Is Marriage a Finish Line or a Torture Device for Same-Gender Loving Singles?
I'm overlooking Atlanta as my heart types the words bubbling to come forth. I've finally gotten here, in the place of not desiring love as much as I used to. I ran after so many people for so long trying to keep them around when in reality I wasn't as much as a second thought. From Corey telling me I was the one and then reneging the next day (will explain in a later flashback blog) to bad date after bad date and mediocre sex, I've grown extremely overit.com. Lately this marriage business has been a hot topic being that I'm observing various scenarios surrounding it. From my brother Quenton marrying his long term partner Alfonce (CONGRATS TO THEM BOTH!! I LOVE YOU) to dealing with it head on when the question was posed "AM I READY TO COMMIT?" to a friend of a friend cheating on his husband with another friend of my friend who are mutual friends (I hope that made sense) after being married only since February. It's scary, annoying, redundant and somewhat unnecessary all at once. I could be speaking from my slightly cynical views due to too many bad endings and cliffhangers in my own story or it could stem from the ten years of experiences inhabiting among the shady paunchy and basic, tiresome internet hookups, "no fat no fem policies" and bylaws, bad advertising of solaces and misleading social brochures.
The moment men (especially black men) from another state, city, town, country, rural area moves to HOTLANTA they become BASKIN-ROBBINED (*the notion of wonderment; a strong desire or pursuit to tasting every flavor of gay walking in front of them, Symptoms include: forgetfulness, lack of consistently, incoherence, 3rd degree lying and falsifying emotional evidence).
I know what you're thinking -- you're just saying that because you're a bitter black queen -- well, that would be the case if I didn't go to therapy, learn and relearn loving on me, take the time to begin fixing the mistakes and confronting past hurts. Now that I'm 31 looking back at it all, I'm thankful for taking the time to work or for the most part begin the healing and matured to the middle of somewhere. All of the doors are open for me to walk through. Marriage is the ultimate expression of love announced to the world giving the ones who done you dirty a bath of fuck you-look at me-I'm happy and he/she is better so take that! Nonetheless it's euphoric to find someone compatible enough to know what shit to and not to take of yours and vice versa. However, what happens when the very person charged to protect your heart not only breaks it but is the one who knows how to do it. What happens when you've been convinced to believe only to discover the "One" for you isn't the only one to other people.
Jay and Justin have been doing some TLCing (*to creep; or the act of creeping) around ever since Jay married his partner back in February. My longtime best friend Jamal-Anthony (JA) caught me in the middle of some much needed Saturday summer cleaning with an ASAP message. Returning the message he urged that he and I immediately have lunch to discuss a huge issue he's facing. So the two love birds are mutual friends of JA who was also the best man of Jay's wedding who also has a relation with Jay's partner and Justin is JA's best friend from when they grew up in Atlanta. Sticky huh, well it gets stickier, Justin has NO clue Jay is married and Jay asked JA NOT to speak a word of his marriage, family life, nothing nada zilch! What a position to be placed in! While soliciting my advice over burgers and fries at Good Fellas one conclusion was made, someone was going to get hurt. I'd explained both sides of the situations. At first I said "Say nothing, let it play itself out," but another part of me said for JA to call Jay first to alert him of what was going to take place so it's not a surprise if Jay receives a not so pleasant phone call. The overall purpose was to keep JA out of it! It's not his fault to be placed in such position especially when it's not his mess, so why does he have to clean it up?
Prior to JA and I meeting, I saw a notification from a group for HIV+ black men known as THE UNDETECTABLES. One of these beautiful brothas posed the question or rather posted the meme with a picture of two wedding rings lying on top of one another: ARE YOU READY TO COMMIT?
I laughed so hard. Commitment -- in Atlanta?
The fuckery from my own 10 years of observations, when it comes to love and commitment at times (NOT ALWAYS) in Atlanta it's like spraying on cologne without taking a bath, meaning not taking time to heal ourselves the pain we've caused and effected first. How can we even begin to ask this question when were not even honest enough to admit who we really are 100 percent of the time and then place expectations of authenticity onto another? (#GTFOH) So settling down, what does that look like really? Is it the same for everyone, does it model from the hetero-normative, or is it a matter of figuring out one another patterns and incorporating a tolerance for them?
For instance, I don't get open relationships, never did. To me personally it says I'm not enough. To others it's an excuse to cheat, but studies have shown couples having their cake and eating it too stay together longer -- but it doesn't mean I'm subscribing to the trend. Sure I've done the couple sex encounters in my twenties but I've always felt empty and unfulfilled afterward because the ultimate satisfaction was never for me more so for the couple's fire to remain lit. The passion between the two in love or something like it made me feel a bit third wheel and, yes, I did have gratification but eventually I was the one putting my clothes on and going home to a confined and silent apartment.
Being single in Atlanta or worldwide can be fun and it is but at times it also can be such a nuisance especially during wedding season. I got a random yet pleasant text from Charles Green, a friend of TheBody.com's Mark S. King, about Mark's wedding to his partner Michael Mitchell. Charles asked if I'd seen the wedding photos I'd gushed over previously when he responds: "I'm always the bridesmaid but never the bride." Stunned, I responded with a reassuring someday you will be! But it had me thinking about how I too can identify with the feeling. My best friend TJ has always kept a man -- good, prominent, powerful, highly desirable men. He's the kind who doesn't stay single long whereas me it takes an act of congress just to get confirmation for a date or fuck. So when Charles said what he said it resonated within me. Still does.
The world has a way of making singles feel so inferior for their single status. You're consistently reminded of how it must be a failure on your end for why you're not paired. Television, movies, music videos, street traffic of couples devouring one another's face off, Valentine's Day or my personal favorite -- you being the only one with no plus one at a dominating couples dinner party which can be so annoying when they give you the "aww you'll find him" or "you're not doomed yet" looks ... girl.
Do I want to get married? If you've posed this question in my twenties I would have said yes in the quickness. But now in my thirties honestly I'm not sure if it's something I want to do right now. Between the men inhabiting here who are really nothing more than little boys playing dress up in daddies clothes on their way to school for career day and the consistent juggling of heartaches, disappointment and realizations of being a fish out of my water -- the notion of even thinking about marriage has escaped my mind. The nights of being stood up, looked over, ignored, and even blocked has unfortunately damaged my faith in having a good man here. Does he even exist? And the ones who do catch my eye always friend zone me by calling me lil bro or little sister -- so tired. But I digress.
Okay so you're saying to yourself, that's not my problem! Well, good for you! I'm ecstatic for your ease with actually finding love, but for someone like me who isn't considered the ATL gay norm (such a conundrum), coming across substance is like viewing an eclipse: it's rare and so is the southern gentleman mythological creature. Mediocrity reigns in the Atlanta black gay scene. Men make such an effort to blend in, operate robotically and prove that they're as far from feminine as possible, when really half, if not all, are the biggest girls and bottoms in existence. Adding marriage into the equation makes the sifting of dishonest men harder and more headache than subscribed to.
Again, I believe marriage can be something special, but when or if I ever experience the bliss, I want to do it for love. It's meant to conjoin two people and creating a life suitable for the purpose of their particular union. Or maybe I'm just too old fashioned for a modern microwavable, order-ass-and-dick-online kind of world to think this way. Either way, whatever the outcome of all of this is, I would like to spend my life with a man of merit and integrity but half of these men today don't even know how to spell integrity let alone live it.
There are even times I can remember wondering if it was me as to why I'm not paired. I've beaten myself up to ensure consistency and ended up hurting myself more than I should have. Placed in compromising positions just to get a phone call, marriage for me has to be understanding beyond passion. Whatever construct of marriage or intimate relationships work for you, do it! But let's learn to keep egos at bay and respect the one(s) you're with. Respect yourself enough to honestly recognize your readiness or the lack therefore. Who knows? Maybe someday I will walk down the aisle, but until the rose pedal walkway is created I'll be single, writing, healing and loving.