Virtually Married

by Reed Hearne

Kerri and I were roommates before I met Tyce and she met her first husband, David. During that rocky marriage, Tyce and I talked her down from countless battles over unmet expectations. We never offered answers (there weren't any), or attempted to solve her problems (we couldn't) knowing women get enough instruction from straight men. We soaked up her woes on sob sister shoulders and silently learned the perils of forcing your mate into a mold cut out of your own ideals and hard wiring, i.e., Straight boys marry their mothers. Queer boys turn into them. (you heard me)

After the divorce, David told me they split because Kerri wanted a baby and he didn't. I called him a liar. Kerri had always protested, perhaps too much, that she was like me, not meant to have children. Then she married Michael, a "recovering" Mormon.

Children change lives. Tyce and I savor our evasion from that upheaval, so we don't get involved in the complexities of same-sex couples becoming parents. We had to think it through, though, when lesbian friends of Kerri's asked Tyce to donate sperm for their baby. (Why not me, I wanted to know?) In the end, Tyce decided against it, and I concurred. We weren't comfortable with the stud service idea--relegating our role to that of marginal participant, happy-go-lucky bystanders. A queer friend, Ray, has a lesbian sister who wants his sperm for her lover. He's excited to be father and uncle...viewpoints can be diverse on this subject.

At Kerri's baby shower, diversity clashed. As participants in her milestones (we'd shelled out for all her showers and weddings) we were granted "gender dispensation" and invited. Margie and Ellen, the couple who wanted our sperm, were there too. How they had more in common with Kerri's Aunt Sylvia than, say, her Uncle Howard is beyond me but, as it turned out, so was the entire shower concept.

The girls traded nightmares: days-long labor, extra pounds, bleeding nipples, hemorrhoids. I tried to liven the party with an old story about Kerri and I cruising the same waiter, wagering each other on which way the wind would blow. Tyce choked out a solitary laugh over this bit but we were then plowed over with favorite tales of toddlerhood.

Margie and Ellen offered smug shrugs and patronizing pity in response to Tyce's story about our cat. They saw in us mere partyboys and jesters, useless when it came down to the real meaning of life--raising children. I was fearful that Kerri shared their point of view. When she opened our first gift--an obvious gag--I realized our relationship was at a turning point. As Kerri quizzically held up the little leather contraption for all to see, Aunt Sylvia asked the question on the tip of everyone's tongue. "What is it?"

In retrospect, the roomful of gasping faces was worth the shame."To muzzle the squalling little monster!" I beamed.


This column is dead serious but meant for entertainment purposes only. Like your favorite Psychic Hot Line. To respond to this column, write to Reed Hearne at Enterzone.

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