Friday, July 4, 2014

Pondering Vocabulary on the Fourth of July

I suppose every couple must reconcile Sex and Money issues. That's three issues, really - issues around sexuality, issues around finances and the way the two influence and have an impact on each other.  How ever you choose to identify the topics, they certainly have been spinning around in the spiritual and romantic alchemy between PENolan and Pinko the Bear as we've been establishing who we are as a components in a couple while we have been concurrently learning more intimately about each other as individuals.

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:
They're hosting an Educational Weekend of Marxist-Lenninst Theory and Practice.  It's all very well and good to talk about revolution, but if it comes to that, somebody better know a bit about what's worked and what hasn't during the revolutions of the past century.  Overall, Pinko holds the opinion that nobody needs to know what dead people had to say about anything to know that things are currently fucked up and there has to be a better way.  Maybe there won't be a horrific crisis due to  Climate Change, for example, that leads to systemic collapse, but even still, knowing a bit about history is useful and makes it easier to participate in the inevitable, endless deconstructions in which enthusiasts and philosophers endlessly indulge.  Anyway, it's where all the cool radicals are hanging out this Fourth of July weekend, and Pinko is nothing if not a cool radical.  When I'm thinking of him in Revolutionary terms, I always call him "Pinko" on account of The Pinko the Bear Show.  Either way, he's a bear, and it's been fun to introduce him to people as add a Communist, although strictly speaking, he's an Anarcho-communist.  I've always been a communist, even though I never self-identified as one.  It kind of goes without saying when you're radical educator as defined by writers like by bell hooks.

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.


Blogger mac said...

Calling him your Bear sounds nice, bears are cool.

My family had strict rules as to not call ones S/O "my Old whatever".But, I have a good friend who has been with his woman for 20 years sans marriage. He refers to her as "The Old Lady" and she, to him, as "the Old Man" . While probably not a good thing in theory, they pull it off in a sweet manner, with no disrespect intended toward the other.

Personally, I don't care, as long as she still call me something other than asshole. ;-)

July 5, 2014 at 2:18 AM  
Blogger Kulkuri said...

When we got together there was a saying going around, "Dirty Old Men Need Love Too" and she would say "Dirty Old Ladies Need Love Too" so she became The Old Lady. She still calls me The SO (for significant other) and I usually say the B is silent.

July 5, 2014 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger ellen abbott said...

I use the word partner, even though we are married and have been for 38 years. I use the word partner because of all the social and power connotations connected to 'husband' and 'wife'. We are partners in this life and in our duties. We are also partners in our income producing work as we both participate in this making of art. Of course, when I use the word partner and he is not beside me, people think I'm gay, but I'd rather they think I'm gay than the minor and subservient character of 'wife'. I do correct the misconception when it comes to my attention though. I don't care if people know I am married or not, especially since I kept my name and don't use his so most people assume that we are not married unless they know better.

July 5, 2014 at 12:36 PM  

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