It was love at first sight. Okay, it was lust. But it was most definitely at first sight.
His girlfriend at the time had called to say she wanted me to meet someone. Her boyfriend!
She was his last. And I was his first.
As the story goes, when Scott started dating Deb (a really good catch after years of recreational catch and release) he told her that he might possibly be, "well, um, guh, guh, guh,... attracted to guys."
"You're great," she promptly said. "So, let's date awhile and see." Looking back on it now, Deb is quick to admit what she was really thinking -- this hunk is HOT and he's also nice. Definite marriage material. Please God, don't let him be guh, guh, guh... attracted to guys.
Eight months and a long line of sex specialists later -- a quack psychiatrist, a female rabbi, a spiritual healer, and a well-recommended psychic -- it was decided that Scott was positively, unequivocally, absolutely guh, guh, going to need to wave his big rainbow flag. Nothing and no one was ever going to change that. So the couple packed their bags and went on an un-honeymoon to St. Martin where they cracked open a couple bottles of champagne and celebrated their eight-month journey to enlightenment and their commitment to a lifelong friendship.
On the return flight home, Deb announced, "I have a friend I want you to meet."
That friend was me.
When Scott walked into the restaurant where I was working for our prearranged meeting, I remember my eyeballs wiggling in their sockets. I put down the candlestick I was polishing and whispered to my fellow waiter, "That's my friend Deb's ex. Soon to be known as 'my new husband.'"
Scott says he remembers seeing me walk down the staircase clad in my elegant tuxedo and instantly knew that I was the one. We said "hello" and never said goodbye.
Twenty years later, the day that gay marriage was legalized in New York, our cell phones came alive. Friends and loved ones wanted to know if Scott and I had set the date. Many also requested to be apprised of their titles and roles at the wedding. Deb, Scott's ex-girlfriend who introduced us, asked for and was promised the role of Flower Girl. My brother announced that he would like to be the one to give me away.
There was only one problem with all of that -- we currently have no plans to get married. I appreciate that marriage is a great institution; I'm just not sure I'm ready to be institutionalized. We like what we have. Even though it's unlicensed, unsanctioned, and at times unbelievable, it's just between us. And, on most days, if Scott's not driving, it works.
Trust me, we're committed. But, after twenty years of togetherness, neither of us feels the urge to run out to Bed, Bath and Beyond and add a "salad spinner" to our gift registry. Yet.
Let it be said that we both firmly and heartily believe it should be everyone's right to get married to whomever they love, and do so not just at a state level, but to be recognized at a federal one. As I wrote in My Two Moms with civil rights advocate Zach Wahls, respect, dignity, and equality ought not be deprived on the basis of sexual orientation. In my view, "equal protection" demands that our laws treat alike all people who are "similarly situated with respect to the legitimate purposes of the law."
And guess what? We're pretty much similarly situated as every other old married couple. We disagree on paint; we argue about money; and one of us never remembers birthdays, while the other one never forgets them. Depending on the topic, it's a 50/50, 60/40, 30/70 relationship. One of us, for example, tolerates the other rearranging the furniture in the middle of the night, obsessing over Christmas, and ordering way too much off eBay, while the other tolerates bad driving, penny pinching, and occasional gassiness.
In my new book Moving In: Tales of an Unlicensed Marriage, you'll see that our relationship seems very familiar. No matter same or opposite gender, there's one in every couple who likes to make things look pretty and one who'll walk across a newly cleaned kitchen floor in muddy shoes to see the results. The Supreme Court didn't ask my opinion last week, but if they had, I would have pointed out that yes, we may be a gay couple, but our life really isn't that different from that of a straight couple. Our lawn still needs to be cut. Our dog barks, eats and poops. And our washing machine breaks the week after the warranty expires, just like everyone else's.
In fact, except for the prejudices we face (and that we can both use the same public bathroom), a "gay" relationship isn't really all that different than a "straight" relationship. Why? As any heart will tell you: love is love.
The day that gay marriage was legalized in New York was also the same day that Scott wrecked both our cars, simultaneously. Yep, he backed up the driveway during a sneezing fit and slammed the SUV into the tailgate of the truck. I didn't bat an eye. Had the accident been an out of the ordinary incident in our twenty-year narrative, I may have responded with alarm, shock, or anger. Instead, after the impact and its jolting lurch forward, I sat remarkably stoic, diligently writing my "To Do" list on the back of a piece of junk mail while he got out to inspect the damage.
"Well?" I asked, as he climbed back into the driver's seat.
"There's damage," he said without looking at me.
As we drove up the driveway, I added "Call Toyota" to my "To Do" list... right after, "Pick new paint color for the house" and right before, "Ask Scott to marry me."
They say marriage is made in heaven, but so is thunder, lightening, and hail. And in my opinion every one, regardless of sexual orientation, should be Constitutionally entitled to both a ring and an umbrella.