One of the most convenient words today is “partner.” When used in context to gay marriage, it really removes the awkwardness of having to use heterosexual terms, such as wife or husband.
And while wife and wife, and husband and husband, are valid, those terms are based in a heterosexual world and may not have the same appeal to a gay couple. Or, maybe they do.
I used to think “partner” was inadequate, sort of a passing phase word that could be used simply because there was really no other way to describe one’s mate, married or not. “Partner” seemed like a cold word, suggesting business, and “partnership” felt downright office-y, like, “Hey, I made partner at my law firm.”
But time came ’round to perfect the word “partner,” and now it seems to be the very best word ever.
No more having to explain and no more demoting your loved one to the ever-awful “significant other.” Significant other? Why not “considered participant in love arrangement”?
Apparently, we’ve really been searching for the perfect word because “significant other” is just way too much of a stretch. Significant other seems like it would come with an implanted microchip and an identifying numbered tattoo on the lower belly: “Yes, that’s my significant other. Check her belly.”
I want a partner; a partner is the only thing that makes sense to me. And guess what? I don’t care if it’s a man or a woman.
I want a human — a kind, trustworthy human to share the rest of my life with. I’m not bisexual, nor am I heterosexual. I’m just me, this really interesting and talented woman who has existed on her own for many years and is now ready to open to the idea of a companion.
I remember years ago when Cybill Shepherd announced that she’d be interested in having a relationship with a woman. She was old enough to know her own mind, and when she declared the interest, everyone went nuts.
It was as if the entire world, en masse, immediately pictured her in bed having fantasy lesbian sex, all night, all day, while holding up flags that said, “I hate men!”
When you say you want a companion of the same sex, everyone automatically jumps to the sex part.
It’s as if there’s nothing else we do with the people we hang out with if they’re our partners. It’s always sex, sex, sex. I suppose in those rare moments when Cybill wasn’t munching on snatch, she and her ever-thinking-of-pussy partner moaned about menopause, cried, talked nonstop and, of course, hated men.
A few weeks ago, the beloved Susan Sarandon made a similar statement, saying on live TV that she’d consider a woman as a partner for the future, and that she really wanted a companion.
So, what does the world do? We stamp her with our “new sex-crazed lesbian” stamp, and we don’t listen to anything else she has to say.
She’s no longer a person of great experience who may have a handle on what she wants in this life; she’s now afloat on a cloud of gossip, where it’s our duty to misinterpret her to the best of our ability.
Because Susan Sarandon can’t just be a lesbian, or bisexual, or finding herself, or knowing herself, or even asexual and wanting a damn mate to share the world with. She has to be seen as the older woman who’s sick of men’s ways and has decided to try women in reaction.
Because that’s all women do, right? React off of men?
I wouldn’t expect people to understand Cybill or Susan — not until you’re a woman in your fifties, such as I am.
When I see these and other women walking into the third act of their lives, as Jane Fonda calls it, I see that sex is not the driving force for women wanting to be with other women in the latter part of their lives.
I won’t speak for men because I’m not one and have no experience of being one but I assume they have their own version of openness to their own gender after a certain age … or not. What I do know is that women crave affection and soulful friendships.
We women have never been hindered by the societal programming that insists men must be crippled, in terms of how much affection they can devote to one of their own gender. We don’t have the macho restraints to keep us frozen solid when it comes to hugging another of our own sex.
Women are readily available for tenderness, cuddles, kisses, and yes, heart to heart talks.
In my third act, I really do understand the Cybills and Susans, but I could only understand such a concept after living so much of my life.
Choices like this are made based on experience; I’ve been married, had my child, lived on my own, had my affairs with men and women, but always — and I mean ALWAYS, throughout it all — the only thing that lasted were my women friends. And so, why not be open to the idea of a woman as my life partner?
I’m open to a male partner as well and I’m working on trying to get my mind off the high standards of having a Viking lover. I don’t want to set the bar too unrealistically high.
The only thing about a male partner that turns me off is that he’s probably going to want to have sex all the time — and that I don’t want.
This is what’s kept men away from me all this time: I’m not a sex kitten; I’m a mental mindf*ck, which according to The Rocky Horror Picture Show‘s Frank N Furter, ”can be nice.”
My chances of living the mental sex life of my dreams is so much more likely to happen with a woman, being that men really don’t exclusively understand how mechanical sex just isn’t my number one interest.
You know what real hot sex is to me? Sharing a bottle of wine with someone, snuggling in the candlelight, and then kissing passionately. You can do this with a woman.
But it’s rare that this can be done with a man without it escalating into stripping down and getting off. See, I don’t need an orgasm; I need a head-trip. Blow my mind and I will never let you go.
So, here I am. A bi-romantic, on-again-off-again asexual, with a desire to move into a committed relationship with a man or a woman of substance, imagination, and character … who doesn’t want to f*ck all day.
There’s only one person I truly wish to have mad bastard sex with, and he’s a married Danish movie star. So, that one must stay a fantasy.
We women of the third act — it’s not that we crave sex with other women as we get older; it’s that we crave companionship with people who get us. If men got us, great. But they don’t seem to. Who gets us? Other women.
Susan, I look forward to your call.