You are a smart bunch of critters, so let's start the week off with a mind exercise to give those brains (and possibly those hearts) of yours a stretch.
Imagine someone tells you you can't have something. It's an ordinary something that is generally available and widely thought to be good. Let's say it's ice cream.
Now, you're not told you can't have ice cream because you are lactose-intolerant or diabetic or anything else that would make eating ice cream hazardous to your health. You are told you can't eat it because you don't deserve it. You are not good enough for ice cream. Indeed, you are so unfit for ice cream that the mere thought of your tasting it poses a threat to the goodness of ice cream. Stay away, the Committee to Protect the Deliciousness of Ice Cream screams, or the rest of us won't be able to enjoy ice cream anymore!
How do you react to this bizarre prohibition, when you live in a world in which the vast majority of people are committed eaters of ice cream? The mature and reasonable response is of course to become an equally committed hater of ice cream. Yuck, you sneer every time you pass a crowded Baskin-Robbins, ice cream is horrible, and the people who eat it are fools! They are dupes of the ice cream industrial complex! I wouldn't eat ice cream if it were the last food on earth!
Time passes -- more than a quarter century, let us say -- and you construct a perfectly satisfying life that involves no ice cream whatsoever.
And then one day, suddenly and without warning, you are told that you can eat ice cream after all. (Well, you can't eat it everywhere, but you can eat it in your own state, although you have to purchase it in another state. Or district.) What flavor would you like? says the friendly young woman behind the counter. How many scoops? What do you say? What do you do? What do you want, and how is the condition of your wanting or not wanting changed by the lifting of the prohibition? It is, after all, one thing to say you don't want ice cream when you are legally prevented from having it, quite another to step up to the counter, take a close look at all thirty-one flavors, and then say, "Thanks, but I think I will stick with the cheesecake. It's really delicious." Or perhaps you say, "By golly, I would like a triple scoop of butter pecan with hot fudge sauce and a cherry on top. And sprinkles, please, a whole bunch of rainbow-colored sprinkles."
What do you do? You pause. You consult your heart. You consult your partner in a life full of cheesecake. Perhaps you consult your doctor to find out if there are risks or benefits associated with an abrupt shift to a diet that includes ice cream, especially if you become dependent on it before you can have it everywhere. You look back with a sense of awe at twenty-six years of sweetness without ice cream. You smile, thinking of the one who made it possible and all the friends and relations and critters who shared in the sweetness and offered their own delicious recipes for cheesecake and other yummy treats. You raise a glass of something bubbly and try to imagine the next twenty-six years. You chuckle, pondering the phrase, just des(s)erts.
And because you are musically inclined, you are reminded of a song, a song you have always loved, sung by one of the sweetest voices on dog's earth, a song which you have only now gotten around to realizing is a song about the desirability or non-desirability of state-sanctioned ice cream:
Happy International Women's Day and Happy Anniversary to Moose and Goose! Thanks to all of you for being a part of the fun. Have a bite of something sweet today to celebrate the many forms of love and its stubborn, amazing persistence. Peace out.
(See also "Twenty-Five Years of Queer Delight" and "Twenty-Four Years of Queer Delight" [in which I interview the moms on the secrets to the success of their partnership].)