The shortest answer is: Because I’d like to get married someday. For most people, that is insufficient. It shouldn’t be. My ideas about romance are pretty old school. I like the idea of marrying someone at a young age and having a committed, monogamous relationship with them until one or both of you dies. Not everyone is into that. Given the permissiveness of the age that we live in, it almost makes you an anomaly. People don’t get married as quickly or as early as they used to. In a way, that’s good, as it means that we are starting to realize that there are many valid ways to love and be loved. But even though the idea of getting married in one’s teens to someone one has known for a matter of weeks may seem insane to us today, it wasn’t so unusual in the mid-to-earlier years of the 20th century, and some of those marriages lasted. What those couples lacked in maturity, they made up for in pluck and determination. This thing was going to work, damn it. That attitude is rare these days. Far too many couples hit a rough spot and call it quits. I’m single, but when I find someone, I’m not going to give in that easily. No relationship of mine is going to end until we decide it’s not working, one of us dies, or both.
Conservatives like to talk about how the family is the root of American society. I agree. My father met my mother when they were both working in a college cafeteria. It was, I believe, the first serious relationship either of them had ever been in. He proposed after knowing her for about a year and half, they were married a year later, and thirty-plus years later, they still seem to like each other. That’s quite an achievement. I reject the notion that Republicans hold the monopoly on family values. My family is Catholic but it most certainly is not conservative. We’ve weathered a lot together. The American right wing does not have to disappear, although there are times when I kind of wish it would. But it has to accept that what constitutes a strong unit is not defined by the genders of the people who run it. I have said before that while it is a fine distinction, I prefer to view my family as middle class rather than upper middle class. Why is that relevant? Because we don’t have that much money, just education. If I ever start a family (which, again, I don’t want to do, but who knows?), I will teach my children to value culture, curiosity, and learning. The children of the Robot King will be taught not to condemn anything simply because they don’t understand it, to believe in the essential good nature of humanity, and that there is never a good time to stop asking questions.
Is that really such a partisan statement? It certainly isn’t liberal. Christianity teaches that the only people who are unworthy of God’s love are the ones who don’t return it. For no particular reason, that sentiment makes me think of a certain Fleetwood Mac song. No, Sarah Palin, the United States is not a Christian nation, but if you really want to follow Jesus’ example, you might try using your religion to include people rather than exclude them. Why would anyone waste their time protesting gay rights? It’s not just evil, it’s pointless. Whenever I see someone on TV or anywhere else claiming that, I don’t know, faggots burn in Hell or something, I want to ask them if they have a hobby. Literally anything is more productive than that. Even strangling puppies would be a step up. There are people out there who enjoy that. No one enjoys taking away the rights of others. They do it because they are insecure, empty, and fundamentally hateful. I have spent a great deal of blood, sweat and tears building up my current life for myself, and I’m still unsatisfied with it. I can’t waste time telling others how to live. It’s too draining, and I’m tired enough as it is.
I still remember the moment at which I first knew something was up. It was Christmas, and I was spending it in Arizona with some relatives. My aunt had bought something from Abercrombie and Fitch and left the bag lying around. I was playing (I couldn’t have been older than five or six) but stopped to stare at the shirtless men on the bag. If I’d been into women, I would have known instantly what was happening the first time I started staring at someone. But I wasn’t, so all I could do was sit and stare for reasons I couldn’t even begin to fathom. There was a time when I got eight hours of sleep every night. That hasn’t happened since the fall semester of my junior year as an undergrad. It was a tough semester. I was acting in two shows at once, writing for a student political magazine, and taking two of the hardest courses of my academic career. My proudest achievement out of all that I did was going to bed at a reasonable hour every night. I should have known that was too good to last. At the beginning of the spring semester, I started waking up early with a restless leg. I kept waiting for the problem to just disappear, but it wouldn’t. Over the next few months, every neurosis and personal issue that I’d been holding back for the past few months exploded. I’d been functioning fine on my own terms, but there was a whole world outside of my personal experience. Since then, I’ve fought with friends, family, casual acquaintances, total strangers, and one person who entered my life just to make mine miserable. All of them pretend to be just trying to help, then tell me to compromise some essential part of my nature. I won’t. For two and a half years, people who think I’d be happier if I just gave in a little and started acting the way they want me to rather than the way I want to have assailed me, and no matter what they ask me to do, my answer is still no. It’s all I get.
Someday, I might wake up in the morning, look around, and feel just fine about everything. Until then, I have nothing but my dreams. They aren’t going away anytime soon.