Ginger’s Soapbox: Marriage

ringsKudos to the U.S. Supreme Court for getting it right:  people who love one another and want to enter into a marital commitment should be allowed to do so.  I’ve actually been surprised at some who have expressed dismay with this decision.  People who have often presented themselves as loving, tolerant and accepting have shown that they certainly are not.

The government got into the marriage business a long time ago.  I understand the argument that the government shouldn’t be involved.  Perhaps it wouldn’t be necessary if couples could end marriages without needing a judge to make decisions for them.

The opposition to same-sex marriage is generally attributed to religious views.  It’s important to remember that the court shouldn’t legislate religious views.  But those who are opposed to same sex marriage want the court to endorse their views.

Marriage is a civil arrangement.  It’s a legal contract.  For the more spiritual, it’s also a way of committing to their faith through a romantic and familial union.  That’s wonderful for those who make that choice.  I wouldn’t try to take that away from those couples.

It troubles me that the most religious are the most opposed to same sex unions.  One would think that those with great faith would be the most tolerant, loving and accepting of others.  Apparently that attitude applies only to those whose views and lifestyles are akin to theirs.

The majority decision said it best:  No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

There are lots of arguments against same-sex marriage.  None make much sense.  Some surround the issue of procreation. Those who think marriage is only about having children are shortchanging themselves.

Proponents of same-sex marriage cross religious, cultural and political boundaries.  I know a conservative Republican who wants his gay son to be able to marry the person he loves, a conservative Jewish man (also a Republican) who is married to a man, and a devout Pentecostal (a former Republican) who has been out of the closet more than decade.  I won’t even go into the Biblical references to same-sex couples.

The bottom line is this:  as someone who has been married twice and who is currently in a long-term relationship but chooses not to be married, I admire those who want to make the commitment to marriage so badly that they fought a decades-long court battle to win the right to marry the one they love.

Let’s be loving, accepting and tolerant of our friends, relatives and neighbors who want their commitment to be recognized as just as important as everyone else’s.

Ginger’s Soapbox: Caitlyn Jenner

CaitlynRegardless of what you think about transgender individuals, you have to acknowledge that Caitlyn Jenner is one courageous chick.  She gave up a life as a famous male athlete to become a woman at age 65 and pose for the cover of Vanity Fair.  It takes a real woman to do that.

Yes, Caitlyn is a real woman.  She once was a man who won many awards as an athlete.  Because she is now a woman doesn’t mean that Bruce Jenner was any less of a man.  Any attempts to denigrate his athletic prowess should be stifled.

So many of the stories and comments about Jenner are disturbing.  Most disturbing is what it reveals about society’s views of women.  Hello, it is 2015.  Why is it so appalling that a man would want to be a woman?  No one made such a fuss when Chastity Bono – daughter of Sonny and Cher – became a man.  Is it because being male is superior to being female?  Can we identify with the desire to be a man, but not with the need to be a woman?

Daily Show commentator Jon Stewart nailed it when he said, “Caitlyn, when you were a man, we could talk about your athleticism, your business acumen. But now you’re a woman, which means your looks are really the only thing we care about.”

Sadly, Stewart was dead-on when he said: “Caitlyn Jenner, congratulations. Welcome to being a woman in America.”

I didn’t choose to be born female, but I’m glad I was.  I’ve always supported equality between the sexes and worked hard to overcome stereotypes that hold women back.  This story demonstrates we have a long way to go, but we are lucky to have a high-profile advocate join the team.

Social media and dating

A friend recently sent me a link to a wonderfully funny and insightful blog post titled Being Single 14406096347_9a3c83b3a0_bin 2013. While I was entertained, the post also caused me to reflect on this whole business of being single.  This is my response to his witty post with a few of my own thoughts sprinkled in…although I’m not nearly as funny.

Calling vs. Texting

My mama beat the words “girls should never call boys” into my skull on a regular basis.  This caused me to spend at least two decades sitting by the phone.  I didn’t leave the house until cell phones were invented.  I respectfully disagree with Mr. McMurran’s statement that women love to text.

Sure, texting is convenient and doesn’t make much noise. It’s helpful while in meetings or if you need quick info that doesn’t require a phone call.  But if you want to get to know me and let me know you are truly interested, pick up the phone and dial!

I went out on a date with a man who doesn’t text.  At all.  Ever.  He’s very proud of it and a bit critical of those of us who are smart phone addicts.  I turned my iPhone on Do Not Disturb and put it in my purse for the duration of the date.  To my surprise, I didn’t suffer any ill-effects from technology withdrawal.

Did this man pick up the phone and call me to ask me out? No!  He sent me a message on Facebook.  So much for eschewing technology.  To his credit, he first mentioned it in person at a group gathering (I call that “testing the waters” or “sending out a trial balloon”).  And while he didn’t ask for my phone number at the time, it’s easily accessible since we belong to the same group.  He had no excuse for not dialing.

He did ask me for my number in that initial Facebook message. Has he called me? No.  But I got another Facebook message relatively promptly post-date. Maybe he was paying attention.

I recently received a phone call from a man I met nearly a year ago but hadn’t heard from in months.  What did he want? He wanted to know if he could call me sometime. That made me scratch my head and look quizzically at my phone.

Frequency of communication

The line between showing affection and stalking is a thin one.  Waking up to a good morning text makes me smile.  Seeing a goodnight text on my phone, or talking to a special someone before going to sleep, will give me very pleasant dreams.

A text every hour for no reason? Not so much.  Especially if he sends a text to follow-up on why I didn’t answer the last text.  Men also get mad if you don’t text back timely – so don’t say women are being sensitive.  Feeling rejected is an equal opportunity emotion.

I’m also confused about when or how often to text, so men aren’t alone in that department.  Bottom line:  if I’m dating someone regularly and exclusively, I expect to hear from them every day.  Why would I put all of my eggs in a basket that only calls me when it wants to play?

I have occasionally broken the “don’t call boys” rule.  But if he’s not calling me on a regular basis, I’m not calling him.  No chasing guys that don’t want to be caught — there are plenty who DO want to be caught.  They jump right out of the water without me having to bait a hook.

Social media

To friend or not to friend, that is the question.   As a public relations practitioner, I understand the metrics associated with social media.  Likes and shares are good things — they show that your audience is engaged (not in the romantic sense), fond of your brand and paying attention. Isn’t that what we want in a potential romantic partner?

If a guy is offended by posts or photos that indicate I’m out with someone else, he needs to remember he would be there (literally, or by asking for a commitment) if he really wanted to protect his territory.  If he doesn’t want me to date other people, he should just say so!

Social media and online dating have made it easier for shy people to date.  People will write an email when they don’t have the guts to call you up.  Recently, a really nice guy emailed me on Facebook to tell me how much he adored me but never had the guts to tell me.  I appreciated the gesture, even though I’m not interested in dating him.

Recognizing this effort took a lot of courage, I thanked him profusely and told him how much I appreciated it and was sincerely flattered.  Right before I told a fib and said I’m in a relationship*. He graciously accepted defeat — and didn’t unfriend me.  I’ve been unfriended by men because I rejected them.  Fine, who needs friends who can’t take no for an answer?

Relationship status

I have a relative who changes her relationship status on Facebook with some regularity.  On any given day she could be engaged, in a complicated relationship, in an open relationship or  married.    I know a guy who announced his divorce by changing his relationship status on Facebook from “Married” to “Separated.”   When I separated from my husband I hid my relationship status on my page.  I eventually changed it to “Single,” but I keep it hidden.  If people want to know, they can ask.*

If I were in a mutually exclusive relationship with someone and he asked me to change my relationship status* to “In a relationship” and make it public so that people would know I’m off-limits, of course I would.  If he wanted to link our pages so that it says, “in a relationship with….” I would do that, too.  But if he doesn’t want to do that, I wouldn’t cry and think he doesn’t love me.

It’s the real connection that counts.  Isn’t that what all this dating stuff is about?

*Since this blog post was written, I’ve entered an exclusive, committed relationship and changed my relationship status on Facebook at the request of my beloved.