSBAND”, thank-you for posting this as I have been playing this game for several years too!

    your favorite “slore”

  2. This brought tears to my eyes, and gives me hope for my son. I love you both so much.


  3. Euphemisms, nomenclature, categorizations, and certainly marriage are things upon which I am disgustingly unqualified. The pigeons on your porch, them critters are, indeed, a nasty problem. Such a beautiful house, such a violated veranda. I say talk nicely to the juju man who knows the secret ways of vermin. Whatever it takes. Come the Apocolypse, you don’t want the pigeons to win!

  4. “That’s not a man, that’s Taffy!”

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