Take Your Penis Hats Elsewhere

I can not tell you how much I am loving Los Angeles.  Sure, there are down sides – the tremendous amounts of driving.  But, there is also an upside to the driving that I had not anticipated and it is…RADIO.  I can not tell you how much I’ve missed quality radio.  Sure, I listened to it in my Manhattan apartment from time to time, but when you’ve got an hour to kill in the car almost everyday – the radio becomes less of a past-time and more of a saving grace.  And oh how technology has helped with the radio.  For example, as most of us know, the U.S. has become a factory of corporate radio where every station is a pre-canned, pre-recorded, corporate, nationwide DJ voice, completely funded by the Clear Channel.  The only hold out is NPR, which I listen to with a loyal consistency.  Meaning, thank the technology gods there are apps.  Now, you can download a lot of specific radio shows FOR FREE.  It’s great and -specifically- I find myself listening to A LOT of Marc Maron’s WTF podcasts.  I’ll talk about a specific episode of WTF in a later post.  It’s probably the BEST podcast on American comedy that there is.

So, let’s get to the point of this post.  Yesterday, I’m sitting in the car on the way home from my current writing gig and I hear the following news headline on NPR, “The Abbey Bans Bachelorette Parties Until Gay Marriage is Legal.”

Let’s stop for a moment, here, and talk about the Abbey.  The Abbey is amazing.  It is one of the best gay bars I’ve ever been to – the world over.  The reason – it’s pretty welcoming to EVERYONE.  Now, being a die hard New Yorker, I’d like to say the best American gay bar is in New York, but I firmly believe it is not.  It is in Los Angeles and it is the Abbey.

The Abbey – if you come to LA – GO!

The Abbey is half indoors and half outdoors and it is extravagant and luscious at the same time.  The dance floor is always hopping and the food is even decent – something you don’t always expect from a joint that has a clubby atmosphere.  And the interesting thing about the Abbey is that everyone goes there – straight men, straight women, gay women, gay men.  Sure, the biggest money spenders are the gay men, but everyone goes.  I don’t think I have to tell you that a mixed clientele is a rarity at a gay bar, pretty much anywhere.

Now, most of us know that straight women LOVE going to gay bars.  Mainly, because they can let it all hangout without getting hit on.  They can let loose and have a gay ‘ole time (pun intended) while still feeling safe.  So, bachelorette parties love the Abbey.

Let’s put that aside for a moment and talk about my personal, gay marriage evolution before we get back to the Abbey.

The me of 7 years ago might have said, “Wow, they’re not letting straight women, bachelorette parties (hen nights for my euros) into the Abbey?  That’s too restrictive and a big money loss for them.  Why would they do that?”  I might have said that 7 years ago.  At around the same time I would’ve thought, “Why can’t we, gays, just be happy with civil unions and leave the marriage to the breeders?”  I have evolved on this point.  Here’s why.  Initially, I thought to myself, my marriage to Wifesy is NOT the same as a straight marriage and I like the differences.  So, why should we just lump ourselves right into an institution that has a super high rate of failure anyway?  I also felt, I didn’t get with Wifesy to be more of society’s version of normal.  I am with her because it allows me to be more completely ME.  That was my thought process about 7 years ago.  Until…we started dating and actually got married.  We got married in Massachusetts where it is legal.  Yet, here in California, it means little to nothing.

Let’s get real simple.  Here’s what happens when you’re considered “not married” in your state:

For a short period, Wifesy footed the bills so I could work on my book.  Through our accountant she tried to deduct me on her taxes.  The only amount you can take for a “non-related” / “non-married” individual on your taxes is $500.  $500 measly feckin’ dollars.  A married STRAIGHT couple where one is supporting the other can often take a deduction closer to $12,000.

Second item.  Insurance.  For a while, Wifesy worked for a Christian vet clinic.  They were “Christian” in the very best sense of the word (not in the hating gays sense of the word, which – unfortunately – can happen with a lot of religious people) and they covered us BOTH.  They covered us both because they cover their doctors AND the doctors’ spouses.  So, it was FAIR and the right thing to do in regards to covering me.  Currently, I’m working freelance, so there’s still no health insurance with my gig.  Wifesy works for a bigger animal hospital in a big city.  You would think, “No problem, the gays are going to be covered there, right?”  WRONG.  Married, STRAIGHT, couples are covered through the company.  Us gays have to pay for both of our plans at a discounted rate.  Why?  Because it saves the company money.  Until this type of discrimination is banned FEDERALLY this will continue to happen.

Tell me, how this is fair?  It is simple math.  There’s no way to look at the above and see fairness.  Now, in my current state of thought-evolution on the gay marriage issue, I am convinced that until the word marriage is used – conservative and hate-mongering groups in this country will find a way to make the laws completely unequal for gay people when looked at side by side our straight counterparts.  That is just reality.

Okay, let’s put that aside and just talk about last night for a moment before I wrap this all up in a somewhat neat bow.  I have been working long and hard all week, as has Wifesy, so last night we decided to kick back and go to our favorite Mexican place to chill out, have some margs and – of course – flan for Wifesy.  The joint was packed.  At least an hour wait.  As we were sitting there, enjoying some margs and waiting for a table, a man in his 70s with another man and a woman started talking to me.  He asked where I was from, I said, “New York.”  He said, “I know.”  I said, “How did you know?”  And he said, “your accent.”  We both laughed and talked about Manhattan and the restaurant, you know, small talk.

I liked the guy right away.  He was lovely.  Just a total treat of a human being.  The other male started joking around too and the woman in-between them was all giggles and seemingly having the time of her life.  Very quickly, I realized the men were gay and together.  One gay man told bad jokes, like your elderly uncle would at a family party.  In fact, it struck me just how similar he was to some of my straight uncles or older cousins telling corny jokes at a family function.  (It’s amazing how people can be so different and yet, completely the same.)  The other white-haired, lovely, gay, grandpa started asking me questions about me and Wifesy.  I told him that Wifesy and I were together and through the course of conversation we mentioned that we were married.  The older gay men were married too.  The conversation went like this…

Gay grandpa:  “Oh, you two are married.  That’s so nice.  Where?”

Me:  “Massachusetts.”

Grandpa:  “Oh, that’s lovely.  It’s legal there, yes?”

Me:  “Yes.”

Grandpa:  “We were married in Vermont, where it’s also legal.”

Me:  “Oh, that’s wonderful.  That’s great.”

Eventually, our table was called and the gay grandpas went with their lady friends in one direction and we went in the other.  And I had this thought, Wouldn’t it be nice if we could say we were married and that was it?  Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to have that whole “which state” caveat at the end of that statement?  Wouldn’t that be nice?

So, I understand the Abbey.  I understand why they’ve banned bachelorette parties until American gays can get married.  It is time.  It’s also time that our open minded, STRAIGHT, friends and family members stand up and get vocal.  It is time that the STRAIGHTS tell the rest of the world (including the other straights) that this “unequal” thing is not okay.

We can NOT do it without you and – unfortunately – if we have to gently shake you awake by telling you to take your bridesmaids party and your penis hats elsewhere, then, so be it.  Sometimes a friend has to make another friend STOP and take notice.  Sometimes a third party has to step in and unconditionally stop the fight.

In the end, that’s how equality is achieved.

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Photo credits and relevant articles:  abbey-bar, sorry-ladies

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38 thoughts on “Take Your Penis Hats Elsewhere

  1. Big props to the Abbey! As a straight woman, I’ve always loved a good gay bar, but I also enjoy girl bars. The Cubbyhole in Manhattan is great, as is Henrietta Hudson’s. And I miss Meow Mix. They had Xena night!

    But enough digressing. I still have no idea why it’s anyone’s business who marries who, and you’re right—the straight people who care about this issue need to step up too.

    1. i think if straight people don’t step up, it won’t happen. plain and simple. as for manhattan, those bars are great, but pale in comparison to the abbey! tho i’ve had a great time at the cubbyhole when it was jumping. even stole something off of the ceiling…you’ll understand what i’m saying on that one. meow mix moved to brookly and is now called something like ‘caddyshack’ something like that and it’s actually pretty decent, as i recall…the abbey, tho, is otherworldly. i’m telling you… 😉 xo, sm

      1. I wish there was more I could do. Some friends of mine just got married in NY, which is great, but like you said, it sucks that they’re not just “married.” It’s hard to know what else the average individual can do that will make a difference. Signing petitions and protesting just don’t feel like enough.

      2. i would just say vote. that’s the most you can do right now. when i was in new york – and i lived there for most of my life – not to mention in manhattan for 16 years, it was NOT legal. that’s why wifey and i got married in mass. such a shame, we would’ve loved to have been married there. but, the best thing ever would be if it was across the board…so, fingers crossed.

  2. I love living in a country where my marriage is legal and our rights protected. There is still a very long way to go to end inequality, discrimination, homophobia and hate-crime but at least the law is on our side.

    I hope the US pulls their collective finger out of their federal ass and change the law to give everyone equal rights. It is sad that it is the land of the free, for the hetronormative, white, middle-class, Christian, English speaking people. The rest well…

    1. okay, “collective finger out of their federal ass”??!!! goddermn, i loved that!!! things happen slowly, state by state here, in terms of civil rights. but, i DO think it’s happening. it is just – simply – time for the federal gov’t to step in. and it has in some ways. for example, the obama gov’t has stepped in and refused to enforce DOMA (the defense of marriage act), obama – as you know – has also come out publicly for gay marriage, and the military policy of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ was repealed. these are all steps that i believe indicate it’s coming…so, keep the faith. but, at the same time, the yanks over here must continue the fight… much love, sm

  3. So so so true Sweet Mom…
    unless straight people join hands, fight against inequality will not speed up..
    i totally agree with your “Sometimes a friend has to make another friend STOP and take notice. Sometimes a third party has to step in and unconditionally stop the fight.” totally ..

  4. Love, love, love, love, LOVE this post! ♥
    It’s high time to make equality a reality, Sweet Mommy.
    I 100% agree. It’s also imperative that more heteros
    stand in solidarity for equal rights across
    the board.
    VW ♥

    1. i honestly and firmly believe gay marriage equality can not happen without straight people. so, yep, we have to ‘hands across america’ it on this one, for sure. and it is time. i look at that gay grandpa in his 70s and i wonder if he’ll ever see it happen. i sincerely hope he does. much love, sm

  5. And people–gay or straight–need to use their voices by voting. 53% of Americans say gay marriage should be legal (http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/after-president-obamas-announcement-opposition-to-gay-marriage-hits-record-low/2012/05/22/gIQAlAYRjU_story.html?hpid=z2), so these 53% need to get out and vote when their states come up with gay marriage on the ballots. Remaining silent but supportive won’t keep those discriminating laws from passing.

    1. yes, yes, YES. yes screamed from the hilltops, rubes, that’s exactly what i was trying to say. vote. vote with your heart and mind. that will make the difference and one way or another we’ll get there. xoxoxo, sm

  6. I am all for “the institute of marriage” in whatever form it poses. But as long as you have the Pat Boone’s of the world out there creating havoc amongst us, and not just for gay marriage, we are going to have to battle it out. And there are still those that say it is a matter of choice being gay. Like you have a choice in what color your eyes are. My sister in law is fighting the prejudice and injustice of the “anti-gays” BS. And you are so right to get married not to fit into societies version of ‘Normal” but to feel more a whole you. I couldn’t imagine being without my wife, much as I am sure you couldn’t be without Wifesy. Keep being you and never give up.

    1. mike, that was such a wonderful comment. thank you for leaving it here. and you’re right, we’ll always be figting ignorance in one for or another. sigh. thanks again for the rockin’ comment. xo, sm

  7. We’re doing our best down here in Oz too to make gay marriage legal. Cos it needs to be. Great post, Sweet Mother, as usual.

    I know we’ll tip the balance soon. Love is love, and should be able to be honoured through the binding commitment of a marriage, no matter what your colour, gender or sexual orientation.

    1. it’s not legal in australia??!! i thought for sure it was. bummer. i mean, australia is the land of ‘priscilla queen of the dessert!!!’ i think drag is oz’s number 1 export! or at the very least, number 2. 😉 sm

  8. Bravo. Wanted to share a song written by my high school classmate/lifelong friend, Sam Harris. I’ve shared several of your blogs with him. If you ever get a hankering for show tunes, his shows are always amazing. Enjoy!

    1. sheila, this is a cross between an indigo girls song and something out of ‘hair’ or ‘rent’ the musicals. so, of course, i loved it! all i need is a child to run across the frame after her dog and i’d be bawling, which is to say, it’s awesome. lol. 😉 thanks for leaving it here. xo, sm

  9. I don’t know why anyone gives a penis hat about other people’s private lives. If two women marrying threatens your marriage, then your marriage sucks, and likely anything will cause your marriage to crumble…dominoes? Sure. Maple syrup? Why not. This is a non issue. It should just be. Marriage for everybody goddammit.

    1. is it wrong if i say — ‘people should shove their penis hats right up their gay asses’? and i mean the sentiment for both gays and straights alike. seriously. xo, sm

  10. I’m straight, lived with the father of my children for almost 8 years. I call him my husband because we got married culturally. However, we’re both still single in legal terms because we haven’t gotten “married.”

    I’ve made a choice to stay single until gays are able to marry in California (where I reside). Some think it’s stupid, I use it as a conversation starter for my gay rights advocacy. A typical conversation usually goes like this:

    “Is that your husband?”

    “Yes and no.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “I’m married culturally but not legally.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “It means my partner and I are recognized in our Hmong culture that we’re married, but not in US laws.”

    “Are you ever going to get married to him?”

    “Yes, when gays can get married in California.”

    And that’s when I stand on my podium and give my spill on why gays deserve the same rights as heterosexuals. That’s the least I can do and, of course, vote.

    1. this is so unbelievably awesome, ahmong, i almost don’t know what to say. but, i will say that i am very delighted that people like you exist. it restores my faith in humanity – again and again. much love, mother

  11. It’s hard to say in a few phrases about this subject, but I’m gonna try. First of all, I can’t believe we’re still having this conversation. Two consenting, loving adults in a relationship should be able to get married, period. I think it’s all these labels we put on each other. Homophobes, Christian, Jewish, (insert any religion) black, white, gay, straight – the list goes on. Some homophobes aren’t Christians and some gay people are Christians or whatever religion. The crux of the matter seems to be where people put their down there. I don’t care where you (and I’m saying this is a wide context here) put your down there and it’s none of anyone’s business where I put mine. It’s ridiculous. I think it’s the whole change thing — trying to adapt to a new way of thinking. History shows us how it’s taken decades to resolve these issues and I think the same thing holds true here.

    I do, however, think, that what you focus on becomes your reality. I don’t mean to sound so sound naive or esoteric here, but if you focus on what is — the strides we’ve made toward understanding — instead of what isn’t, equality, decency and intelligent thinking will always, come to fruition. It’s just a matter of time. This generation is more forward-thinking than the last and I know a decade from now, we’ll all be wondering just what all the fuss was all about.

    Anyway, with all the above blather, I agree with what you’re saying, SM and I think it’s just a matter of time until this won’t be an issue anymore. But that’s just my humble opinion. xxoo.

  12. I’m straight, I’ve been married and I know that whether it lasts until ‘death us do part’ or not, marriage is the ultimate /commitment/ between two people. Deny any two people the right to make that commitment and you deny them a part of their humanity. Straight or gay or anything in between, all people should have the right to make that commitment to each other.

  13. So I guess I will have to tell the story of my husband, who sadly comes from a country and background that made him terribly judgmental most especially about homosexuality. I knew this about him when we were dating and it made me uncomfortable, so as our relationship progressed I sat him down and explained some ‘facts’. He was taken aback. Then when he visited me in Atlanta I took him to my two favorites night spots, Burkharts and Backstreet. The test was for him to be nice to my friends and not run screaming. He passed though he was to say the least uncomfortable for a while that night.

    The week President Obama made his historic announcement my husband defended that statement to many of his friends and relatives back in the Bahamas. Members of his church defriended him for his staunch defense of Gay Marriage Rights, for his explanation of the difference between Rite and Right. I was terribly proud of him, he has come a very long way.

    A great many of us have a great deal to learn. But if he can make the leap from where he was 15 years ago so can others. I believe this it just takes some evangelizing (which I have been doing for years now).

  14. Wow. Welcome to the Golden State! It’s nice to hear someone sing its praises once in a while. It has problems galore, but it’s still like no place else. As a new Angeleno, some of the tolerance you’re experiencing must seem very refreshing. However, soon you’ll become climatized, and returning to some of your old stomping grounds may seem like you’ve warped into the town from Footloose.

  15. It’s a pretty fu*ked up world when gay marriage is legal in IOWA but not CALIFORNIA. Perhaps, if you love LA so much, and need some cash assistance, you could find some poor starving male artist to “marry” and claim on your taxes. And then when gay marriage does become legal in CA, you can just divorce him citing irreconcilable differences. The differences being that he has a penis.

  16. Straight as I am, I am all about gays getting married. So don’t take this the wrong way. But even us straights ask each other where we were married. For God’s sake, I was married in Las Vegas, which sounds SOOOO shifty, but I lived there and had no choice. Also, we had been waiting for three years (and one child) for my ex to sign the divorce papers, so as soon as he did, we dashed to the Paris hotel chapel and got hitched. There you have it.

    Regarding the benefits thing: people just suck. I don’t get why straight “Christians” get so bent out of shape for something that had no effect on them. I’d love to tell them to hop on their soapboxes about something that matters to everyone like a national recycling mandate or the fact that polar bears are losing their habitats. Stupid jack-offs.

    Love your posts, Mama.

  17. As a straight couple in California, Todd and I held out from getting legally married for over 10 years. Part protest about gay marriage, part laziness, part we think the current cultural definition of marriage is lame.

    Oh, and part that it was less stressful to have people ask us, “So, when are you two gonna get married?” than the next question in the timeline: “So, when are you two gonna have kids?”!

    Then, a close friend of mine whose husband was going through a second bout with cancer smacked me with harsh reality: that I could be kept from seeing Todd if he wound up in the hospital, and that his mom/dad would have the ultimate say in medical decisions. And that that fact matters.

    So, we got legally married. We had our gay BFF (your bro!) do the actual marrying of us, which he had to register with the city to do. And, we incorporated part of Massachusetts’ gay marriage ruling statement into our vows.

    I don’t know that we changed anyone’s minds about gay marriage that day, since most of our friends and family are already awesomely progressive, but I like to think we made a stand of sorts, even if we had to compromise on our no-marriage-until-equality protest.

  18. I am totally for gay marriage being legalized, but I don’t think it’s something the federal government should be stepping in on. I believe it should be decided state by state, and EVERYONE (straight or gay) should step up within their communities to bring about that change.

  19. Man, am I behind on my reading! I can’t believe this amazing post is a week old and I finally read it. I am in a long term straight relationship, and one of the proudest moments of my life was when Prop 8 was first upheld in the courts and my man and I angrily took to the streets with the rest of Los Angeles and marched and yelled and sang and cried and were wrapped up in solidarity. I have been standing up for this since then, and I agree with you Sweet Mother: it’s about time the rest of the world did too.

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