Alfred Kinsey believed that human sexuality could be charted on a scale of 0 to 6, with 0 being “Exclusively heterosexual” and 6 being “Exclusively homosexual.” Owing to changing cultural boundaries and advanced research, Kinsey’s scale has recently been expanded:
0. So heterosexual that you think all other heterosexuals should be shot, because they seem a little gay.
1. So heterosexual that when a tax return or a loan application asks your gender you reply, “Straight.”
2. So heterosexual that the thought of two people of the same sex having intercourse doesn’t disgust you; it confuses you—“Wait a minute, if they’re both girls, which one falls asleep immediately afterward while the other one keeps babbling about her day?”
3. So heterosexual that when you go to see “Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway” you can’t understand why he doesn’t just use his steel Wolverine claws to kill his backup dancers.
4. Heterosexual, yet still able to read the Times’ Arts & Leisure section without asking, “Who are Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin? School-board members from Staten Island?”
5. Heterosexual, but still willing to understand, at least theoretically, why two women having sex aren’t just practicing until their husbands get back from their golf date.
6. Heterosexual, yet still able to wear colors other than brown, olive green, and navy blue (but never pink or yellow, because you’re not some goddam circus clown).
7. Heterosexual, but sometimes fantasizes about bathing.
8. Heterosexual, but once, at college, glimpsed a roommate naked and thought, If everyone else in the world were dead, I would have sex with that person, as long as we both kept saying, “But everyone else is still dead, right?”
9. Heterosexual, but once, while serving in the military, made love with a same-sex partner, and afterward said either “I was so drunk,” “Wait—does that count as sex?,” or “Whoa. At least now I can check that off my bucket list, along with hot-air ballooning.”
10. Heterosexual, but during sex with one’s spouse often pictures the spouse with different genitalia sprouting from his or her forehead. This is not to be confused with imagining your spouse’s forehead as a place to hold keys, or to hang up your windbreaker.
11. Heterosexual, but while on business trips will frequently have intercourse with same-sex partners, primarily because they know the best local restaurants.
12. You identify as bisexual because you think it will double your chances of getting a date for Saturday night.
13. You identify as bisexual because you think it sounds French.
14. So bisexual that you fantasize not only about both Brad and Angelina but also about Regis and Kelly.
15. So bisexual that you get Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin confused.
16. Almost too bisexual, because you keep approaching straight married couples on the subway and murmuring, “The answer is yes.”
17. Homosexual, but occasionally attracted to the opposite gender, just to get your mom’s hopes up.
18. Homosexual, but willing to look at a member of the opposite sex without howling, “Dear God in Heaven, what is that?”
19. Homosexual, but sometimes still fantasizes about kissing someone of the opposite sex, as an item on a scavenger hunt.
20. Homosexual, but willing to speak to heterosexuals without muttering, under your breath, “Have you ever even been to a museum?”
21. So homosexual that both partners can achieve orgasm just by debating dream casting for the next revival of “Follies.”
22. So homosexual that you refer to you and your partner’s genitalia as “matchy-matchy.”
23. So exclusively homosexual that you made an “It Gets Better” video aimed at kids who were raised in homes without stacks of coffee-table books.
24. So overwhelmingly homosexual that you dream that Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin are your birth parents.
I keep getting asked what married life is like or how married life is going as if I underwent some magical transformation at 5pm on October 23 and I woke up as a new species, a new life form, on October 24: Wife.
My response is always: it's exactly the same, nothing has changed.
And in a way, that's true. But really I only respond that way because I don't know how else to answer and I don't think people are really expecting an answer beyond "fantastic" or "wonderful." So I answer the same way every time I'm asked.
It's exactly the same. Nothing's changed.
And really, the day to day stuff has not changed at all. That comes with territory though and has nothing to do with marriage or our marriage. When you date someone for 6.5 years and live with them for 3.5, there's not much that changes once you put a title on the relationship.
However I'm still lying when I say nothing has changed. I have changed. Nick has changed. My name has changed.
My name has changed. I didn't think this would be such a big deal to me and I still don't feel it is that much of a big to-do but I do feel the change intimately. I never was really in the feminist/non-name changing camp as I always felt that changing your name was a part of the marriage just like middle school follows elementary school. It is what you do. So I did it because that's what you do. And despite changing my name on Facebook almost immediately (peer pressure is a thing, children) I procrastinated and didn't process the legal name change until January. And now this is who I am. I am not a Greggs, I am a Hazen. My voicemail still says Greggs, at work I am still Greggs but in the eyes of the government of the United States of America and the state of Michigan, I am a Hazen. Who I am as a person and who I identify myself as has changed.
I always thought names were strange. Nick's name isn't Nick, it's Nicholas but to everyone and to himself, he is Nick. Oliver and I were talking about this the other day in relation to celebrities. He was wondering if celebrities' spouses call them their birth name or their stage name. He used Fergie as an example. Is she Fergie at home? To her husband? To her friends? Is she Fergie to her parents?
Now I'm not the person I was for 23 years of my life. I'm someone new, someone different, someone married. I have to learn to respond to a new name, a new title. I'm a wife, I'm married, I'm a Hazen, I'm a Mrs. It's all so very strange that I don't know how I'll get used to it. I'm sure that 23 years from now, I won't be able to imagine it being any different.
I always knew that Nick and I were together for the long haul and we were in this forever, even before we got married. We were good kids and we talked about marriage for quite some time. We talked about getting married like it was some great accomplishment far off and far away from us. Being married was something that happened to other people. We would get there someday but it wasn't today and it wasn't tomorrow. Then suddenly it was tomorrow and then just as suddenly it was today. And then just as quickly it was yesterday and a month ago and two months ago and yesterday it was three months ago and I didn't even notice. We passed this great threshold, this life defining moment, this milestone, this sacrament and it was just a day. Now we're here and it's exactly the same.
But it's not.
I don't know how to describe this feeling to people who aren't married and that's why I haven't been trying. I'm married. I have someone who will always have my back. I have someone who is always on my mind, who is the most important person in my life and someone who is my best friend. All these things were true even before we signed a piece of paper and said those vows but now it's different. Now I have someone with me for the rest of my life. I have someone who will always be there and someone I know I can always turn to for help. I have someone who I can call my husband. I have someone I'm legally bound to and who is bound to me. I have someone who loved me enough to spend all that money on one day to celebrate being us. Together. Finally.
I am married to a wonderful man and someday I will be married to and will have been with Nick for longer than I've been without him (June 13, 2021 to be exact). We will be with each other for the rest of our lives. It's an amazing feeling that didn't really hit me until our "staycation" honeymoon when I cried that afternoon in our hotel room, holding on to my new life. I was a wife celebrating her marriage to her husband and the overwhelming non-change change just threw me. It still hits me hard sometimes and it always surprises me the most when people ask me how married life is. It's not exactly the same but I can't very well tell this story can I?
I also am now deeply affected by any sad/happy stories about married couples. Whether reading a story about the death of a spouse or a child or just thinking about how hard it must have been for immigrants to leave their families behind, I get upset. Thinking about how my great-great great granduncle (or whatever he was) left his wife and traveled on the world's largest unsinkable ship to America, I get teary. I know how Fahim Leeni must have felt when he left his wife of four month for something better. I know how people feel when they are separated from their spouses. I know this because I know this feeling, I know how people feel when they are together.