As we have been out and about, introducing each other and ourselves at one event or another, or when I've been talking about him to friends colleagues, - I've been noticing the labels that people use as shorthand to briefly describe ourselves and our friends, family and relationships.
It's hard to know what to call a committed, cohabitating relationship when you're not Husband or Wife. I've just started calling ABear my bear. It's easier than saying "the man I'm sleeping with." When I first got divorced, my friend Rhet Who Won't Speak to Me, said that the man in my life was confronted with a task rather like the Man with the Yellow Hat in Curious George. Although it's a tacky sort of notion, it wasn't far from wrong, but I wasn't PENolan when he said that because the divorce wasn't final. Technically, I was still Mrs. BuzzKill.
For institutional purposes, specifically getting him on my health insurance, ABear and I are domestic partners. When I'm introducing him to my friends or acquaintances at parties, I call him ABear. At home, I call him ABear too, mostly. It was fun to introduce him as my bear at the Gay Pride Parade last Sunday, that's for sure.
While I've been trying to figure out a vocabulary word for our relationship, I've been having fun telling people that he's a communist. For example, when a woman at work asked me what what he did, I said, "Oh, he's a Communist. He does Communist things." She didn't know how to respond, and neither did a friend's co-worker whom I met at a Canada Day party the other night.
So on this day, Independence Day, which is such a clusterfuck of USery, I'm thinking about the vocabulary we use to describe things since clearly - like Noam Chomsky says - the structures of power are so embedded in our system that they determine the vocabulary we use to discuss all sorts of abstract concepts - like politics, ethics, economics and whatever. Consumerism and Imperialism come immediately to mind on Independence Day, but I'd rather think about Revolution. ABear is off studying Revolutionary Theory, among other things, at with these guys:
Pinko and I have covered a lot of ground since I met him for our first date at Burning Man last year, and now, we're getting ready to go again - this time as a couple. He's heading out to Reno next week to drive a cab because, as he likes to say, "Burning Man doesn't pay for itself," and he never found suitable employment here in the city. It would have been nice if he'd have found a decent job, but by the time he gave up on the DJ idea, it made more sense for him to drive out in Reno. That way, addressing the money issues will have minimal impact on exploring the sexual ones.
I'll join him in mid-August, and we'll head out into the desert together. I'm counting the night the man burns as our anniversary.