Liesl and Me
Scott Talbot Evans
© Copyright 2021 by Scott Talbot Evans
Photo by Farrinni on Unsplash
I consider us to be engaged because we are promised to each other in marriage. When and if we actually tie the knot is a separate issue.
Liesl doesn’t agree. She argues that engaged implies a specific wedding date. You’re engaged…to be married. That’s the whole point. If there’s no date, then you’re not engaged.
I feel the date can be in the indefinite future. Maybe even never. It doesn’t matter. What’s important is that we are committed to each other. We can remain engaged ad infinitum, or even ad nauseum, whichever comes first.
We quibble over small details like this endlessly, so in that sense we already are married.
So why not just do the deed? Because we’re both on Social Security, and if we got married, she would lose significant benefits.
Maybe one day, if I win the lottery, we will be able to get hitched. But since I don’t play the lottery, that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon.
But that’s fine. I actually think we’re better off just staying as we are. We love each other. We appreciate each other. We are committed to each other. Why spoil all that by getting married?
So that we can make it legal? Oh, please. What good is legal? Slavery was legal. Lobbying Congress is legal.
So that people won’t think we’re living in sin? First of all, we can’t be living in sin, because we don’t live together. Second, people are going to curse and spit upon you no matter what you do, so you might as well live in sin. Or at least do what you believe to be right. Either one is good.
Our relationship is stronger because we don’t live together and we have separate bank accounts. We see each other when we want to, not because we are legally bound. The only thing tying us together is love. And it shows. After twelve years we still hold hands when we walk. We also hold hands at the movies and across the table when sitting at a restaurant. What would you call us--honeymooners?
We’re definitely a couple. The question is: a couple of what?
Some people refer to Liesl as my wife. This tickles me, because it shows that we are kind of married, in terms of love. But not legally married, which is a binding business contract governing the division of assets and has nothing to do with affection.
Having separate bank accounts and separate apartments makes our relationship stronger. It gives us clear boundaries and gives us a neutral corner to retreat to when the bell rings.
We could call ourselves partners, but that’s no good, because we’re not gay. Some would argue that partners aren’t necessarily gay. It’s just a politically correct, nonthreatening way of avoiding sexual orientation labels. But since straight couples never call themselves partners, it pretty much means gay-married. Which is fabulous if you’re gay, but we’re not.
Although we probably could pass for a couple of lesbians if we had to. I run on the sensitive end of the male spectrum. Plus we’re both artists, so we also dress funny. I’ve been know to wear girls’ jeans. To which I say, “Who cares? Pants don’t have vaginas.” I’ve also been know to wear a touch too many bright colors in my outfits, and you know what that means.
I’m not sure what situation could arise where we would have to pass as lesbians. Perhaps we’re at a Dykes on Bikes rally and a riot breaks out.
We could call each other soul-mates, but that’s kind of creepy. What are we, dead? Disembodied spirits?
Sometimes I slip and call her my girlfriend, which is cool, because it shows that I think of her as fun and free-spirited. The problem is girlfriend connotes temporary status, which does not give our relationship the proper gravitas that it deserves.
One could argue that if you divorce your wife, she was never your wife. She was your girlfriend.
We could say we’re going steady, which is cute, except that we’re not in junior high school. But it’s not bad. We are going steady. Steady is good. Of course the Buddhists will chime in that nothing in life is steady. So there goes that one.
We could call ourselves lovers, but that would imply lotions and gymnastic positions. That’s just hotdogging.
On Facebook one has the option of saying, “it’s complicated.” This is pretty good. Relationships are complicated. I like this because it is the anti-answer. It says that I refuse to place myself in a box. The trouble is complicated kind of sounds like the situation is difficult, which of course relationships are, but you never want to admit it publicly.
When people ask, I could just say, “None of your business.” I don’t owe anyone an explanation. But I guess it’s normal for people to ask. It’s called civil conversation. Maybe the real issue is my own insecurity. I was never good at this whole talking to people thing.
The truth is there really isn’t a good word for what we are.
I think the best response of all, when people ask what our relationship is, is to just throw up my hands and shrug.