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Ask Anyone

unmarried couples

Every year my partner and I host a Valentine’s Day dinner for unmarried couples like ourselves. It’s a party for people who (like us) aren’t married because we don’t want to be, as well as people who (like some of our gay friends) aren’t married because they can’t be. We’re pretty strict: If you get married, you’re out.

This year we have a tricky situation. Two men who have been mainstays at the party ran off to Vermont and got married this year. If they were a straight couple, they’d be out. But turns out they expect to be invited because their marriage isn’t recognized federally or by New York State. I’m sympathetic to the fact that their marriage is largely symbolic, since they don’t live in Vermont, but we don’t know if we should set a place at the table for them or not. What do you think?

—On Principle

By Design says: This is one of the more ridiculous exclusionary party policies I’ve heard in awhile. Sounds like one year you were in a relationship and weren’t allowed at your friend’s singles party, so you came up with this.

But by these skewed rules and requirements, your friends who were married in Vermont should be out if they expect people to respect their choice to get married. Even if the law doesn’t consider them married, they see themselves as such, and should be uninvited.

Bold as Love says: Maybe this is a test. They could be testing you to see if you are truly a supporter of gay civil liberties. If you give in and allow them at your singles-only party, you will be undermining everything that the gay community has been working toward.

The Gay Perspective: All marriages are largely symbolic, you fool. In my book, all committed couples are, in effect, married, in which case you should exclude yourselves from your own party. Do you really think the IRS, or immigration, or Homeland Security cares that these jokers had some ersatz wedding in New England? Of course, if you’re just looking for an excuse to dump them, do it. No need for the hypocrisy.

cold comfort

Winter has officially ceased to be beautiful and charming for me. I’m cold, my feet are wet, my gas bills are killing me. Got any advice on how to beat this hateful depression for the next three months? And as I said, my gas bills are killing me, so a trip to somewhere warm is not in the cards.


By Design says: I too struggle with cheeriness this time of year. I’m a strong believer in the “Anywhere But Here” game from the 1990s awesomeness that is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Rather than focusing on the fact that I’m huddled under a blanket and haven’t been able to wear anything less than my winter coat and three layers to stay warm in my warehouse office, I focus on my imaginary life plan of moving to Paraguay where I will serve ex-pats cocktails in a bikini at my seaside bar/shack. A little self-delusion seems to help…so does whiskey.

The Gay Perspective: I don’t understand how anybody has time to fret about the weather. In the words of Mame Dennis, “Life’s a banquet and most poor sons of bitches are starving to death!” Even St. Petersburg is a blast in February—trust me, I’ve done that. Get out! Walk in the winter wonderland. Call up friends. Host hot chocolate and board games if you must. Subscribe to Martha Stewart Living and recreate her holiday cocktail party. Honestly, I’m afraid I don’t even understand the question.

The Straight Skinny says: You’re correct: Winter has just this week turned the corner, and gone from pretty and stimulating to completely depressing and unredeeming. Ignore all the people who say that you should get out and play in the snow, or make hot toddies, or take up snow photography. You are right to feel awful, and there is no solution. Suck it up, and prepare to feel miserable for the next three months.

Help Wanted says: Make the most out of the winter and go skiing. As a matter of fact, I think you can find a deal on lift passes in the classified section of this week’s paper…

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