Well, life is too funny. I hasten to add that when I say “funny,” I mean in an amusing way; because, these days, being otherwise “funny” is no laughing matter, at all. Especially since US President Barack Obama has shared his personal views on gay marriage.
Following the television interview, Wednesday night, in which Obama said he felt, personally, that gays should have the right to marry, I took a couple of minutes to read some bloggers’ remarks on the Internet. Of course, the usual bashing applied, both religious and political, but one post, in particular, tickled my amusement-bone: “Marriage should be banned,” it read, “and then there’d be no divorce.” You understand, now, why I’m laughing, right? That straight folks would be advocating the dissolution of an institution while gay people are fighting to get into it is, to me, just a hoot.
But, seriously now, what it is – if you could only bring yourselves to look at it objectively – is a ringing endorsement of this beleaguered thing called marriage by people who, until lately, had absolutely no experience, at least not first hand, of it. It reminds me a bit of my university days when one of the theology courses we Catholics were required to take was “Marriage and the Family.” Not a problem for most students, really, except for the small fact that it was taught only by priests who were not permitted to marry… . But since, as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then gays wanting to marry must be seen as the highest compliment to the tradition.
And tradition is what’s at stake here, more than anything; for even the religious arguments are based on it. We all can agree that the Bible, that great bastion of Christianity, speaks to marriage as being between a woman and a man. And I think we can all agree, as well, that a great portion of the Bible is taken up with the recounting of tradition, Jewish tradition – most of which we have chosen to discard, like a man marrying his dead brother’s wife and giving her children in his name. But it is also tradition – a tradition in which gay little girls and boys are reared and nurtured – for people who love each other and are committed to each other to demonstrate that love and commitment in a tangible way. And so, it is really not that surprising, to me, that gays would want to do just that, having grown up on the Hebrews text, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled… .”
Anyway, I think that people are becoming far too foolish and paranoid about how gender figures into relationships. It was just the other day that a sister was telling me about a feller, crass and ignorant, who asked why she didn’t have a man and whether it was because she was “on the other side.” Now, I sucked my teeth loudly upon hearing this, because she was the third woman, lately, to tell me such a tale. The other two, being tentatively courted, reported that the feller in question – or doing the questioning – had asked if they’d ever, to put it delicately, “had a same-sex encounter.”
Being understandably flabbergasted, neither woman had the presence of mind to ask, “Why? Have you?” I wish they had, though; for maybe having the query put to them might have shown these fellers not only how intrusive their question was, but how downright illogical. Particularly because, in both instances, the men followed the sisters’ denial with the assurance that “it doesn’t matter, really.” But it is particularly insightful – to me – that the answer was inconsequential to these fellers. For I don’t know a single woman – possibly, she exists; but I’ve never met her – to whom the answer, in reverse, would not matter.
I could be wrong, but I think it’s all about male hubris, an excess of pride or arrogance that makes a feller view a single, independent, woman as an affront to manhood; hence, questions like: “Who controlling that?” with a disparaging jerk of the head to indicate the “object.” It is this same hubris that persuades a man that he can convert any woman, even if she is of a different sexual orientation, once he waves his “magic wand.” And none of it has a thing to do with forming any kind of emotional attachment, any type of lasting relationship; it is purely for bigging up his chest and for bragging rights. Conversely, a woman suspecting a feller of batting for the same side will remove herself altogether from the field – from the pavilion, even – afraid of what, along with the ball, she just might catch.
… These days, it’s common to hear folks making quips about God creating Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve; like some different god – one of the Greeks, perhaps – might have spawned Steve. But if we believe, as we say colloquially, that every pepperpot has its fungie and every mouldy biscuit its stinking cheese, then Steve will find his Cleve, and Adam and Eve have only themselves to worry about. And if the statistics are to be believed, then they have something to worry about indeed; because, across the globe – and we in Antigua & Barbuda, the preferred “wedding destination,” certainly have a place on the map – marriage rates are declining; in some places, like Asia, precipitously so. Which is why I started out by saying life is funny. Because while states like North Carolina are passing amendments to “defend” marriage, the straight people whom they want to take advantage of this privilege are saying, no thanks; they have other, better, things to do.
Hey, you remember, in the old days, Sisters, when we would tell a force-ripe boy or forward older man that we were “saving ourselves for marriage?” Well, if it isn’t funny, then tell me what it is, these days, when a boy and a man, together, might turn out to be the saving of the institution?