So often others ask those in a same sex relationship the oh so familiar question, “So, who’s the girl?”. It seems like those who are not homosexual tend to have a hard time understanding that heterosexual gender roles cannot be placed on a same sex relationships.
The other day while I was at the office, a co-worker came up to me and asked me “so, who’s the bride?” My partner and I recently announced our engagement so she asked, what she thought, was a valid question. At first I looked at her not knowing how to respond. I mean, obviously we are both men, therefore we would both be grooms. After thinking for a moment I realized what she meant by her question. What she was really asking was “so, who’s the more feminine one?” In her mind, it was completely impossible to imagine a relationship between two people without the sociological “norm” of man/woman.
I gave her a quick answer of neither. Neither Darren nor I are “the bride”. To speak literally, we are both men who will be wearing tuxes. Neither of us will be or even considered wearing a bridal gown.
After giving her a quick answer, I thought a little deeper in what she really meant. Over several years, many different people have asked me this question or made implications to what “role” I may have filled in certain relationships I have been in. These are some of the sociological “guidelines” I have observed and have been placed in –
If you do the following, society views you as the “female” in the relationship –
-cook, clean, shop, anything domestic, dress well or well groomed
If you do the following, society views you as the “man” in the relationship –
-like or play sports, messy, not well groomed, handy with fixing things or with the use of tools
Personally, I think assigned gender roles like the ones listed above are horribly outdated. Whether they are assigned to heterosexual relationships or homosexual relationships, they are completely outdated. Take Darren and I as an example. It is almost impossible to place societal gender roles on us. He loves sports and plays softball every summer but he also loves to cook and bake. I love to fix things and am a little messy (that is totally subjective though) but I also don’t mind doing the dishes or the laundry, domestic activities. Then when you take into condensation that he and I are well groomed and always (try) to appear well dressed, it is obvious to see that gender roles, as my co-worker was trying to place on us, do not work.
In this day and age, you can not place gender roles on same sex relationships, nor should you place gender roles on any relationship. There is so much diversity among people that should be acknowledged . Neither Darren nor I are “the bride”, we are simply ourselves and that includes being men. I say we are men not based on any activity that we enjoy, but that is simply who we are physically. People should be taken as who they are, not the role that society tries and places on them, gay or straight.