Herb is a Jewish labor economist
from New York City who worked for the EEOC and took up acting after he
retired; Gay, who is Christian, is a former military historian from Atlanta
with an artists spirit she dances, acts, writes, teaches
ESL, is a Phi Beta Kappa and a descendant of Pocahontas to boot.
Long-time friends of my family, they are a remarkable pair. They
have two sons.
We used to sing
in the car. When we were courting. You know? (sings.)
One alone, (Herb instantly joins in, they sing together.)
to be my own/just [da-dum]/know his caresses
the gloaming, oh my darling. And that has such a poignant
second verse: (sings.) In the gloaming/Oh my
darling/Think not bitterly of me/Though I went away and left you/Left
you lonely/(Herb joins in.) Set you free.
I learned that in high
What had been/could never be/It was best to leave you thus, dear/(Herb
joins in.) Best for you and best for me. (Herb
laughs fondly.) Well, anyway. It was such a relief
to me to - at some point it occurred to me, we dont have to
break up! You know? We could get married! And
that would be such a relief! Not to have to go through all that
breaking up business again! Which is so painful! I dont
know why I connect it with the song; well, it was probably one night when
we were going along and we were singing that second stanza about, it
was best to leave you thus, dear, and I was thinking, we dont
have to do that! You know? We dont have
to do that! We can get married!
Is marriage still necessary?
Frankly, the important
thing is the relationship. Ive felt that for a long time.
Ive had a lot of therapy, and I came to that conclusion. The
important thing is the relationship. And it doesnt matter
if the relationship is in terms of marriage or not marriage.
I agree on that.
But I do think that that long-time partnership is really, theres
nothing that can replace that. I think its really a good thing.
Not that people cant have full lives as single people, certainly
they can. You talked about the romance of the cultural differences;
and to some extent, I think that thats a heightening of the romance
of the sexual differences. I suppose its possible, since same-sex
couples do have romance and do have lasting relationships, I suppose its
quite possible to have enough of a difference in some sense in
roles or in personalities or in cultures or all of those things
so that you have that romance; but I remember somebody saying to me, a
counselor, early in our relationship, saying, well, you know, the
nature of a sexual relationship is that its between two different
people. And two different organisms. And I do think
well, that doesnt have anything to do with marriage, I guess.
But there is something endlessly romantic and exciting and that gets to
the core of you, I think, about this closeness across barriers
of personality, of culture, of gender, of whatever, you know that
just melts the barriers away and yet the differences are still there and
the differences are what make it exciting.