Saturday, September 30, 2006

Lesbians in Dog Parks

So a few months ago, I was out walking with Mr. Lesbian at our local dog park. Normally, this is something that s/he does solo - I'm more into manicures and Crate and Barrel than dirty dogs in dog parks. However, this was a family outing - me, our fouffy dog and Mr. Lesbian out for a canine jaunt.

As we round the curve in the path, up ahead we see a distinctive lesbian profile - the Braided-tailed Frosted Menopausal Dyke with puppy-sized golden retriever. Unmistakeable plumage (on both of them, I mean). I take a quick look at Mr. Lesbian and mutter under my breath, "Um, do ya think she's a sista?" Mr. Lesbian is oblivious. S/he wouldn't know a lesbian if one poked her in the eye with a smudge stick. Being truly and really a man, she has no gaydar. She has only "best guessing" which is, as we know, nowhere near as reliable as gaydar. Somebody should conduct a clinical trial on that, don't you think?

Anyway, it turns out this woman has a name that sounds like punctuation. (Oh no you don't! I'm not giving out names. The Lesbian Nation is too damn small!) Not only that, but she's cute and she lives and works right near my therapy office. Nobody says the word lesbian, but I for once am not wearing make-up, and the words "Provincetown" are emblazoned in white across the front of my lavender T shirt, worn over my orange cargo pants. I think she knows!

So, this was a fortuitous meeting. Ms. Punctuation and I have had coffee several times since then and get on like a house on fire. Hey, guess what! She's a shaman. Yep, I kid you not. However, all that groovy stuff aside, I like her a lot and have a little crush on her - just a little one because as the title of this blog confirms, I am, indeed, a married lesbian and take those vows seriously (even if I'm not getting enough sex and live with somebody who thinks they have a penis when they don't.)

Ms. Punctuation is funny, entertaining, intelligent and great company and we get along like a house on fire. It occurs to me fairly early on that she would be a great match for my friend, Ms. Acupuncturist, so I ask Ms. Punctuation (goddess, this is getting tedious to keep typing out, so I'll refer to them as Ms. P and Ms. A, okay?) if she's looking for a girlfriend. She is only slightly interested. She explains that the puppy and her business keep her busy, and she doesn't know how she'd fit in a girlfriend. I point out that we all think that and then somehow manage to make room when our genitals start acting up. She agrees and says she would consider it.

Later that week, I'm having a massage by Ms. Massage Therapist, also a lesbian and a friend of mine, and I ask her if by any chance she knows Ms. P. Affirmative. Well, ain't this a small world! I then say, "Don't you think Ms. P and Ms. A would get along great together?" Ms. MT grinds to a halt. "Shit, I already tried to set them up and it didn't work out," she says. She goes on to say that they never met, but had a series of disastrous phone calls. I'm crestfallen, gals. However, I am confirmed in my extremely good taste as Ms. MT agreed with the pairing too. I decide then and there that I intend to pursue this further.

So yesterday, despite a long and very tiring week with a host of new clients in my therapy office, and brain fog due to thinking about moving, I met with Ms. A (are you keeping up with these alphabetical designations?) and told her about the incredible coincidence of me knowing Ms. P and would she consider a second chance. She hummed and hawed and then agreed that yes, she would.

So, it's on folks. I'm off to email Ms. P. Watch this space!

People, people...

I have Sitemeter on this blog, which means that I can sneak around and have a look at who is looking at my blog. It doesn't give me people's email addresses, but I can frequently get their domain, and get a sense of where in the world people are living who read my blog. And sometimes people are clearly web-crawling at work.

This got me to thinking. Don't most places now keep an eye on where employees are spending their time on the internet? And don't most of these companies red-flag certain keywords so that they can tell if employees are looking at sites they shouldn't be looking at?

If you work for a big company or a state-owned organization, say like...oh, I don't know....say the Texas State Comptrollers of Public Accounts at the State of Texas General Services Commission wouldn't you have to be careful about where you were looking online?

Just a question.

(Keep reading, wontcha?)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Important Hair Update

I forgot to mention.

I was in a hurry and grabbed the hairspray.


It was Tinactin for athlete's foot.

Like I's hard to be a lesbian. We can't even tell the hairspray from the foot fungus aerosol!

Upcoming Weekend Malaise

When you aren't getting along with your partner, the weekends can be some kind of torture. On the other hand, the parts in between are wonderful. For example, this past weekend, Mr. Lesbian was called into the office over the weekend because hir project was going live. What this meant to me was uninterrupted time watching my latest Netflix DVD's, ("Wonderfalls"is my latest addiction!), hanging out with my daughter and granddaughter and shooting the shit with friends. No stress. Well, except for the times when Mr. Lesbian is at home. Her stress levels are through the roof at the moment, so she's even less of a joy to be around than usual. I'm hoping that a change of scenery (did I mention that we're moving?), a fresh start (no ghosts?), and fresh country mountain air (um, it's lots of land on top of a big hill) will help. Yes, for any possible therapists who are reading this, I GET that this is somewhat delusional thinking - geographic cures rarely work, despite our best intentions. But it will definitely make me feel better to move. My best friend lives two miles from our new house, as opposed to the 160 miles currently separating us, the nearest big town has a lesbian mayor and more lesbian families, couples and individuals than you can shake an Hitachi wand at and a gay male pastry chef and his boyfriend, both from NYC, are building a cabin just down the road from me. What more could a girl ask for?! A pastry chef, in rural Massachusetts, when the nearest bakery is 20 miles away? (I made sure to introduce myself when we were out signing the purchase and sale a little while ago.)

So the next four weeks worth of weekends will be full of, yes, you guessed it, packing. I'm about to enter that awful phase of moving when everything's in boxes, or should be, and you can't find anything, feel like you don't live one place or another. Welcome to my so-called life for the next few weeks.

Anybody got any packing tips?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Caught by the Short Hairs

I took a big step. It won't seem that big to some of you, but for me it was enormous. I cut my hair short. Leastways I didn't cut it. Fiona at Vidal Sassoon's in Boston cut it. However, it was one small step for lesbiankind, and a step that Mr. Lesbian considered an insult to hir. S/he has a distinct preference for long hair on hir sexual partners. I've put up with my "crowning glory" of blonde curls for many years, until looking in the mirror the other day and suddenly realizing, "Hey, that's not me!" And with several swift swipes of the stylist's scissors, my curls lay on the floor.

Oh how liberating!

Oh how fabulous!

Oh how many products I'm now required to use to keep the aforementioned shorn locks looking spikey and pristine!

Oh how much harder it is to look after short hair, than it is to "wash and wear" long hair!

This is not your mother's short hair - no blue rinse for me, no sirree bob! And you won't see me climbing behind the steering wheel of a powder-blue Buick now (or ever for that matter). However, Paul Mitchell's "Dry Wax" keeps the sides slicked back, and the top poofy and spikey and Dove Flexible hairspray (isn't that an oxymoron?) keeps the hair in place when all faffing has been completed. I can now turn up at Michigan Wimmin's Music Festival and hold my head high! I can open my new "Sinister Wisdom" journal with pride!

My ears now show. This means an additional expense. The multitude of holes in my ears, left earringless for so long, look forelorn and empty of bling. So I had to load up on studs in my ears, which meant a trip to the bling store.

My face, unadorned by golden locks, now looks pale and round. So I've taken to wearing more make-up to compensate. Hey...hang on! This was supposed to make me look more like me, not like some slightly less trailer-trash Nancy Grace!

::::::: sigh:::::::::::

It's harder to be a lesbian than people realize.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Should I stay or should I go?

The majority of my working life is spent working with couples, straight and queer, who are struggling to navigate the complexity of sharing a life with another person. Being part of a couple in my private life makes for interesting challenges professionally. When I'm working with couples who have a similar dynamic to the one between myself and my partner, I have to work extra-hard to see things from the perspective of that client. And, when I go home at night, I often can see things a little more clearly in my own relationship. But the toughest couples for me to work with are the ones in which one partner is undecided about whether to remain in the relationship or to leave. This is where I am in my own relationship. I can't tell whether I should stay or go.

I'm terribly unhappy in my relationship. My partner, Mr. Lesbian, has been very depressed for most of the 8 years we have been together. While she is somebody who normally struggles with high anxiety and is drawn to pessimism like a moth to the flame, she got knocked sideways in 1999 when her partner (henceforth known as The Evil One) of nearly 5 years prevented her from seeing their son - a son they had adopted together from outside the United States. Unfortunately, they had never done a second parent adoption - The Evil One had taken part in a marriage of convenience to allow a gay male friend of hers to bring his boyfriend into the country and she said that it would flag the IRS if they did a second-parent adoption too soon. Mr. Lesbian capitulated, one of several moves that would cost her her beloved son. A protracted legal battle ensued, which cost in excess of $200, 000 and brought both of us into bankruptcy, despite cashing in 401k's and savings accounts to pay for the lawyer's fees. Mr. Lesbian did not get de facto parent standing, and has not seen her son since 2000. And with that, abruptly, the world ground to a halt and our relationship went into a tail spin.

Her behavior has changed so drastically I barely see my wonderful partner from those early days. There are explosions out of the blue. She is continually crabby and withdrawn. She is angry and punitive, with an anxiety so pervasive it feels palpable, like a third person in the relationship with us. Her impatience and irritability, alongside critical judgmentalism are painfully hard to live with. And the painful and almost complete cessation of affectional, sensual, physical, sexual contact, even down to and including hugging, has been almost unbearable.

It wasn't like that in the beginning. She chased me fervently. I found this captivating. She was decisive, wouldn't take no for an answer, and wooed me in a gentlemanly way that I'd never before experienced. She bought me flowers, sent me cards, bought me thoughtful little gifts that made me laugh. She was flirtatious and relentless. I felt beautiful, desired, sexy and womanly. Unlike all the other relationships I had been in, I found her so entertaining, funny, intelligent, sexy and smart that I couldn't get enough of being with her. I spent all my free time with her. We had sex frequently and passionately. There were nights when we didn't get enough sleep, and I would drag myself around exhausted but very happy. The simplest things would be fun. Driving around in her beat-up old car. Sitting having coffee in Harvard Square. Walking around bookshops (she doesn't like to read), flirting constantly. At my house, we would slow dance to soulful music, sit talking for hours about our lives, getting to know each other. We couldn't wait to see each other. I would feel jangly with anticipation of her visits to my house. I would watch her leave from behind the curtains, entranced by her boyish walk, the way her hair would flash around in the wind, her coat flapping from side to side as she semi-swaggered towards her car.

Since 1999, her depression and grief has been deep and protracted. Sorrow is etched on her face with deep lines and grooves. She rarely smiles and is barely capable of performing normal tasks of daily living. Not a person at ease with strong feelings, her response to such grief has been to lock herself away, untouchable and unreachable. The loving, playful camaraderie and delightful, sexy eroticism which suffused our early relationship was gone. In its place was cold, dispassionate callousness and angry blaming vindictiveness. We only had 6 months under our belt when The Evil One stopped Mr Lesbian from seeing her son. And it was just 18 months later that she saw him for the last time. There have been several appeals, all to no avail.

For the first four and a half years I dealt with this change by trying to be reassuring, loving, extra patient and understanding. I supported her through the loss of her son, using up all my vacation time in court, at a time when I was working 50-55 hours per week as director of a big social service agency, was doing a 20 hour a week internship and full-time graduate school. I held her when she cried (which she hates to do.) I patiently waited while she ranted and raved and vented, using me as her whipping boy. I listened for hours to her talk about the case, about the lawyers, her complaints and impatience, her fears and anger. I talked to the guardian ad litem. I took the stand at the hearing and was publicly humiliated in front of our friends and family members. I got up extra early to cook and bake for the legal team on mornings when nobody had time for breakfast, and my home-made muffins and thermos flasks of home-made soups and coffee were the only things keeping us going. I moved to her apartment when I would rather have stayed in my apartment in my own town. I called her unsupportive, homophobic mother regularly to keep her off Mr. Lesbian's back. I visited her mother regularly to keep her sweet. I helped write court documents and opened letters that scared her, (Therapist bills, legal letters and other bills).I put my money into the pot when hers ran out. I cooked dinner every night, despite school work and exhaustion, and I kept the house clean, did the laundry and ironing and, above all else, I put up with days and days of being ignored, snapped at.

I did this for one reason. I hoped that one day my "prince" would come back to me. I have spent hours in therapy trying to decide what to do. My best friend has listened to me agonize for hours over what my next steps should be - and still I stay.

There's a ghost in my house. He is a small, brown skinned boy with glossy black hair and huge black eyes. He sits at the end of the bed and looks mournfully at her while she sleeps. He lies in between us at night, cold and sad. Perched in between us on the couch, on the edge of his seat, his presence is constant and overwhelming. We both know he is there. She will not talk about him, even if I ask. She may have locked him away, but he lives with us still.