I’m having trouble with love. Sort-of. Not between Kyle and I. If you take into consideration the fact that we’ve lived in a studio apartment for a month now without slitting each other’s throats, we’re doing wonderfully. No, I’m having trouble with how much trouble other people are having with our love.
It’s something we’ve had to deal with before. Upon first examination, Kyle and I are an…unorthodox match. I’m tall for a woman, and slender, (well, I used to be…shut up!) while Kyle is built like a fire hydrant. He doesn’t seem to notice the holes in his t-shirts or the tattering hems of his pants, and I have trouble going to the grocery store without a put-together outfit, complete with accessories. And I love to go to clubs with day-glo drinks and dance, while Kyle would prefer to go to a dive bar, drink beer and play Big Buck Hunter.
Because of our mis-matched appearance, I’m constantly being asked why I’m with him. Shit, I just joined a website that Kyle administrates and my very presence inspired a 30-post thread on whether I was real or a character Kyle invented. The question is always asked as a joke, but there’s also always a glimmer in the questioner’s eye that tells me that they’re actually pretty curious about the answer.
It’s not the questions that are bothering me, however. They’re harmless, annoying at most, and fabulous on my ego. But since we’ve been here in Wichita, people have been much more…aggressive, shall we say, in their responses to us. (Keep in mind that Kyle and I aren’t incredibly touchy-feely; we’re not afraid of a little pda, but we don’t do that walk-with-your-hand-in-his-butt-pocket thing. We don’t act any differently around, say, my grandmother than we do when we’re at the bar with friends.) If there is the slightest amount of affection between the two of us, there will be vocal, (and snide,) reactions. There will be rolled eyes, joined with a sour face. There will be comparisons of us to a train wreck to the rest of the table. There will be complaints of being “stuck” next to us at a party. Shit, if we even pretend to like each other we’ll get nasty looks. We’ve even had people walk away in the middle of a conversation because they didn’t want to hear us talk about our relationship.
Tell a story about how we tried to strangle each other for the last breakfast bar, however, and they will listen, enraptured. Get Kyle’s attention by calling, “Hey, asshole!” and they’ll laugh. But tell him I love him and give him a quick kiss and it’s, “Christ, do I really have to listen to that?” I’ve never had such adverse and vocal reactions to our relationship before, especially from people who are at the very least, colleagues, and I’m a little baffled by it.
And frankly, it’s starting to piss me off. Sure, most of these people knew Kyle as an engaged bachelor, so seeing him with a wife might be kind-of weird. And to be fair, 90% of the people we work with are completely single, and maybe a little bitter. Okay, maybe very bitter. The theatre industry is not conducive to the married couple, what with the scarcity of jobs and the gypsy lifestyle, so it is teeming with the single and bitter. It makes me wonder if we would be getting these violent reactions if we worked for the same company in a different industry. But whatever their reason, no one has the right to try and make us feel guilty for having found love.
So what are we supposed to do? Are we supposed to try not to touch each other except within the confines of our home? Pretend that we don’t like each other? Feign misery so that our single friends can look at the unhappy married couple and feel better about being single? These ideas seem ridiculous and insulting, not to mention fairly unhealthy for our relationship. Personally I would like to be able to call people out for their selfish and childish behavior, and stand up for our right to express our happiness. But since we like these people, for reasons unknown, we’ll probably just continue to laugh it off, and hope that they’ll eventually stop seeing the weirdness or the jealousy, and start seeing two people who make each other very, very happy.