Jos76’s Blog

Thoughts and musings on life in a gay marriage.

Archive for January, 2008

Costco is no place for kids

Posted by jos76 on January 30, 2008

In case you have been wondering why the blog title is Jos76, it is because I was born in 1976, when Gerald Ford was president (I just had to look that up. Do you know who was president when you born?) and disco was all the rage (that I knew). If you haven’t done the math yet, I’ll save you some time, I’m currently 31 (as of the writing of this post). This means that last year I had to turn 30. I didn’t see it coming. One day I realized that my 30th birthday was coming up in about four months. I decided that I wouldn’t talk about it much in hopes that no one would realize it. But, wouldn’t you know it, Dac and our families were well aware of my up-coming birthday and wouldn’t let it go by unnoticed.

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It came. I turned 30. Nothing changed. I had already seen my brother turn 30. I attended a few 30th birthday parties prior to my initiation. Dac’s brother and his wife both had big parties and yelled their age from the rooftops. I figured that if they could do it, so could I. I was just not going to gather people to make sure that they knew. I was fine reaching the third decade of my life, but if others wanted to be informed they were going to have to figure it out on their own.

Dac is heading toward his initiation into the third-decade-of-your-life club in a few months and he is not yet sure if he wants to celebrate it or mourn it. We both work full-time professional jobs, pay a mortgage, vacation about once a year, contribute to our retirement funds, and stock-up at Costco. I’m not sure what wild and crazy 20-something lifestyle Dac is trying to hold on to, but I say that we pull him over the line with dignity and grace, whether he wants to come or not.

Jos76

Posted in Family, Friends, Fun, The Past, What's Ahead | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Here’s the church, here’s the steeple…

Posted by jos76 on January 26, 2008

So here’s a phrase that you don’t hear a gay guy say too often…I love my church.  Better yet, here’s a phrase that you don’t hear Christians saying too often…we love our gay members.  Ok, maybe we do hear some churches saying that they love their gay members and all gay people, but it is usually followed by something like..but we hate their sin and their lifestyle.  This is the reputation that most mainline Christians churches have because of the media and many of the current political candidates.

However, this not really the ideology and theology of many Christians churches.  Our church, an Open and Affirmation congregation of the United Church of Christ, is not at all what people might think. To get a better idea, watch this video of a UCC  commercial that aired a few years back to get a better idea:

Dac and I have really found a church home in the UCC.  In our particular congregation, there are about four or five gay and lesbian couples.  Other than that, most of the congregation is made up of many multi-generational familes, including one man who was the first child baptized in the church close to 80 years ago.  It is exciting to be part of a diverse group of people who respect us both individually and as a couple.  

You can search for a congregation in your area on the UCC web site (the link is to the right).  Be sure to look for an Open and Affirming (OnA) congregation as some UCC churches have not elected to follow this theology, though the vast majority has.

Jos76

Posted in Faith, Friends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Who’s Pat? Do I know her?

Posted by jos76 on January 23, 2008

A new sandwich shop recently opened up in my neighborhood. We moved into this neighborhood about three years ago and it is in a “rebuilding” phase. That is why we like to contribute to new businesses that open up occasionally. Some stand the test of time, while others have not. The Big Belly Deli looked promising, so we tried it out one Saturday afternoon.

While waiting for our Roman sandwiches, a man behind the counter (I’m guessing that he is the one after whom the place was named) asked Dac and me, “So, where are you guys watching the game tomorrow?” Dac and I looked at each other and Dac told him that we would not be watching the game. I was proud of him for being honest. I have to say that I usually go along with it in these situations and give the person an answer that he expects or wants to hear. In response to Dac’s answer, Mr. Big Belly said, “Oh, you have to work.” I said that “yes,” we had to work. I lied. Why do I feel that I have to do that.

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The interesting thing is that for Mr. Big Belly, the only possible reason why two 30ish men would not watch “the game” is because they couldn’t because of something like work. And I played right into it and let him believe that this was in fact the case. I am a confident person and I am comfortable with who I am and the life that I lead. Yet, there are still situations in which I feel that I have to play the role that people expect. Honestly, sometimes it’s just easier. Dac is much better at giving an honest, “No, I don’t have to work. I just don’t like football.”

So, I’m working on it. If we let everyone think that there are only professional-sports-loving people in their world, then they will never know. I mean, for the most part we just blend in with the rest of the crowd, except for what we do behind closed doors. If we “choose” a lifestyle that finds us watching reruns of the Golden Girls instead of the Pats game, we should be able to do that. I think that next time, I will tell Mr. Big Belly the truth. I can hear his response now, “That’s fine if that is the lifestyle that you choose as long as you don’t try to force it on me. But hey, I understand…I had an uncle who wasn’t into the Pats, so I’m pretty comfortable with people like you.”

Look at that. I knew that Mr. Big Belly was talking about a football game and I was able to name a team off the top of my head. Dac, on the other hand, is still wondering who Pat is.

Jos76

Posted in Friends, Fun | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

My three sons

Posted by jos76 on January 19, 2008

I truly believe that our healthy gay marriage/relationship/existence has a lot to do with our parents.  Once they clearly expressed their feelings of acceptance, others followed their lead, especially given their respected roles in the family.  I understand that not every gay person has this privilege.  However,  I can’t underestimate how important it has been for us to have parents who take their parenting responsibilities seriously and support Dac and me in our mutually-supportive relationship

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A great example of this came about one day a few years back when I went to meet Dac’s father at his office.  I went into the large engineering firm, went up to the receptionist in the lobby and asked her to call up and let Dac’s dad know that I was there.  She asked who she should say was here. I said, “his son-in-law.”  She called, got his assistant and let him know to pass on the message. 

My father-in-law told me when he came down that his young male assistant said to him, “Your son-in-law is downstairs.  I thought you had three sons.  I didn’t know you had a daughter.”  To which he replied without a second thought, “I don’t have a daughter, but I do have a son-in-law.” 

Another unsuspecting person unwittingly influenced by those who support us the most.  And if the boss says it’s okay, it’s okay.

Jos76

Posted in Family, Friends, The Past | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Raise your right hand and repeat after me.

Posted by jos76 on January 16, 2008

If you read my previous post, you know that my partner, Dac, and I have the same last name.  It is always fun when people find out.  It seems like someone new finds out every day.  I began a new job last month, so I am still enjoying the shock on people’s faces until I get to the part of the story when I tell them that we are certainly not related.  Most people assume that one of us changed our name when we got married.  We always respond the same way to this inquiry, “We both came this way.”

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We were a little concerned when we went to get our marriage license.  We live in Massachusetts so we went about getting the license in the traditional way at the city hall.  We wondered at first how they would treat a gay couple.  No one was alarmed.  Over 4,000 gay couples had been married in the state before us.  But still, a little shock and awe would have been appreciated.  I digress.

Once we were past the initial “we are two men and we want an application for a marriage license,” we were a little concerned with the clerk wondering if we were in fact related (though we could not look more different than one another).  We thought about bringing our birth certificates, but, get this, both of our mothers are named Denise.  So, essentially it would almost prove that we brothers (well, half-brothers because our fathers’ names were different).  We chanced it with nothing but a wish and a hope in tow.

The clerk looked a bit concerned so we made a joke.  She was not amused.  She pulled out a sheet of paper with a list of all of the people that you can’t marry in the state of Massachusetts (brother, sister, mother’s brother, father’s cousin, etc.).  She asked us both to raise our right hands and read it aloud and swear that we were not blood related.  We did.  We waited for the two days (the mandatory waiting period) and got the marriage license.   And then came the wedding preparations…stay tuned!

Jos76

Posted in Family, Fun, The Past | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

I’m gonna need to see some ID.

Posted by jos76 on January 16, 2008

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Remember back in the late 90’s when everyone that had a free email account (yahoo, hotmail, aol) saw all of their information displayed in the recipients email in-box?  I remember seeing the senders full name and various other pieces of information at the top of every email that I received.  Now, we wouldn’t be caught dead providing that type of information at random on the Internet (said Jos76 as he cautiously chose his year of birth to include in his blogname.)

But, had we not been freely given this information, my partner, Dac, and I would not be together today.  I posted a profile on love@aol (remember when we used to access the Internet through aol dial-up?) back in 2000 and Dac responded to it, claiming that he saw that I was Portuguese (and French Canadian) and decided to reply because he is Portuguese as well.  When I received his third email I noticed in the freely-provided information from hotmail that we had the same last name.  “Oh great,” I thought, “just when I meet someone that I really like I find out that he is a cousin or something!”

I mentioned it to Dac and he did not believe me at first.  In fact I had to show him my license on our first date to prove it to him.  No worries.  We are not related.  It turns out that my grandfather had changed his last name when he moved here from the Azores, so though we have the same last name now, we don’t have the same heritage.  Thank God!  What would our children look like?

Jos76

Posted in Fun, The Past | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Dancing with Bigotry

Posted by jos76 on January 16, 2008

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As usual this morning I heard a few remarks on the radio about political candidates who do not support gay marriage.  It’s sad that this has just become part of my morning routine.  After I stop to get my coffee and contribute to the economy and before I get to my job (I’m a teacher), I get to hear my dose of “Marriage is between a man and a woman” and “Gays and lesbians are hurting traditional heterosexual marriage.” 

Then, yesterday, as per usual when I take the train into the city, there was group a teenage boys sitting behind me who must have called each other “gay,” “queer,” “faggot” at least 20 times during the 10 minute ride.  They were unaware of who was on train and did not care.  I’m sure that they would not have made obvious racial comments at the risk of other people on the train confronting them for their ignorance and bigotry. But, everyone heard their homophobic slurs and no one was concerned.

To those of us who live in this reality everyday, it is mind-boggling.  Don’t the political candidates understand how their views and stances influence the public around them.  “If it’s okay for Romney to say that he doesn’t agree with homosexuality, then it must be okay for me to make fun of them and maybe even be violent toward them.”

I’m not typically this politically charged, but I have been hearing parts of Dr. Martin Luther King’s ” I have a Dream” speach a lot lately (with MLK Day coming up in a few days) and his ideal of freedom is on my mind.  I’m sure anti-gay political candidates will take time out to honor Dr. MLK next week and take a stance for what he was working for, then, right after, they will dance around the issue of gay marriage and civil rights.

Ok, that’s my rant for the week.  I promise to be more clever and amusing in the future.  I think Huckabe and Romney are each taking a turn dancing with bigotry tonight on the news, so I have to get going.

Jos76

Posted in Friends, Politics, What's Ahead | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Thoughts on an old Portuguese lady

Posted by jos76 on January 14, 2008

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We all hear differing political views on gay marriage. Most (if not all) Democratic Candidates support some form of Civil Union, where Republicans are quite opposed to any recognition of a same-sex union.

It’s difficult sometimes to be driving to work and listening to the radio and hearing rich white men say that I am not equal to them and thus don’t deserve the same rights, “privileges,” and respect that they do. Unfortunately, they may be the ones to decide this issue for us. Though my partner and I are legally married in Massachusetts, we question if it will ever be recognized federally.

Just when I get a little down in the dumps about what might come about politically I usually get a reality check. Just yesterday, several anniversary cards arrived for me and my partner. As I mentioned in the previous post, we don’t tend to celebrate these milestones, but at times our friends and family do. One of the cards that arrived was from my partner’s 83 year-old traditional (Catholic even) Portuguese grandmother. The card read: “On Your Anniversary…You’ve believed in each other, trusted each other, treasured each other and it’s brought you to another beautiful year shared together in love.”

This from a women who was married for almost 60 years. Her blessing, recognition, acceptance, and respect are what essentially validate our marriage. Now, if we could just get her on the Democratic Ticket (Though like most traditional old Portuguese ladies she probably votes Republican…go figure!).

Jos76

Posted in Faith, Family, The Past, What's Ahead | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »