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Mistaken Identity

Emily Flake

By Mink Stole | Posted 1/8/2003

I left my husband more than a year ago, and my divorce will be finalized soon. A couple of months ago I started spending a lot of time with an old friend, and, while it was casual at first, it is developing into something more important. We've decided to keep our new feelings for each other quiet for the time being, both because my divorce isn't final yet and since we're really not sure where the relationship might go. But my friends are wondering whom I'm spending so much time with and why I'm starting to look happy again. One friend of mine last week told me she heard a rumor that I was a lesbian. I was shocked. I asked my friend who had said that, and she told me it was just sort of general speculation. I've always had a lot of gay friends, male and female, and am certainly no homophobe, but it never occurred to me that anyone would think I was gay myself. I worry about the rumor spreading and I certainly don't want it to jeopardize what might be a wonderful new romance. How do I handle this?

Straight as an Arrow

Dear SAAA:
If I had a dollar for every time someone said I was a lesbian, I might finally be able to install that lap pool in my backyard I've been wanting. If I added a dollar for everyone who thinks I'm a drag queen, I could put in the pool and a north/south tennis court. The former doesn't bother me, and the latter wouldn't concern me either, except that the misconception arises from films in which I've been completely (and frontally) naked. I guess it's no secret why Raquel Welch beat me out for the job of Mark Eden Bust Developer model.

The point is you can't control what people say or think about you; you can only control your own behavior. And, since you're trying to keep your new love under your hat, a rumor like this could actually work for you. If anyone says anything to you, put on your best Mona Lisa smile and say nothing, or laugh and toss off some comment like, "Women should be so lucky," or, "I wish I were; I could have spared myself my last marriage"-- anything to show you find the idea intriguing or amusing, but not upsetting. Making a fuss would only add juice to the gossip, which might not even be true--your friend could be making up the rumor herself just to get you to tell her what's really going on--and could possibly offend some people you care about. And even if your new beau does hear it, if he's not more likely to believe what you do than what other people say, he may not be as wonderful as you think he is.

I recently proposed to a terrific woman, and she accepted. We're great together, and I'm sure our marriage is going to work. We have tons in common; both of us want kids, etc. The problem is the wedding. I would love to elope, or have a small, quiet ceremony with just our immediate families; she wants the whole shebang--big church wedding, half a dozen bridesmaids, and a reception for 200 or 300 people. I feel like a big stick-in-the-mud, but I really would rather put that kind of money towards a house than spend it all on a big dinner/dance for a whole bunch of people I don't know. Her family sides with her, and is prepared to pay for it all, but it just seems like such a waste to me. Should I just keep my big mouth shut and let them have it their way, or is this an indication of problems ahead?

Frugal the Groom

Dear FTG:
Even in this post-feminist age, the average little middle-class girl in America is encouraged to dream of her wedding day. The unfortunate reality is that a gorgeous wedding is no guarantee of a happy marriage, and many a miserable wife starts out as a beautiful bride. But, as far as I know, a large wedding won't prevent happiness, either, so it boils down to a matter of taste.

You know the disadvantages of a big wedding--too much money and expectation spent in one place--but there are some upsides. One is that a big fancy whoop-de-do often reaps big fancy gifts--maybe even a lot of cash. Another is that you'll be letting the woman you love live out her fantasy and give her a memory to cherish the rest of her life. It's also a big day for the parents, and hers may have been looking forward to it since she was born. If so, and if they're footing the bill, it's probably best to go along gracefully. But attitudes toward money can be a big problem in any marriage, and you and your intended should understand and agree about the way you plan to manage your finances during your marriage well before you tie the knot, whether you do it in front of a thousand friends and relations in a big cathedral or a $20 Vegas drive-through. As important as the big day is, what comes after is what really matters.

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Think Mink archives

More from Mink Stole

Pick and Choose (4/12/2006)
First of all, homosexuality isnít like snake handling or Catholicism; it isnít a cult or a religion you can be recruited for or converted to.

Territorial Rites (4/5/2006)

Family Guy (3/15/2006)

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