Extended family / Family

My Gay Husband

IMG_1539[1]Back in August, I came home one day to find my gay husband on my back deck, sweaty and intense, his arms elbows deep inside my … barbecue. What did you think I was going to say, gutter mind?

My gay husband, whose actual name is Rob, was deep-cleaning the barbecue. That’s one of his jobs, as was assembling the barbecue. He also washes dishes, makes lattes, occasionally batch-cooks vast quantities of stew or gazpacho (depending on the season), acts as our in-house tech troubleshooter, and holds the ladder while I clean out the eavestroughs. (He holds the ladder with one hand, while in the other, he manages to balance a latte and browse Grindr on his phone.)

Oh, and Rob babysits. Although, technically, given that he is my children’s third parent and their biological father, I’m not sure that the term “babysitting” is exactly accurate. Let’s just say that he participates actively in childcare to the extent that he can. This means that when he is in town, he hangs out with the kids on many an evening so that my gay wife (whose actual name is Rachel) and I can go out together, or get to the gym, or to the grocery store, or what have you. He also stays with the kids for a week each year while Rachel and I take a much-needed vacation-without-children. This year, Rob went a step further: he took our two sons away for a week to visit his mom and brother and extended family in British Columbia, leaving Rachel and me alone and giddy and slightly unsettled in our own house.

All in all, it’s quite a good arrangement. Personally, I think that all you households without gay husbands might be justified in being just a tiny bit wracked with jealousy. To fuel that jealousy, I snapped a picture of Rob cleaning my barbecue and — obviously — posted it on Facebook, with the caption “My gay husband is better than your gay husband.”

The response was immediate, and fairly charged, and consisted of:

1. Envy and longing from my friends without gay husbands (“I wish I had a gay husband. Let me know if you find any spares.” “Desperately seeking a gay husband.”)
2. Disbelief from Rob’s friends and former roommates who can’t imagine him ever cleaning out anyone’s barbecue (“And you wouldn’t even close a cupboard door for me.” “This is an impressive sight — I’ve always imagined him having to be swaddled and fed.”)
3. Somewhat salacious comments on just how adorable my gay husband is (“HOT.” “He’s cute.” “ELBOWS DEEP.” “Double hot.”)
4. Protests/smackdowns/smug confirmation from my friends who actually have gay husbands of their own and claim that they are at least as good if not better than mine:

  • “Maybe. But I have two gay husbands. So there.”
  • “I beg to differ. [My gay husband] also cleans barbecues. And poo. And vomit. But jokes aside, these gay hubbies are amazing…the opportunities for self-congratulation are endless really!”
  • “So, I read your post to my gay husband, who was taking care of my kids all day today, by the way, and he exclaimed, ‘Bitch, please!’ I think he ran outside to clean our gutters.”

Whatever.

I don’t really have a point here, nothing about how non-traditional and diverse family structures often have all kinds of tangible and intangible benefits. I can’t really say anything that hasn’t been said before about how it’s so much easier to function as a parent with lots of help from a steady stream of other caring adults, and that any two parents who have another dedicated adult on hand are infinitely blessed. Or about how my family’s life is immeasurably enriched because of our (mostly) unquestioned membership in a variety of clans, and how we get to model flexibility and diversity and creativity when it comes to running a household and caring for children.

Mostly, I just want to revel in my so-clean-you-could-eat-off-it (not that we didn’t already) barbecue, and thank my lucky stars for the guy on my back deck who made it so.

FEATURE PHOTO CREDIT: SUSAN GOLDBERG

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