Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I'm extra-ordinary (I prefer over "unusual")

There are probably things I should be posting about politics, or about my current transition period(s) (out of the army, into the reserves, into school for the first time, living with my husband for the first time), but instead I'm going to write something a little more introspective.

I began to reflect as I was reading the blog of my friend Gosia, who is currently traveling with her husband, Lee, a friend of mine from the Army. (As an aside, I recommend reading her blog to anyone interested in life and amazing photography.) They are currently in Egypt right now and have traveled the world using couch surfer to suit their style. They've met some incredible people and enjoyed themselves and I briefly thought, "Peter and I should do this!"

Then I thought, "damn. Peter and I probably couldn't couch surf in Egypt." Then I thought, "this sucks...why would I worry preemptively that someone else might have a problem with us?" Could Peter and I travel to Egypt? Could we couch surf across the country comfortably without having to inquire ahead of time if the owner of the couch has a problem with us?

Then I thought back to a conversation that Peter and I had about our work experiences. You see, a wedding ring tells people you're married--but not to whom. So common conversations begin with something like, "I see you're married, you have kids?" There then begins a moment of hesitation, not because you don't want to tell people, "I have a husband, not a wife" but it's awkward to add into conversation. When an answer requires referencing "us" it tends to reinforce the assumption that "we" are a man and a woman. Then you find yourself accidentally leading on someone and you feel as though you're lying by omission, but only because it's an incredibly awkward thing to randomly bring up, "hey, when I spoke of 'we' I mean my husband and I."

Once that conversation happens, as it inevitably does, you find yourself wondering if you didn't interject with "husband" because it was awkward or because you didn't know how they'd react. It doesn't matter that you know your intention, but it's hard not to question yourself.

I don't think it's a matter of discrimination--simply put, gays and lesbians are a minority, and it's not absurd to assume if a man is married, it's probably to a woman. But, it does mean that for the rest of our lives, we'll have to correct people--and that when we have a nice dinner together, the waiter will inevitably ask if we're together or separate.

I guess I've never been "ordinary" in any sense, so I shouldn't have expected to be so in marriage.


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