Many of you may have had questions that you wanted to ask but were afraid to ask of your gay friends. This post is in response to some of those questions.
After Jacob and I celebrated our wedding in Massachusetts last year and our commitment ceremony here in Texas, I had many a question from my straight friends about proper etiquette when addressing us. This post is in response to many of those questions in the hopes of educating my straight friends and to bring mirth and laughter to my gay friends.
Now I know for many of you this topic may be very confusing, but I am here to set you all gay. Therefore, I am now putting on my Emily Post hat.
Dear Dr. Tharp, Dr. Flores, or is it Dr Tharp-Flores?: What is the proper way to address a newly gay married couple?
One of the first questions that I got and one that I have had repeatedly asked is if I was to now be addressed as Dr. Flores or if Jacob was now Professor Tharp. Not only would this be confusing to those in both our professional environments, but one can only imagine the male posturing that would occur as to who would assume which last name.
I love Jacob very much and I am very proud to be his husband, but I suppose that the proper etiquette for a gay married couple is new and treacherous waters for some. First of all, most married gay couples continue to keep their names the same. Now on rare occasion I have seen a hyphen utilized, but that does tend to be more common in the lesbian variety of marriage. Often if we are using surnames, we tend to refer to ourselves as the Tharp-Flores household. However, most gay families as ourselves choose to maintain our current surnames. I guess we are much like those independent women out there that once they get married they still prefer to use their own last names. I am still my own man after all!
Dear Dr. Tharp: I am inviting this wonderful gay married couple to my daughter’s wedding. How do I address the invitation?
When addressing a gay couple say on an invitation it is always proper to use both names. For example, if you wish to invite us to your daughter’s wedding and want one of those fabulous Tiffany presents that we gays are known for giving, you should address the invitation properly. It should read: Dr. Bruce Tharp and Mr. Jacob Flores and family. I still like to insist that the highest title comes first. (Sorry Jacob.)
A comment from Jacob: As editor-in-chief of this blog, here is my response–Age always precedes beauty.
Dear Dr. Tharp: When you meet a gay married couple, what is the proper way to find out which one is the wife and which one is the husband?
Yes, I have actually been asked if I was the wife in the relationship. Now I may be the chief cook in the family, but I am still all man as is Jacob! In the English language, we still use specific gender oriented words and we are both HUSBAND. Jacob and I were pronounced at our wedding in Massachusetts as husband and husband. Asking a gay man if he is the wife is akin to asking if he is the “top” or “bottom.” (If you are unsure of those last two terms, please google them because this is a family column. If you are still confused, message me and I will set you gay, or perhaps I will save this for a future PG-13 column.) When in doubt, the best rule to follow is: don’t be rude!
Dear Dr. Tharp: I know this gay couple that were married in Massachusetts, but they live in Texas. There, marriage isn’t real is it?
Now this question, and yes I have been asked this question, really gets my ire up. Jacob and I are in a loving and committed relationship. We believe in until death do us part. We believe in until sickness and health, and we believe in for better or for worse. We raise our family together. We sit at the dinner table and hold hands with our children and say grace. Our marriage is as real as anyone else’s! We, in fact, are so proud of our marriage certificate and what it represents that we have it framed and we proudly display it in our home. How many straight couples actually know where their marriage certificate is at this very moment? Yes, we may live in a state that does not recognize the very special commitment that we have made to one another, but we anxiously await the day for the other forty four states including our own to get with the program!
I hope that his has set many of you gay and has helped to begin your navigation in proper gay etiquette. If any of you have questions, please don’t hesitate to send me questions on this site and I will do my best to answer them in future posts. I am always happy to set my straight friends gay!