G r i n d r

Grindr has been something that’s been off my phone for at least three years now. A few weeks back, I decided to put it back on my phone, just to take an innocent peek at what was going on these days on the app. Remember: Communication is key. “I feel like we’re comfortable enough in our relationship and marriage that we can both put Grindr back on our phones.” I’d been thinking about putting the app back on my phone, out of pure boredom, to browse on breaks at work, or just to peer into the scandalous lives of Indy’s thirstiest queens, hungry bears, and the romantic hopefuls who still try to meet honest guys on these hookup apps. Bringing up any and all feelings as they come up has always been a strong suit of mine in relationships, and this was no different. S agreed with my thought, and so here I am.

Back when S and I were only months into our relationship, I’d freak out, and act extremely possessive if I saw the app’s reflection in his glasses. Typical Scorpio behavior – acting absolutely insane, insecure, and powerless at the thought that I may’ve not been the center of his attention at that point. Flash forward to today, where I’m off and on the app a few times a week, pushing Gays in the Life, and striking up conversation with a handful of decent human beings. I have no judgement against people on apps like these. I once was a regular user, and had my share of fun via Grindr’s services, but that time is done. When did I begin to see Grindr as a marketing tool? Oh, how my times have changed. After mentioning I’m married, the follow up inquiries usually consist of the other user wanting to meet the both S and I  – keep in mind my profile picture is just me, and my name on the app is the blog title – or they’ll want to see pictures. “We respectfully decline, but you can read more about our adventures at Gaysinthelife.wordpress.com” is my standard response.
S and I openly talk about the attractiveness of other guys in each other’s presence. It’s not this taboo topic, or fuel for the fire, when we’re both watching a show and one of us says “he’s hot.” We have fun teasing each other in these situations, and enjoy being in a relaxed and mature relationship. “Of course you would think he’s hot…” is a regular, and shared, response when one of us comments on some eye candy.  There’s never a malicious or suspicious tone. We’ve learned each other, and we have fun with that fact. S and I are both regular listeners of Dan Savage’s weekly podcast, Savage Lovecast, and realize that at the end of the day, it’s about that works for us in our situation. I’ve made a couple online friends via Grindr, and make it a point not to frequent the app. My profile says everything it needs to, and one of these days, we’ll actually make it out to a bar or event to grow our gay-friend bubble.  

We’re More Than Friends from School. We’re Married.

The four of us sat in a group at the front of the funeral hall. It was visitation for my husband’s late grandmother, Mae, who’d passed peacefully at her nursing home a few days earlier. The mood was somber, tense, and was haunted by all the happy memories Grandma Mae had left behind. I’d only met her a couple of times, but those moments were enough. “…and this is my husband, Jamal.” There was a power in that introduction, and because of it, I’ll never forget those first few minutes of meeting Grandma Mae. My husband and I had been together almost four years, and I’d never heard anyone from his side of the family refer to me as “husband.”

Time and small talk took a moment, as my husband’s mother and father approached.  “Come meet the kids! You remember David, and his wife Alice…” His mother continued with a smile. “…and our youngest, Stanley, and his friend from school, Jamal.” I smiled, gave a polite nod to the cheerful strangers, and felt phantom burning around my wedding band. I’d come to expect this introduction in any situation that involved meeting friends of my parent-in-laws. In the past I’d let it slide – chalking it up to their old school ways, and not really knowing how to introduce their son’s husband to familiar faces – but this time, the word “friend” really got me thinking.


I wondered why being referred to as “friend” was bothering me now. To villainize my in-laws is not my intention. The number of favors and help they’ve provided my husband and I, is beyond anything I could ever imagine for us in any time of need. Was I being introduced this way as some subtle form of protection? Is the term “husband” one that is uncomfortable for them in uncharted social territory? I still don’t have the answer to those questions, and they’ve haunted my curiosity ever since.

Miffed Auras

It appears that S and I both have tempers. Those of you who know me have figured out that it takes a pretty good amount of nonsense to push me over the edge. We have a WiiU at home, and it is the source of fun and decompression – along with our pup, Reynold – after a long day of work.  I’m not sure if the amount of hours we’ve spent playing Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon is embarrassing or impressive. Yes, the machine actually tracks the amount of hours you play each game, and provides dates and times; in case you wish to deny your gamer status.

We both have gamer rage when something doesn’t go our way during a race or a battle session. “JESUS CHRIST…. COME ON… GOSH” are regular exclamations when we’re both on the couch. I tend to be more of a slow-cooker when I’m getting frustrated with a game, while S will vocally rage during the first minutes of playing. I find this hilarious and I had to think to myself, where has this been? This fiery, competitive, passion that had manifested just a couch cushion away from me had gone unnoticed, by me, for the longest time. Whenever he’s playing a game and I hear outbursts of objection, I quietly chuckle and ask “…are you okay? It’ll be okay.”

Let me apologize to you now if you’re a biking enthusiast, or regular cyclist. It drives me beyond crazy when I get stuck behind someone on a bike, traveling on a one-lane road, and there’s no possible escape. Whenever this happens to me, there are always cars coming in the opposite lane, and I can’t get around the individual on the bike. Apparently it’s a law in Indiana that no bicycles are allowed on the sidewalks. Are you kidding me? I appreciate the fact that these people are out exercising, but jeez! I just want to get home at the end of the day. Are there no other biker friendly routes? My car horn is broken, so there’s not even the slightest bit of a chance that I can angrily honk at the unaware nerve-crusher. I usually scream profanities in the car or send rude Snapchats to my friends to share the annoying moment.

Where does our rage come from? Was it our parents that did this to us, or are we just those people who are instantly set off in these specific situations? After sending my angry snaps to my followers on Snapchat, I laughed at myself. “Wow, is it that serious?” Rushing is usually what gets drivers into accidents, so the fact that I was forced to focus on something other than getting home, was probably a blessing in disguise.  From now on I’m going to make it a point to focus on my zen, and harness the rage. When it comes to S… Well, I’ll just leave that alone for a while. He’s entertaining as all get-out when he’s screaming at the television screen, and teammates who can’t hear him.

Password, please.

I corner S at the refrigerator after he’s changed out of his work clothes, and is on the hunt for a snack. With lips puckered, I bombard his personal bubble with a kiss. “Hiiiiii, how was your day?” Thinking he’s slick, he turns a cheek to my still puckered and eager lips, letting me have a few more quick kisses before attempting to force me out of his face. “Nooooo” is the message he wails as I hold him in strong bear hug.  I laugh and feel him squirm; desperately trying to free himself, and secretly getting a kick out of my attack.  The only way out of my bicep prison, is for him to give me the password.  With lips still pushed out and intruding, I murmur “what’s the password?” He throws his head back – probably reaching his physical contact limit in this moment – he lets his face fall to mine, gives me an I-will-kick-your-ass-if-you-don’t-let-me-go kind of look, and gives me what I’ve compelled.  My grip loosens as I laugh and return to the dishes. He knows the password, and no matter how many times I torture him with belly to belly, chest to chest bear hugs, I get the cheek for more than a handful of attempts. The last kiss is the password, and for now, I’ll leave him alone until we meet under the sheets, and say goodnight.

Minnesota Wrap-Up

A few weeks ago, S and I traveled to Minnesota to visit a great friend of mine.  Whenever I meet up with ST, no matter where we are, it’s like no time has passed. Immediately we picked up right where we left off, and the shenanigans to be had weren’t far behind.  We would party pretty hard in college, being part of Big Ten marching band (Go Hoosiers), so it was no surprise that the liquor store was our first stop on the way to his gorgeous new house.  S and I had been anticipating the trip for a while, and were excited to hang out with ST and RG more. We don’t have very many gay friends in Indianapolis – we could make more of an effort, but we stay tired, and like saving money – so being able to kickback with another young, fun and professional, gay-married couple was an instant highlight for 2015’s itinerary.

None of us were the going out types anymore. ST and I have always been partial to house parties, so we talked about going out to a gay bar, but opted for a brewery tour instead. A good beer, day-drinking and gays are always an instant win; even more so when you get to flex your queen muscles with your clique to ward of the hurt feelings of young queens in your tour group.  Long story short, one guy in the group, clearly gay, made a fool of himself with his overly animated reactions to our tour guide, and we may have laughed and poked some fun at him; all in good fun. Surly Brewing Company turned out to have pretty amazing beer, and the tour was very cool for S and I since we do some home-brewing with friends back home.

Minneapolis is beautiful. It reminded us of a more “hip” Indianapolis, but I definitely understood what ST and RG meant when they explained “Minneapolis wants to be Portland so bad.” They have a point there, but the city was cute and chic nonetheless.  Most of the trip was spent hanging out, playing with their beautiful puppy Daisy – a Rhodesian Ridgeback – drinking, and nerding out with a few rounds of Pandemic. Don’t ask me how we cleared a handle of Kettle One vodka and a handle of Jameson in four days, but we did it. We all felt the pain after doing shots, and realized we had evolved when we were all popping multi-vitamins before passing out, to combat the hangovers that would greet us the following mornings. I don’t know if we thanked them for that tip, but we SO appreciated it. August will mark ten years of ST and I knowing each other, and I’m already looking forward to another visit to Minnesota, a couple’s trip somewhere together, or hosting them in Indianapolis. It was fun boys!

LOVE WON

How amazing was yesterday? It is now legal for my LGBTQ brothers and sisters to get married in ALL, say it again, ALL 50 states. YES!


This is S and I on our wedding day – May 16, 2014. I’m so happy that we can celebrate this victory during the month of PRIDE, and that others can now have a happy-cake-cutting-moment without having to travel outside of their home cities.

I’m so proud of the country. There is still a lot of learning and growing to be done in America when it comes to equality, but this is a giant step. Everyone celebrate. Have a drink or eat some carbs. We did it!

Bonus Material: Cake Update

So the The Last Slice of our wedding cake actually tasted pretty damned good after spending a year in the shadows of our freezer. S didn’t actually have any of it, and I absolutely demolished it after I had a hearty amount of champagne in my system. Maybe he would have had some if I asked again – I think you all are learning that I’m a little impatient – but my drunken-not-wanting-to-cook-anything self said “quit picking at this cake and just finish it. ” The gluten-free, red velvet materpiece was still so soft, moist, and melted in my mouth. I could feel a most devious look forming on my face as I took the last bite, and memories from the day it was given to us played in my memory. I’m not even sure S was looking to eat any of that last slice of cake. It’s been almost a month, and he hasn’t said anything about the thawed dessert’s absence. Oh well! It was delicious.

REYNOLD

For two years now, S and I have known that we would name our puppy Reynold. We were expecting to breed S’s family dog, Petey, last summer, but his female counterpart never came into heat; biology can be so raunchy sounding when it wants. On June 1st, 2015, Petey and Lily’s puppies were born: image1

The goal in breeding Petey and Lily (the pup’s mother) was to get more black and tan Rat Terriers, as you don’t see very many with that color combo. A dog’s first litter tends to be small, so I guessed there would be four puppies total, and S guessed six. S was the winner because five males, and one female were born. So far the wait has been worth it, and we could not have got any luckier with the results. In the litter, there’s one all black female, a black and white male, and the rest are black and tan; exactly what we wanted, AND we get options! Lily is mostly black with some tan and white coloring, but Petey’s look is what we and S’s parent’s were hoping for:

Petey Robinson

I mentioned adopting a puppy this summer if Lily didn’t come into heat, so these puppies are right on  time! I’ve been having puppy fever for a couple years now, so waiting a few more weeks to pick our puppy – we get first pick as a stud fee – and spend some time with him is the hardest thing right now; not to mention every weekend until the weekend we meet him is booked, so there’s no chance of sneaking down early. I can’t wait to meet our first fur child. I’m excited for this new adventure, and I think it’s pretty cool that our first puppy is a direct descendant of S’s family dog. I hate that “rat” is in the name of our dog’s breed, but they really are sweet, clever, cute little things. I consider dogs to be close to the same level as children. If i’m caring for another life, it won’t be a half-assed job, and Reynold will probably be spoiled beyond belief… because of me, BUT he will be trained and have manners (lol); he’s even going to be on a grain-free diet like his daddies. It’ll be fun to see how S and I parent together, but mostly it should be a great time. We’re both really excited about welcoming him into our home, early August, and we cannot wait to share more pictures and entries about our adventures with Sir Reynold in the future.

You Take Out the Trash, and I’ll Do the Dishes.

“Who’s the girl in the relationship?” is a popular inquiry among curious heterosexuals I’ve met in the past. Like a gust of wind, the gender roles within my marriage lean towards societal normativity, but depending on the day will quickly whip in another direction. Society has programmed most of us to think that men and women have specific roles when it comes to households, jobs, and various other avenues of life. I always have to laugh when the questioning of roles within my relationship comes up in conversation, because you’d think that here in the year 2015, that there would be a better sense of freedom within any relationship. Relationships and marriage are both partnerships, and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who did what chores. Views of how a relationship should work will vary, and not everyone will agree. I believe this disagreement is important because not only does it encourage learning, it promotes individual growth that could can potentially be shared with other relationships and marriages.

I’ve always joked that – stereotypically speaking – I’m the woman within my marriage. Pinterest is one of my most used apps on my iPhone, and I’ve known how to crochet since I was twelve. I’ve never liked getting dirty, I enjoy a good outfit, and I absolutely love a good bag. My mouth waters over a good-looking messenger or weekender-styled bag, and sports have never been my thing ever since I could remember. I only learned how football truly worked when I joined marching band at Indiana University – Did I mention I played football one year in high school? Yep, now read back those last couple sentences, and collect that laugh.  Over half of my work experience was spent in retail stores, so I’m cursed with the ability to organize any closet, and I actually enjoy it. Every outfit and accessory has a place, and when things get cluttered my mind nearly explodes; there’s instant stress when I come across clutter in my home. When we moved into our condo, I told my husband not to touch anything that was going to a closet. All the traits I’ve mentioned above – things I love about myself – would typically be matched with the gender labeled “female.”

My husband does not mind getting dirty, and this is a result of growing up on a horse farm.  He had real chores: cleaning horse stalls, moving haystacks, breaking horses – the act of socializing a horse to the point of being able to ride it – and various other farm chores that would make most city kids cry. I believe my husband to be the most handsome man in the world, but his wardrobe can be pretty plain – nothing against the plain and simple types.  It’s easy and refreshing most of the time. He’s a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy, and I love any opportunity to play dress-up with him before going out with friends, or heading out to a dinner. I watched him change the oil on his own car some months back. I ended up retreating to the house, and probably ended up playing on Pinterest, but returned to the garage to find quite the mess. Outside of the dirt and simple manliness that makes up my husband, is his love for Indiana basketball. He can talk college basketball like no one I’ve ever heard before, and gets completely into the games. He’s most emotional during an IU basketball game, and when players from the team make the news because of some coach drama, or team scandal.

While most of these gender role stereotypes are entertaining and fun to identify within any relationship, they’re not the norm anymore.  Sure, back in the day women had their roles, and men had theirs, but in today’s world, you can identify ALL gender roles within a single gay relationship. So what does this say about gender roles in general? Like sexuality, these roles within a relationship are fluid and ever-changing. One person doesn’t have to do one specific chore, or act a certain way because of their sex. For S and I, all that matters is that our condo – and life – isn’t burning down. I imagine this to be a similar and common thought when it comes to other relationships and marriages across the globe. There are plenty of straight, uber-masculine men that can sew, cook, and clean, and a great deal of women who enjoy getting their hands dirty, and who could teach any man a thing or two inside a garage. The traditional views of the inner-workings of a relationship are slowly fading, and my hope is that by acknowledging the fluidity of gender roles – across any type of relationship – we can stop answering a question like “So, who’s the girl in the relationship?”

Burrito Bowls

Do you ever feel like you’re talking to yourself? You get some bright idea, mention that idea, and end up going in a completely different direction by way of his idea. I’d been craving a burrito bowl for quite some time now. In passing, I would bring up the idea for dinner during our weekly grocery shopping together; never sulking or souring if we didn’t get ingredients for the meal. When you’re following a low-carb diet – and we have been for over a year now – it can be hard to keep your eating options fresh and exciting. I retain a subtle want for a burrito bowl because I know I’d never be disappointed with one, and it would mix up my day-to-day eating habits.

I can’t remember the last time we had this favored menu item of mine, and while red meat is zero carbs and high in good fat – perfect for our diet – burgers and steaks get old. “Hey, would you want to make the burrito bowls this weekend?” The inner chubby kid of my past burned more calories exerting a disgustingly thirsty grin at the mention of the desired meal. My craving for this specific meal is well tamed as long as the thought is out of sight, and out of mind. As soon as I hear any mention of a burrito bowl, I immediately want one.  I’m not one to hound anyone over what’s for dinner, but I know I’d made a solid attempt in pitching the idea more than a few times between early October and now.

Pan-seared chicken over cauliflower rice, with chopped onions, crisp spinach, Verde salsa, jalapenos, Pico de Gallo, spicy guacamole, and a dash of shredded Colby Jack cheese. It was the purest form of delicious. What made the meal even better was that he listened. Sure it might have taken him a while – and sure, I could have organized the meal myself, or pressed him more about it – but he came through.  Part of being a significant other is listening to each other, and it’s the little things like unplanned burrito bowls that help remind you that he is listening.