“I love you, man.” Bromance in my face is O.K.

11 pic from beach 10-16Note: I performed this at an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute class to many laughs & nods. Comments appreciated.

“David may call, all right if we talk tonight? He needs to talk,” my husband asked.

 “Sure,” I said, “go ahead, and call your boyfriend. I’ll play with food. Dinner’ll take 45 minutes at least. Oh, and tell him getting together for a weekend is ok, but camping on Brokeback mountain in Wyoming is out of the question!”

Back before Larry and I met 22 years ago, I thought that if a dalliance or one night stand was discovered in a relationship; if it was just sex when away or drunk or something, I might be able to forgive and forget. But if my partner fell in love with someone, I’d be worried, that’d be different!”

“He’s really in love with that guy,” I said to a girl friend. “They call each other a few times a week, and as Men’s Breakthrough graduates, they set a timer for equal “sessions,” emoting their feelings pillow-pounding or tear-jerking style, a the ‘real’ source of their agitation, and close with a next step til the next call.”

“And he’s cute!” I said, “straight, fit, a divorced 50ish attorney from Marin county who’s been in and out of love with three different women who can’t commit. Even Larry calls it a soap opera.”

I have a friend on Cape Cod I call my “gay boyfriend” and sometimes ask Larry for time alone to talk to him. We Skype sometimes and he sends me texts too, but not as often as Larry gets them. My more politically correct friends tell me to lose the ‘gay’ label. But there’s something about it that implies that friendship, love if you want to call it that, is non-sexual yet intimate. As is Larry’s with not one but two “special friends.”  

“How would you feel when walked in to the annual Super Bowl party and witnessed your husband connect eye-to-eye and give one of his friends a close to sixty-second hug?” Wouldn’t you think it just a little odd?

Another woman at that party said. “Peter and Larry are all over each other,” At that point my husband was leaning back on the couch into Peter’s round belly surrounded by his strong arms and getting a neck massage.

“There’s even a name for it: bromance,” she went on. Sure enough, I looked it up on my i-phone and the term originated in 2005-6 and was “a relationship or friendship between two men that is extremely close but does not involve sex.”

Well that’s what it is for sure. I just came across a very touching video of how now deceased comedian Gary Shandler helped Conan O’Brien get through tough times, and how Conan actually fell in love with him.

“How’s your boyfriend?” I asked when Larry came back to the kitchen, while he chose  the perfect placemats and cloth napkins for the table.

“Fine, but lose that tone will ya?” Larry said. “You went to the Cape for your boyfriend’s son’s graduation. All we want to do is spend some time together.”

“Please notice that I even told you that date in October’d work for me.”

“You always come first, you know that don’t you?” he said pulling me in for an eye-to-eye forehead-to-forehead hug and kiss.

“I’d better be,” I said, pouring myself a glass of wine.

What’s really going on? Do I really have a problem with this that I’m not seeing? Is my feigned sarcasm frosting covering something insidious?

I don’t think so. For me right now, I am so sure of Larry’s love for me, it makes me feel that when you get to a truly unconditional love like this on it’s like Kahlil Gibran said it long ago: “let there be spaces in your togetherness.”

The intimacy, the in-to-me-you-see-ness of the love Larry and I share is unparalleled. It has spiraled ever upward since we met. And if I look back honestly, each of the connections in my previous major encounters, Even the ones I call mis-matches made in heaven, contributed to my development in some way.

I realize I actually like that he has someone other than me to dump his stuff on, to get a second opinion from. But when I overhear the animated laughter or how they say good-by to each other with an “I love you,” it’s not quite like the “lov’ you,” I’ve parroted with an invisible hand cupped behind my ear waiting to hear those words back.

Larry and I are “still crazy after all these years.” We’re actually excited to come home to each other, to listen to the highs and lows of our days. Some mornings when I wake and stumble sleepy-eyed into the kitchen for a hug I can feel our hearts through our furry bathrobes, knowing without a word how deeply glad we are to be in each other’s arms.

Last week on our sacred Sabbath Saturday morning sleep late, soul-filled sex-filled check he took my hands and misty-eyed said, “I can’t think of anyone in the world, or any place I’d rather be, than right here, right now with you!”

How good is that!  No bromance can match that.

================= FAST FORWARD

I met Larry’s lover. They just came back from that day we agreed they’d have together. They’d even sent me a picture of our favorite # reflecting relationships. 11. First thing David did was give me a big hug and thank me for their time together. Then he asked for an autographed copy of my book, saying he wanted to get to know me better.

“I share Larry with lots of people,” I said, “you’re just one of the top two.”

As they hugged goodbye they gave each other a short kiss on the lips with “ I love you” and I didn’t blink an eye.


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