Bro­man­tic bliss: Why I’d marry a straight man

GA Voice - - Best Bets Events - By RYAN LEE

I some­times see my­self mar­ry­ing a straight man. My col­lege room­mate was the first het­ero­sex­ual to broach the pos­si­bil­ity of mat­ri­mony with me, and he had a girl­friend at the time.

Af­ter six months of liv­ing to­gether and speak­ing no more than a dozen words to each other, he in­vited me to smoke weed with him (my first time), and through those clouds emerged two-and-a-half years of brother­hood; of con­ver­sa­tions teem­ing with hu­mor, of the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of de­vo­tion; of trips home to­gether for the hol­i­days; and tears re­cip­ro­cated over our re­spec­tive fam­i­lies’ strug­gles.

There was zero sex­ual de­sire be­tween us, and maybe that’s why he once felt com­fort­able volunteering some­thing along the lines of, “Dude, if be­ing mar­ried meant some­thing like this ev­ery day for the rest of my life—this fun, this easy—I’d marry you.”

It was a fan­ci­ful pro­posal in 2002, be­fore same-sex mar­riage was enough of a con­cept to be out­lawed in state con­sti­tu­tions, but the idea feels prac­ti­cal and ap­peal­ing to­day. It seems that in­ti­macy be­comes more im­por­tant than (if not an en­tire re­place­ment for) sex within months of many re­la­tion­ships, while sex is the ruin of count­less oth­ers—ei­ther not hav­ing enough, or hav­ing too much with other peo­ple.

As some­one who seeks a lov­ing, solid bond with another per­son out­side of monogamy, my ideal spouse could be some­one with whom there is no ex­pec­ta­tion of sex—a straight, les­bian or trans woman, a gay man who tends to en­joy sim­i­lar sex­ual po­si­tions. It doesn’t have to be a straight man, but since I have two can­di­dates in mind, let’s play with that.

One of my fa­vorite mu­si­cal themes is ex­ag­ger­ated crushes, where the most fleet­ing in­ter­ac­tions launch life­long pos­si­bil­i­ties: Madonna’s “Beau­ti­ful Stranger,” Alicia Keys’s “You Don’t Know My Name,” and “Ex­cuse Me Miss,” by Jay Z. Dis­tant ad­mirer is a role I en­joy play­ing; it’s harder to find fault in a po­ten­tial part­ner the less you know about them.

Two days of de­li­cious ban­ter with a guy at a res­tau­rant filled my stom­ach with but­ter­flies, to the point that I felt guilty cheat­ing on my MARTA boo, another po­ten­tial hus­band “All I de­sire is an in­ti­mate, sex­less part­ner­ship with some­one whose com­pany makes the days more en­joy­able—which sounds a lot like mar­riage, ex­cept we wouldn’t be jeal­ous of the other peo­ple we fuck.” who barely knows I ex­ist. My MARTA boo and I ride the same bus most morn­ings, and it’s pos­i­tively adora ble how we get off “to­gether” be­fore split­ting away to­ward our jobs.

I as­sume he en­joys our five-sec­ond ren­dezvous as much as I do, oth­er­wise he could get off at a dif­fer­ent stop and walk a few ex­tra blocks to work. I re­spect the het­ero­sex­u­al­ity of both men and in­ter­course isn’t the des­ti­na­tion of my fan­tasies, but my morn­ings are a lit­tle heav­ier when my boo and I aren’t on the same bus, and my stom­ach growls at the thought of a pri­vate meal with my res­tau­rant crush.

All I de­sire is an in­ti­mate, sex­less part­ner­ship with some­one whose com­pany makes the days more en­joy­able—which sounds a lot like mar­riage, ex­cept we wouldn’t be jeal­ous of the other peo­ple we fuck. I some­times feel guilty about these amorous feel­ings I have to­ward un­wit­ting straight men, un­til I sit in a bar­ber shop, on a train, at a sport­ing event or any­where else two or more men are gath­ered to vi­o­late women’s bod­ies with their gazes and imag­i­na­tions.

And then some­times the ob­ject of my crush flat­ters me by show­ing ap­pre­ci­a­tion for my naive at­trac­tion. I once worked with a straight guy who ev­ery­one, fol­low­ing my lead, called my boo, much to his dis­plea­sure. One day I walked into work with­out re­al­iz­ing that my boo had been ar­gu­ing with another co-worker, who also hap­pened to be a straight dude. “Hey boo,” I said upon en­ter­ing. “Hey buddy,” my co-worker said. “Um, he wasn’t talk­ing to you,” cor­rected my boo, as he smiled at me and winked.

Ryan Lee is an At­lanta writer.

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