emony. He agrees that we can love each other,
but he insists that boys don’t marry boys and
no gaywedding announcements in the New
York Times are going to change his mind. it’s
odd to reflect that my sixtyfouryearold
Catholic mom, raised to view marriage as a
sacrament, believes marriage is about love and
commitment, not about genitals, but my six
yearold son—raised by a gay couple and not
having seen the inside of a church since the
day he was baptized—somehow came to be
lieve that marriage is about matched sets of
boys and girls.
How’d that happen?
dJ’s traditional position on gender is not
something he learned at home. While he was
always into all the traditional boy things—cars,
trucks, rockets—once upon a time he didn’t
perceive his toy preferences as a gender thing.
While he’s never met a sandwich he couldn’t
nibble into the shape of a gun, until he was four
the boy things he liked were just the things he
happened to like. He liked guns because he
liked guns, not because boys were supposed to
like guns. before he was four, he never talked
about the way boys or girls were supposed to
act, or what they were supposed to wear, or who
boys were supposed to marry. He had playmates
that were girls and playmates that were boys.
gender didn’t make any difference to him.
Then one day we packed dJ off to pre
school, where he got a crash course in sex roles.
it wasn’t the teachers who poured this poison
into his ears; we sent him to a progressive
Montessori school on our leftleaning island,
not some southern baptist preschool in a church
basement. His teachers would sooner feed chil
dren tacks than force boys to do boy things
and girls to do girl things. no, it was the other
children who indoctrinated dJ into the world
of gender expectations. along with the words
to “Jingle bells/batman smells,” the children
taught dJ to think of boys and girls as two
warring camps. From day one it was the boys
vs. the girls, and there wasn’t much the adults
could do about it. When the children weren’t
engaged in Talmudic discussions about which
toys or activities were male or female, the boys
were chasing the girls around the yard during
recess. When the boys got bored and went off
to play with their boy toys, the girls would tease
them until the chase started up again. add fif
teen years, some pubic hair, and a keg of beer,
and it would be difficult to tell the difference
between recess at starbreak Montessori and
Friday night at a frat house.
I have found the best way to give advice to your
children is to find out what they want and then
advise them to do it.
—Harry S. Truman, 1955
an agreeable thing to the boys. Marriage was
a weapon, something the girls would threaten
to do to the boys if they ever actually caught
them. To turn the tables during a game of
chase, the girls only had to say the “M” word.
Marriage was nuclear cooties. once the threat
was issued, the boys would turn tail and run,
the girls chasing after them like a bunch of
magnetized pinballs whose charge had sud
so to dJ it didn’t make any sense that his
two dads, both boys, would contemplate mar
rying each other. boys weren’t supposed to be
interested in marriage any more than they were
supposed to be interested in dolls or dresses or
fairy tales about princesses. Marriage was a girl
thing. and since there weren’t any girls in our
family, why was the subject even coming up?
From The Commitment. Savage began writing
a sex-advice column for the independent Seattle-based newspaper The stranger in 1991, under
the heading “Savage Love,” which provided the
material for his debut book of the same name in 1998.
Incensed by then-senator Rick Santorum’s likening of
homosexuality to bestiality in 2003, Savage created a
website that defined “santorum” as a “frothy mixture”
that is “sometimes” a byproduct of anal sex. The online
campaign was so successful that the senator attacked
Google in 2011 for not censoring its search results.