Calling Rick Santorum

by ruthpennebaker on March 1, 2013 · 16 comments

I have been concerned about that toxic little nerd Rick Santorum for a long time. I mean, is it really good for you to live in a permanent state of Old Testament fury and fiery judgment — especially when the earth is already heating up? I think not.

But I really began to worry when Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and presidential aspirant, began to obsess about how gay marriage is a big threat to his own “normal” marriage.

Good grief. I try to be tolerant and all that. But I do tend to get a bit out of sorts when people go apeshit over others’ lives. Especially others’ intimate lives that don’t involve them, except as looming chimera in their tiny little heads.

All of which brings me to one of my favorite quotes from H.L. Mencken about the definition of puritanism: “The haunting fear that somebody, somewhere, might be happy.” Oh, yeah, somebody else’s happiness. What could possibly be more threatening? Get out the fire hoses, the snarling dogs, the tear gas.

I suppose I’ve become even more sensitized to Santorum and his ilk after moving to a condo two years ago. We’re in a new building, and I think that’s one reason why everybody is so friendly. Sometimes it’s like living in an extremely cushy freshman dorm. People talk and get together, go to movies, wine tastings, cultural events. With a few exceptions, it’s a sociable, cohesive, fascinating group of people.

I don’t pretend to know everybody in the building well, but I do have a fairly decent sense of most of the 50-60 of us who live here full time. Unlike a traditional neighborhood, we don’t meet on our front lawns. Most often, we gather in the lobby or run into one another in the elevator or the mail room or sweating in the gym. Over time, it adds up.

Within this neighborhood, we have singles and couples, married and unmarried. Two of the couples are gay males. In many ways, they’ve been a revelation to me, illuminating some of my own biases.

I don’t think I had any bias toward gay couples, but what I did have was a number of preconceptions about how men of any sexual orientation act in a long-term, committed relationship. Namely, they aren’t terribly romantic; it’s usually the women who want and demand more romance and often end up sulking in disappointment and gorging on chocolate. (See this 2012 Valentine’s Day post for validation).

But the four men who comprise these couples showed me how dimwitted I was. They’re warm and affectionate and loving and, yes, romantic. One of them decorated their door with paper hearts on Valentine’s Day last year. They speak of each other with a tenderness that is lovely. They proclaim their good fortune in having found each other.

“We’ve been together for years — and I’d like to get married,” one of them said recently. “But we’re from Texas, and I don’t want to go to another state to get married. I want to get married here.”

He shrugged and I shrugged, too, since that is currently impossible in a state with a legislature where Rick Santorum would fit in just fine. (I’m not sure whether Texas legislators are more scared of gays or women, but I would say to my gay male friends: Well, at least they’re not passing draconian laws requiring you to get trans-vaginal sonograms.)

But, anyway! Looking at these two couples in our vertical neighborhood, something else occurs to me. Maybe Rick Santorum has a point. Maybe he should be threatened by gay male relationships. These couples are showing up their heterosexual brethren in the romance department. You don’t think women — even poor Mrs. Santorum — won’t be noticing that?

(Copyright 2013 by Ruth Pennebaker)

Just because I still love it so much, please read Just for Today, I am Pat Robertson

 

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brette Sember March 1, 2013 at 11:50 am

Wait, gays are allowed in Texas?

I have never understood how gay marriage could threaten hetero marriage.

I also have to say you show me I am not cut out for condo living. I would be trying to avoid eye contact and going to the gym at off hours just so I could be left alone.

2 bonehead March 1, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Yep, it’s a big ol’ world out there, once you get past the dark ages. You’re born, you’re “raised” and then if you’re lucky you start separating knowledge from bullshit. If you’re not, you just pass on the knowledge/bullshit stew to the next generation. I grew up in Oklahoma and a homosexual was the worst, lowest type of human being there was and you didn’t want to be a friend of one, or god forbid you actually be one, cause you were fair game. Well I met a couple after being “raised” and out in the world. Guess what, they didn’t try to rape me or convert me, they were just good ol’ boys. I’m still trying to separate knowledge from bullshit but I think a little nugget I’ve come across is true, “there’s good ‘uns and bad ‘uns” and it doesn’t matter what ilk they’re from. Feel free to apply that little nugget to left handed people, and all the other kinds of people in the world, it’s amazing how things look after that.

3 Cindy March 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Ruth, God must have sent you to personally punish me for being in a hurry last night and visiting the drive-through at the first fast food place in sight: Chic-Fil-A. Been refusing to go there (with whines coming from the back seat) ever since the exposure of their funding of anti-gay hate groups. Okay, okay, okay. I won’t do it again!

And you are probably right. If there’s a romance-o-meter, I bet gay men rate higher than straights!

4 MerCyn March 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Isn’ t Santorum campaigning for Pope?

5 Irene March 1, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Sad that there is still so much homophobia among political leaders.

6 Sheryl March 1, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Ha! Funny as always, Ruth. I know many gay couples who are totally devoted and sweet with one another. Nice to see. Take that, Rick!

7 Jeremy March 3, 2013 at 10:25 am

Much gratitude to Ruth P, the gifted Geezer with a rapier wit, for re-inflating the rather old-fashioned word “romance” and for her reassurance, that, unlike “marriage” which some insist must be reserved only for those with officially sanctioned lifestyles (apparently due to limited supply), “romance” is happily abundant and free for all to enjoy. A candlelight dinner, beginning with a bubbly toast to the most fabulous of Geezers, seems just right…married or not.

8 Alisa Bowman March 3, 2013 at 8:43 pm

I think Rick is threatened because it’s secretly what he really wants. He’s repressed.

9 Paul March 4, 2013 at 5:16 pm

sweet little double entendre in that title. That is so gay!

10 Roxanne March 4, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Agreed. Some of my gay friends are some of the most romantic people I know. P.S. I love the idea of your new place being somewhat dorm-like.

11 Donna Hull March 4, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Fun post as always. Your condo life sounds fascinating and very much a neighborhood. I have gay friends who treat each other romantically, just like any other couple.

12 Kristen March 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I’m with Donna, your condo community sounds worthy of its own sitcom.

13 merr March 6, 2013 at 10:46 am

I agree with what Irene said. You have a great perspective on things, Ruth.

14 Sally March 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Dear Ruth, 4 words “love reading your blog.” Thank for saying all the things I think and am unable to state.
Sally

15 Alexandra March 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I wish you would do a follow-up post to this one on getting to know condo neighbors.

16 Jane Boursaw March 18, 2013 at 1:41 am

I wonder if Rick Santorum has some latent gay tendencies he’s trying to quell.

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