Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Gay, Married, Proud

Jane Grassano and Terry Melvin

BENNINGTON -- Two women walked into Fiddlehead at Four Corners today. New faces. Happy faces. Smiling faces. Friendly faces.

Hi, I said. Hi, they said.

The conversation started like most others inside the gallery. Where are you coming from?

Attleboro, Mass. To make it visual in my mind, Jane said "Gillette Stadium."

Ahh, yes, the Patriots.

We talked Patriots and L.A. Rams and how I cry every Sunday during football season because there are no more L.A. Rams -- OK, I don't really cry, but I'm still sad 18 years later -- and then we were knee-deep in conversation that by no means would qualify us for an Algonquin Roundtable but who cares. Jane and Terry and I were chit-chatting.

It was morning in Vermont. It was bright, and it was sunny, and it was a time for conversation, a time to exchange ideas.

A time to just shoot the shit, really.

Jane doesn't love the Patriots and she doesn't love the Red Sox -- mostly because she's not a sports nut -- but by all means she wants New England sports teams to thrive and WIN! because she's a New Englander, by gum, so why not support New England teams?

Jane and Terry were in Vermont for 3 days. First time in Vermont, Jane said. Jane and Terry love Vermont. Today was their final day before heading home to Attleboro, Massachusetts. We talked about art in Vermont and art in New Hampshire.

Art-wise, Jane said, not much difference. Towns? Architecture? Not much difference there, either. Terry said each twin state has its charms and pockets of eye candy.

The real difference between Vermont and New Hampshire, Jane said, is that "you're foodies here in Vermont!" She wasn't dissing New Hampshire cuisine by any stretch of the imagination, but there's something about Vermont's cheese and chocolate and really just the feeling you're eating at home when you eat in Vermont.

Jane and Terry began to walk around the gallery. They bought a colorful Bit O'Whimsey piece that just arrived yesterday. They bought a few other things. As they stood at the counter waiting for me to ring everything up it was Jane, I think, who mentioned that she and Terry were married. I can't remember how we got from Point A to Point Gay, but there was a natural segue. I can't remember what it was because I was busy trying to punch in the right numbers on the credit card machine.

As for Jane saying she and Terry were married, I didn't give it a second thought, but I did think it was cool to be talking to lesbian wives. Or is that lesbian husband and wife? Or lesbian husbands?

Jane and Terry were married in Massachusetts in 2004. They said Gov. Romney acted like a political douchenozzle and tried to resurrect a 90-year-old state law to prevent them from exchanging vows. Didn't quite work but they still don't get to enjoy the same benefits of traditional marriages.

Gays won't have to wait too much longer. Gay marriage will be nothing but a thing soon. America's paradigm continues to shift by the day. We're becoming more and more accepting. New generations of open-minded leaders are stepping into power by the day. Oh, sure, it still might take another 10 to 15 years of pounding the pavement to prove we're all the same. But don't worry, gays, you'll reach your promised land soon enough. It's all a process, a long and painful process, a humiliating process, sure, but a process all the same. Stay strong because marriage equality is within your grasp.

Shit, we have a black president and no one saw that coming this side of 2050. About to have Barack Obama 4 more years. Poor Mitt. But hey, he'll get a few more states than Mondale.

Anyway, I noticed Jane gauging my demeanor as we talked gay talk. She and Jane talk to so many people who play the part, profess to being open-minded about such matters.

But nobody lies to perfection because you can smell a bad bullshitter a mile away, Jane said, and you can always tell what a person feels by their eyes as they talk the talk, especially as they talk the gay talk.

I don't give a shit who gets married. Love is hard enough to find let alone finding a love for the ages to share till eternity. Do we really have nothing else on our plate than deciding who says "I Do" and who gets marriage benefits? We're such a fucked-up country in ways that should have been forgotten long ago. This isn't 1789, or even 1989.

I didn't say all of that aloud, of course.

"We're all the same."

Jane said she felt the sincerity in my words.

Thank god, because for a second I thought she and Terry might give me teh gay.