Monday, January 23, 2006

Tug of War

My boyfriend and I are currently embroiled in a silent clash of wills, an intense battle on the position of the two vases in our bathroom window. I move the vases, he moves them back. This has been happening for the past two weeks, neither of us mentioning a word to each other.

We had just bought the vases from Pier One, on a fabulous after-Christmas sale. I almost creamed in my pants then, but I thought if I waited, I could do it in my boyfriend's face instead. I ran through the store grabbing everything that was marked down 40% or more.

I mean, decorating is what defines gay people. I once broke up with a guy because I couldn't stand his apartment. The guy was pounding me from behind. I should be enjoying myself but all I could think about was how bad the sponge-painting was, especially right where my face was pressed against the wall; the sponging was too far apart. If one were planning to skimp on paint, I suggest that one shouldn't attempt any of the faux finish techniques. The results are just too pathetic and cruel.

I am a slave to decorating. I so enslaved, the Thirteenth Amendment couldn't set me free.

Once, in a fit of self-loathing, I decided to check out the Ex-Gay ministry, which is a group of people who claim that they have successfully de-gayed themselves and are now living "normal" lives. I went through a month of intense prayer. As I knelt down and bowed my head, it made me think. This feels strange, to be in this position and not have a gloryhole in front of me.

I became introspective. What I found when I was looking inside myself was not pretty: there was a ball of lint inside my belly button. How long has that been in there? The introspection made me really think about life. I found that I was vain and incredibly self-absorbed. I made a promise to myself that when I got out, I would change my life. I would start by getting plastic surgery on my belly button. I never realized how ugly my semi-outie was.

A month later, I was out. I felt changed, free.

However, that night, as I was preparing the garnish on my coq au vin, I realized--waitaminute--I'm still gay! That was garnish in my hands! Watercress! There were scented candles burning! Even if I didn't have sex with another man ever, I'M STILL GAY. I realized then, if Jesus wanted them to be straight, he would have taken away my power to carve a carrot into a flower; remove my ability to artfully arrange fruit in a bowl; suppress my desire to redecorate when I walk into a room.

Yep, decorating's in our blood. Our lesbian sisters are probably content to put up a movie poster of Bound or Ani DiFranco records or frame the license plate of their first pick-up truck and be done with it. I am jealous of their ability to use a kitty condo to decorate any space.

And we know who's in charge in married couples. When they move in together, women keep their men in thrall using sex. It is quite awhile before the men realize half of their shit's gone. The men wake up one day and ask their wives, "where's that little [atrocious piece of furniture] that I used to have?" "Oh, it's in storage." What she really means is that it's permanently stored in a landfill.

But for gay couples, decorating is a constant tug-of-war, especially if you have different tastes. There are just so many possibilities, so many aesthetic directions and only one living room to express it in. One must bend to the other's will or there will be a hissy fit of incredible magnitude.

And those gays in three-way leather relationships, or as I call it, Two Men and a Free Housekeeper--they're doomed. I'd like to be a fly in the wall when the houseboy/love slave/bootlicker, decides that he's sick of just dusting and paints the dungeon a nice, sunny bright yellow. There will be massive hair-pulling.

It's no different with me and my boyfriend. Every time I go into the bathroom, I notice that the two vases sitting on the window sill have moved. The change is very subtle, you wouldn't notice it unless you've been scrutinizing them for the past week. These vases have no practical purpose, there's no reason for them to move. It's not like we're talking about my penis pump.

My boyfriend likes the vases side-by-side, symmetrically placed. I prefer them to be slightly overlapping each other, like valentine hearts, chopsticks or Siamese twins.

Yesterday, when I walked into the bathroom, I noticed that the vases have moved yet again. Fine, I thought, you win. Even though I'm not happy with it, I left the vases unmoved. I figured, I'm in a relationship. I really should pick my battles.

As I sat there taking a shit, I noticed the three blue jars lined up in a row on top of the linen closet. I thought it would look better if I moved the two of them closer together and the third slightly apart, like a guy cruising a gay couple for a three-way. Even though I wasn't finished shitting yet, I stood up and moved the jars.

Game on, I thought. Game on.

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