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2003-07-06 | 9:32 a.m.

On the 4th, Felony and I went to a BBQ at Frank and Fiona's. There we met a friend of theirs who is a Unitarian minister. Felony immediately commenced to stalking this poor man, to my intense discomfort, leaping into his lap repeatedly, haranguing him to push her in the swing, and otherwise trying to monopolize his attention. Our friend Roger, the artist and libertine, urged me not to correct her behavior, but later Frank said he thought I was right to do so. Anyway, this other fellow, the minister, Troy, was gay and terribly handsome, in a fresh-scrubbed sort of way, but somehow I did not find him as appealing as everyone else did. There was something about him I found off-putting; a quality of smugness or insincerity orI don't know. I can't quite figure it out. Roger confessed immediately that he had a crush on the young minister, and declared―in the man's presence, so like Roger―that Troy must be an adventuresome free-spirited type, meaning like us, because he was a minister who smoked expensive Cuban cigars and drank the whiskey Frank brought for me straight from the bottle (in a showy sort of look-at-me, aren't-I-transgressive? way that I very much disliked). "Ah, but these are all fairly conservative things to do," I said to Roger, thinking of golf courses and frat houses, meeting Troy's Bermuda-blue eyes as I spoke. He smiled winningly, as if to agree with me.

But Frank really wanted me to like him. Later, when we were alone, he asked me what I thought of Troy and I said, I don't know, he's all right I guess, seems a bit of a straight arrow. Frank defended Troy generously from this mild criticism, then dropped a small bomb.

"If Fiona and I ever get married," he said, "I would like him to marry us."

"What?!" I shrieked, immediately abandoning the subject of the dashing Unitarian. "Since when do you talk about getting married?"

I remembered him saying something, only a few weeks before, about the possibility of them having a child. There was a time when both of these suggestions would have met with blanket denials. These two have been together almost twenty years and all along, their position has been the same: not getting married, not having children. Sometimes it was clear that Fiona would have liked to get married, and Frank would have liked to have a child, but the other always remained staunchly opposed.

What the hell was going on?

"You're thinking about getting married! You wouldn't bring it up if you weren't? Since when??"

He said something about Fiona not being a citizen, and how it worried him in this political climate. I said she could just go through the naturalization process, like her sister did, and he said, "Sure, she could, but she's just as hopeless at that kind of bureaucratic busywork as I am." I gave him a skeptical look, thinking to myself that Fiona had actually achieved an enormous amount on the strength of her ability to do paperwork. Then he said something about her parents saying they wanted to help them get a house but assuming they would get married first, a new development from these formerly frosty Singaporean Chinese jet-setters. I missed the rest because I interrupted with, "Yeah, that's what Duff's parents said, too, and we completely ignored it! Which is what you have always advised me to do! You have always been against marriage!"

"No, I haven't" Frank began.

"For yourself you most certainly have! I was always the one who wanted to get married," I laughed, "and you were always the one arguing against it! And now you want to get married and I don't!" This last I said with genuine incredulity, having only just realized it was true in the last few months.

"Well, I'm just giving you fair warning," he said with a smile, rising to go into the house.

So now I'm feeling sour grapes, not wanting my best friend to get married only because I always thought he wouldn't. Even though when I wanted to get married, I encouraged them to get married, because it would have legitimated my longings (and also because Fiona seemed a little sad about it). And Frank discouraged me right back. So now I feel like, Hey, I went along with your idea, back when it was your idea. How can you just switch sides like that? Dammit!

So now I will be the only one among my closest friends who isn't married. I count Stephen because he and Rick would be married if they could; indeed, will be married when they can. And I will support them wholeheartedly when that time comes (actually I have already dreamed about attending their wedding, though in my dream the wedding reception included wild pigs rooting around behind the couches--not sure what that means). And I will support Frank and Fiona, too, because by the time it happens I will have gotten over this feeling of having been left behind. Even if I never do take to that glib Unitarian.

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