In every romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz or any other blonde Hollywood starlet the plot line is generally the same: boy meets girl, boy falls madly in love with girl, boy spends the majority of the movie chasing after girl until, at the very end, boy finally manages to get girl.
Now picture the exact same scenario but in queer terms. That has been my dating life for as long as I can remember, except that I have never actually made it as far as that final frame before. However, after years of dating and not actually getting anywhere beyond a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it relationship, I seem to have done the impossible. I got the girl.
I now find myself asking the question I never thought I would be in a position to ask: What happens after the credits roll? This is the question those modern movie fairytales never seem to answer. Supposedly, in Hollywood at least, the thrill of acquiring said girl and all the preceding romance should be enough. Happily ever after is left to our imagination.
In the newness of being part of a couple and getting to know my sweetheart I have realized something quite shocking: It turns out I have no idea what the hell I am doing. I am shocked and slightly appalled at myself. I can’t believe it, especially after all the time I spent lamenting the dearth of dykes who are interested in serious relationships.
The truth is that, at age 29, I have never been in a relationship that’s lasted longer than five minutes. Some would say that’s a very sad relationship resumé. It’s like I have been emotionally bungee jumping without any fear of what could happen if I actually fell.
So far I’ve been able to keep my romantic illusions. All this time I’ve been wanting to be loved and in a committed relationship but at the same time I didn’t want any L-Word style drama, so I’ve been sticking to surface relationships. Real-life is so much more terrifying.
I have never had to answer to anyone else before, to be with anyone longer than I wanted to. I have never had to compromise or negotiate or think about how my actions will affect my girlfriend.
It is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. Apparently I can’t simply flirt with other people. But what’s the harm, really? I’m just being myself. It’s not meant to be serious. I expect that she’ll love and trust me figure out what I mean and what I don’t.
What do you do when what you expect from each other doesn’t match up?
I had an idea of what being part of a couple might be like but, as is often the case, the picture in my head turned out to be quite different from the reality. The reality is that a new relationship is awkward and scary and yet can still be somehow incredible.
This sudden intimacy is shocking to me. I feel more naked in this relationship than I ever have performing burlesque or in any less-serious relationship. But there these breathtaking moments that happen too.
I am terrified of holding her hand or talking about my feelings. The act of cuddling after sex sends me into near panic. When these moments occur I find myself torn between being curiously happy and looking for the nearest exit. (Is it too late to run for the hills? Are there even hills in Toronto?)
I have never really been with anyone long enough to put my emotions at risk. Is this really what people in the bliss of being coupled do? It’s not easy. It takes so much trust to willingly lay yourself open to another person; it is almost a kamikaze mission to offer your heart up to someone who may or may not rip it to shreds. Sure, they may say they won’t but that’s not the kind of promise anyone can really make.
So then how do you keep going when there are no guarantees? I don’t have the foresight to know how or if this relationship will last.
I guess all I can do — all anyone can do — is to take the chance and hope like hell that it doesn’t all go down in a ball of flames. There is no guarantee that I won’t get hurt. Somehow I’ve got to figure out how to be okay with that.
But then again that’s life all over, isn’t it? There is no certainty, only the hope and possibility of growth. The truth is that the second you step out of your house there is the danger of being hurt. I could be hit by a car. I could lose my job. Any number of tragedies could befall me before I have the chance to figure out where my relationship is headed. The act of laying my heart on the line is risky but the payoff is too great not to take the chance.
I know it’s silly but she left her toothbrush at my house and the permanence of that act meant more to me than when we both said I love you.
Now that the movie has ended and the house lights are up I find there is no script. Just the possibility of something and that something is worth the risk.