David E. has some interesting commentary today:
From a profile of Gore Vidal in today’s L.A. Times:
“Trimble and Vidal were inseparable for a while, sexually and otherwise, and then fate intervened in the guise of Vidal’s shrill and beautiful mother, Nina, who, concerned about her son’s mediocre grades, transferred Vidal from St. Albans into yet another boarding school, Exeter, near Boston. Vidal saw Trimble one last time, at a dance in 1942, and they fled the hall together briefly, doing what teenagers in love are apt to do, leaving behind Vidal’s fiancée, a young woman named Rosalind. Of course, Vidal never married Rosalind. And Trimble joined the Marines at the height of World War II and was killed in the Battle of Iwo Jima.”
Love the “doing what teenagers in love are apt to do.” It goes on –
“Vidal has written that he never again felt unity with another sexual partner at least, he hasn’t yet. “It’s not something you look for,” he says sharply. “Things happen or they don’t.” He’s been sliding down into the comfort of his armchair during conversation, and now a bit of his midriff peeks between his white button-down and his slacks. He’s dallied with plenty of men, and some women, over the years more than plenty but none, except that first, was of lasting import. His relationship with Auster was platonic; which is exactly why it endured, says Vidal.
“In any country on Earth but the United States, people would understand this,” he says.
Indeed. We (all of us) have all kinds of relationships — long and short, close and far, living and dead. Yet it is the Marriage Imperative that weighs us all down, even when other circumstances explicate themselves in great detail.
As the years go by (and we’re well into our forth decade) it’s become increasingly difficult to describe my relationship with Bill Reed (whose 65th Birthday is being celebrated today in lavish world-wide ceremonies), save to say he is not my “partner.”
Law Firms have partners. We are not a law firm.
The fundamentalist influence in this country over the past 20 years has possibly had uglier residue than its pernicious enforcement of some Marabel Morgan/Phillis Schlafley narrow vision of male/female, lord/helpmate sex-only-within-the-bounds-of-conventional-marriage acceptable relationships but offhand I just can’t think of what it is. Its success at defining anything outside of this as "deviant" has marginalized many different kinds of relationships across the sexual identification spectrum. The freaks have somehow succeeded in defining a culture where the "other" becomes the freak, making the task of engaging in and maintaining a successful relationship — even within the suffocating bounds of their pressure-cooker norm — extraordinarily difficult.
Happy anniversary, David.