How we stay together: ‘There’s that love and tenderness and affection no matter what’ | The Guardian

How we stay together: ‘There’s that love and tenderness and affection no matter what’ | The Guardian

I will. I do.

He proposed. I said yes. We’re going to get married.

Tonight Gregory and I went to dinner at Bridges Bali, a delightful restaurant that we had lunch at last Friday.  We returned because the service, food, atmosphere and location were impeccable.  Quite the combination if you get it all right.  Having had the entrée of rare roast lamb and the main of Thai-inspired grilled Barramundi, we settled for espressos and Cointreau chocolate mousse.  Yes, mousse.

And it was during the mousse, yes – mousse, that the conversation turned to one we’d had a number of times in the past, about marriage and our thoughts on it.  Yet, this time, there was a different tone to the conversation.  Gregory became a little more serious and actually asked me if I’d marry him, not if I’d ever marry him, but if I’d actually marry him.  The sort of question that demanded a yes answer, here and now.

Oh, I thought, this is the real thing, not a humorous conversation, but an actual marriage proposal.  I think I started to cry and was trying to maintain my composure between polite interruptions from the impeccably appointed wait-staff who clearly weren’t trained in the art of detecting a marriage proposal between two middle-aged men.  Wiping away the odd tear or two I said yes and continued trying to untangle the mass of emotions that had beset me, amidst what could only be described as one of the most idyllic moments of my life.

A quick phone-call from me back to Australia to let the folks know and a quick text message or two from Gregory back to his kids and sister and the deal was sealed.  I have to say, finding the courage to make that phone call, and finding the actual words to say were amazingly more fraught than I would ever have expected.  But having announced our engagement felt good, and it felt right.  I couldn’t think of a better man to be engaged to get married to.

Of course, the question has been asked, in which country will you guys get married.  Not a question most engaged couples get asked I suspect, because the expectation is they would celebrate their nuptials at home, wherever that was for them.  Yet for us two Australians, getting married at home is not so straightforward, because there is no legal option for us to do this in Australia currently.  We may be able to get married in a foreign consulate in Australia, but that wouldn’t be on Australian soil, and there wouldn’t be the stunningly beautiful Australian Coat of Arms on that marriage certificate.

It was a very simple decision for us.  We are going to get married to each other in Australia, under Australian law, on Australian soil.  It may be in the next three years, or it may be longer, but it will happen in both our lifetimes and most likely sooner than later.

We haven’t exchanged rings.  We probably won’t.  Rings are not our style.  We did get an ‘engagement ring’ from Facebook though, when we made that irrevocable and gay announcement to our social networks:


So, thank you Gregory, you’ve changed my life, tonight, and every day since we met on that Tuesday in November 2008.  I love you.

P.S.  I can’t believe my enjoyment of the perfect chocolate mousse was interrupted by a marriage proposal.  Honestly.  Timing!

Christmas Day 2011

Yesterday was Christmas Day.  For me it is the culmination of an annoying time of the year when I avoid shopping centres and am surrounded by a peculiar sense of cheer that is predominantly about gift-giving, family coming together and consuming food and wine.  It doesn’t seem to me to be a time that most care to reflect on what it is they’re actually celebrating.  Not that most these days would want to.

It’s not a time of the year that evokes any fond childhood memories in me, and in fact aside from the pleasure gained from having learnt some of the more traditional Christmas carols at the state primary school I attended, Christmas then was actually a time of the year that made me feel awkward.  This was because I had to tell those students at school who got all sorts of fabulous gifts for their Christmas that I didn’t get presents from Santa because my family didn’t celebrate Christmas, a completely incomprehensible concept for them.

I saw my first white Christmas yesterday, not that it mattered an iota to me, although it was unusual for an Australian summer.  There was a violent hail-storm over much of Melbourne mid-afternoon.  It was stormy all day, and in fact from first thing, before I got up to go to the gym at 7:30am there had been rolling thunder looming.  I quite enjoyed the tempest, but I was concerned that my car might have been damaged by the hail.  Fortunately mine escaped unscathed, unlike others that I saw had holes through their windscreen in very telling fashion.

Annoyingly, I found my driver side window had been down and a lot of water had come into my car during the storm, which is really weird because generally I don’t leave my windows down when the car is unattended.  Today I’m trying to dry out the car’s interior.

What I did enjoy about yesterday was the quality time my partner Gregory and his children spent with their mother Jennie, giving and opening presents in the morning, and then at lunch with Gregory’s sister Angela and her family.  It’s been a lovely tradition that I’ve shared in over the past four Christmases.

I had to laugh though, earlier in the day, as I went to collect a cake for a Chanukah party this afternoon that I’m helping organise.  I went to Danish Nosh, in Glenhuntly Road, South Caulfield.  It’s a cake shop that sells traditional Jewish / Eastern European cakes and delicacies to a predominantly Jewish / Eastern European clientele.  Disappointingly, the shop was closed today but it was open yesterday on Christmas Day, so I went yesterday.  As I walked in I was greeted with the sound of Christmas Carols on the sound system.  After paying for my pear and cinnamon cake the delightful assistant of Asian background wished me a merry Christmas.  I suspect the irony of her actions escaped her.  It made me chuckle, and made my Christmas Day.