When the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, I was deeply concerned. For years I'd been reading that such a move would destroy traditional heterosexual marriage.
I have a traditional heterosexual marriage, now almost 30 years old. In spite of my husband's annoying habits (I have none), I like my marriage, and I didn't want it to be destroyed. So I faced the next day with trepidation.
I am here to tell you that nothing happened.
When my husband and I awoke, we both had morning breath, so we greeted each other with a quick hug rather than a make-out session, but that's been par for the course for the last 29 and a half years.
My husband, God bless him, made the coffee, but then he kept interrupting my peaceful reading of the newspaper with cheerful, morning-person conversation until my sullen silence got the better of him. (I am not a morning person.)
Again, this is S.O.P. in our heterosexual household. We walked the dogs, who were shockingly unaware of the momentous change that had occurred overnight. (The cats seemed unaware, too, but who can tell with cats?) I managed to do the laundry without interference from a newly married gay person, while my husband napped contentedly on the couch.
When we went out to dinner, I scanned the faces of people we passed, for I had read that gay marriage would make a mockery of couples like ourselves. Were people mocking us? They didn't seem to be. In fact, they paid very little attention to us in any way. (Frankly, I was a little disappointed. I mean, come on, people. We are walking around with a traditional marriage here!) Service at the restaurant was excellent, even when we held hands openly, our wedding rings and genders in plain sight.
That night when we went to bed, I breathed a sigh of relief but braced myself for the future.
Perhaps gay marriage was a slow-acting virus like the ones in disaster movies, starting imperceptibly but then spiraling out of control until the tough, chiseled hero, possibly with the help of his gorgeous, temporarily estranged neuro-physicist wife, develops a this-is-so-crazy-it-just-might-work cure.
But no. So far the government has not seized our house to bestow it on a gay couple. We've managed to keep our jobs, our cars, our marital tax break and our children. Our dogs remain clueless as ever (especially Bailey, the white one, whom the vet once diagnosed as D-U-M-B).
But surely all the hoopla meant something. If gay marriage hadn't shredded the very fabric of our daily heterosexual lives, perhaps something more insidious was afoot.
Would gay couples tarnish the sacred institution of marriage with bad behavior? They might forget to change the kitty litter for weeks on end or neglect the grocery shopping until all that's left in the refrigerator is a shriveled onion and a bottle of Prosecco. Maybe they'd forget birthdays and anniversaries, then yell at each other or sulk. This angle seemed plausible until I saw the morning paper, which I keep trying to read in spite of my husband's upbeat chatter.
What's up with this sacred institution, anyway? Husbands are beating their wives. Parents neglect their children. Addictions to booze/drugs/Internet porn/Game of Thrones erode intimacy and trust. Spouses divorce each other left and right.
Torn in Tulsa writes to Dear Abby, "My dad's having an affair and he made me promise not to tell mom. What should I do?" "Torn" is a fifth-grader. Could gay people do any worse? It's hard to imagine.
Some of my friends claim they'd always thought the threat of gay marriage was overblown, like Y2K or gluten intolerance. I'm starting to think they're right. If someone can tell me what the fuss is all about, I'd appreciate it.
So far, gay marriage has been kind of an anti-climax, at least for me. My life hasn't changed one whit.
But then again, I'm not gay.