Leslie Robinson

Same Gender Means Some Problems

Filed By Leslie Robinson | August 16, 2011 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: same-sex couples, same-sex relationships, unanticipated problems

Wardrobe.jpgYou might enter into a same-sex relationship thinking you know all the troubles that lie ahead. Discrimination, rejection by family and friends, spending eternity in hell - none of that is news.

But I'll bet you never considered the bundle of difficulties caused by being in a relationship with someone who's a lot like you. Someone with whom you share everything from chromosomes to conditioner.

Here's an example of what I mean: My partner and I have the same name. Her first name is Anne, which is also my middle name. It took me a while to get comfortable saying her name. I felt like I was calling myself and having attacks of egomania.

Opposite-sex couples can experience this trouble too, of course. A woman named Jordan can marry a man named Jordan, or a Jean can connect with a Gene. But the chances of twin names are much increased with gay couplings.

We all know a Mike and a Mike, or a Sarah and a Sarah. The other day I heard a lesbian couple referred to as "the Rachels." Anyone who's adamant about maintaining individuality might have to rethink this gay thing.

I suppose preventive action is a possibility. A lesbian could legally change her name before starting a relationship, pick a name that no other woman is likely to share. Like Augustina. Or Pittsburgh. Or Cementmixer.

Then there's the issue of clothing. Back when I was in a straight relationship, my boyfriend was too tall and too male to borrow my clothes.

Now, all bets are off.

Anne has borrowed everything from bras to hats. She so covets a shirt of mine she whimpers a little when I wear it. I'll soon know what it means to give someone the shirt off my back.

She and I aren't the same size, nor do we have identical taste. For these reasons, I know my entire wardrobe won't go missing.

But I can imagine what it must be like for, say, a femme couple with similar proportions where one woman is constantly pilfering and the other can never find what she planned to wear. On a morning when the latter can locate nothing to wear to work but pumps and a nightgown, the fur will fly.

I'd be remiss if I didn't note that sometimes it's a boon, clothing-wise, to be in a same-sex couple. You can double your wardrobe. But only if you have like builds and taste. I suppose there are women out there who assess a potential partner for kindness, respect and to-die-for pencil skirts.

Turning to accessories, our friend Susan recently told Anne and me that she has begun carrying a purse again. The problem is, her partner Joyce uses a purse that looks the same. Now each woman can find herself leaving the house with the wrong life.

Straight couples don't have this trouble.

On another subject, while anti-gay activists argue that male and female genitalia were meant to go together, they're ignoring a more compelling biological argument. Two women going through menopause should never live together.

Between us, Anne and I have every menopause symptom going. When she's having a hot flash, I'm too busy obsessing over my weight gain to notice, let alone sympathize. In straight households where the woman is experiencing menopause, it's the man's job to be sympathetic - when he isn't driving his girlfriend around in his new Ferrari.

Anne and I don't get sympathy, but we aren't being cheated on, so I guess it's a wash. Overall, though, I feel it's only right for young people to be alerted to the complications inherent in same-sex relationships. If the prospect of hell doesn't scare twinks, the prospect of sharing hair gel might.

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I once knew straight couples named Tony and Toni, Frances and Francis. Er, not quite the same, is it?

Don't even mention razors. Getting a burning face on fire from a worn out razor breeds plenty of resentment!

So true! My partner and I started sharing her razor to save money on blades but she insists that we have our own designated blades because she supposedly keeps hers so much cleaner than mine. She sweetly labeled each pack of blades with our names. I won't even go into the body wash situation...

This is too funny. I'll just add this:

Shower space, bathroom counter space, closet space. Luckily, we have a big bathroom vanity (half mine, half hers), a dressing area vanity (all mine!), and two huge closets in the dressing area, plus a whole wall of closets in our bedroom. For the shower, we have racks haning from the shower thingy, and two little sets of shelves outside the shower.

My biggest problem seems to be that it takes me a while to remember who's who in a same-sex couple.

Hopefully you mean other ppl's, not your own, lol.

I wish you would be consistent, you title mentions same gender, but then the main no longer mentions gender, but switches to sex. It was confusing. My wife and I, a straight couple, but we do indeed share clothes when they fit, as my gender is female (more correctly part male mostly female) but my sex is male.

I wouldn't have complained except the corporation I work for makes the same mistake, and when they do it, it can result in employees being discriminated against because of the use of gender instead of sex.

To quote:

"Same-sex Domestic Partners
You may cover a “same-sex domestic partner” as an eligible dependent if you are not currently
covering a spouse. A same-sex domestic partner must meet the requirements outlined in the
Company’s Same-sex Domestic Partner Affidavit and other materials that certify that he or she:

? Is the same gender as you;

So if you are a same sex couple but different gender, you cannot get Domestic Partnership benefits.

"My wife and I, a straight couple, but we do indeed share clothes when they fit, as my gender is female (more correctly part male mostly female) but my sex is male."

I know this is getting way OT, but, I am curious about this and would like to understand it better. I hope I don't offend you, I know I am making some assumptions here that are likely very wrong. I apologize if I do, I am not trying to define you, just to understand your perspective.

So, it seems you see your gender and sex as different, and accept that? What are you basing your sex on? (Sorry, I know this is very personal, I understand if you don't want to answer. I wish we had private messaging here.) Are you referring to the sex assigned at birth, or your current anatomy, genetics, or something else entirely? And, along those lines, you define your marriage by your sex rather than your gender?

Sorry to be so nosy, it's just that I have never heard anyone identify this way before, and am very interested!

(Sorry for the derail Leslie!)

Short answer to not hijack the thread - Mostly male body and genes except that I seem to suffer several maladies that 95% female common 5% male common, so my body is telling me it is partly female. Mostly male gender identity except my breasts are too small (a female gender identity on the side). I am extremely uncomfortable in a men's restroom or locker or shower and must have a lockable door on the toilet stall if I am to be able to use the restroom.

It was difficult for me to find a wife as I am like an effeminant gay man except I am not gay. And it was not an act, but was and is an innate part of me that I cannot change. I was a great friend and confidant to many women in my younger days, they telling me about their problems with their boyfriends and husbands and genderal girl talk as well as tupperware parties and such. As a child and teen, ballet, sewing, cooking, laundry were activities I enjoyed doing. Girls and women never found me manly enough.

So I am an effeminant straight male that will mark male for my sex but female for my gender because my gender is somewhere between male and female with it leaning towards the feminine side. I think the younger generation calls this genderqueer.

Thanks, Deanna! You are quite interesting, but as you say, I am sure it makes life very complicated, frustrating, and prolly at times dangerous. I am glad you found someone who appreciates and loves you for who you are. :))

"I think the younger generation calls this genderqueer."


I don't know if you were being funny here, if not, sorry for finding it funny. Just such a droll statement, lol. Yes, I think they do, and that description really pulls it together for me. :)

All the best! :)

And apologies again to Leslie. Really funny post, I laugh every time I think of it. :)

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | August 17, 2011 12:14 PM

Although he commonly goes by "Jerry", my other half's first name is the same as mine: Donald. We go to the same doctors, dentists, you name it, so are constantly having to deal with the voice mail messages that say: "This is a message for Donald reminding you of your appointment with ___________". At least twice in the last 17 years the wrong one of us has showed up in the waiting room. Fortunately since we tend to schedule oour regular appoints close together our service providers just laugh and accomodiate the switch. Ain't same-sex marital bliss grand?

Yeah, just make sure they don't take out the wrong person's gall bladder, lol.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | August 17, 2011 3:32 PM

Gall bladders might not be a problem. Brain surgery, well.......but that would be too much information......and I will leave you guess about which one. (:

Fret not about derailing, Carol--I was curious too. Lucrece and Don, thanks for adding your experiences. They're so good I might have to write another column.

My ex and I are both named Mark. Remarkable isn't it? Pun intended. Though I was a dozen years older, we were both attending the same university at the same time. He a sophomore and me going for my masters.
Clothes were not a big problem, I am 6 ft. He is 5' 8". What gay man wants baggy shirts?
However, the phone calls regarding classes was excruciatingly funny and hard to understand most times. When someone calls and asks if it is Mark and you say yes. Then they talk about a class and you are in that class taught by a different teacher!
Finally, I would just answer the phone by saying, "Older Mark here."

Additionally, a few decades ago, I knew a country-living couple who were the same size. A straight couple. Basically, most of the time she wore denim and cowboy shirts like her husband. Or T-shirts. They said it cut down on the new clothes they had to buy! Different names though.

Aw, you should have answered it something like "Hot Mark here", lol

I'm glad to be in a relationship with Paul. But if he was a George, he'd still be my choice in a man.