A Gay in the Life: I scream for ice cream

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A few weeks ago we'd hit a bit of a dry spell. It happens. (Granted, we each define "dry spell" quite differently. It's a week for me, and — well, I don't know. A lot longer for him.) I knew hitting the hay that night was going to be just that, so I invited our favorite gay couple over for a TV night: Ben & Jerry.

They never care what we watch, so between our lack of cable, my boyfriend's love of solid easy-to-watch comedies and his week-long headache, I popped in Season 8 of Beverly Hills 90210. Even though he's not really a fan of the show, you don't want to laugh too much when your head's hurting, so I thought that'd be best.

We hadn't seen Ben or Jerry in some time, so the night with them was flying. One of them, I don't remember which, was wearing the most delightful java, chocolate and toffee-colored ensemble, and the other showed up in a new peanut butter-colored top. They looked great. But they must have been going out that night or grown tired of the show, because about halfway through they just disappeared.

But I didn't mind. By that point I didn't feel much like talking. I'd practically eaten up everything our friends had to offer, so I was pretty relaxed — and it didn't seem like my boyfriend was as worried about his headache by the time they'd left, even with Jerry's eau de aphrodisiac toilette still lingering in the air. Ben and Jerry had brought us a lot of chocolate, and something about it struck my boyfriend's fancy. Or maybe he just couldn't take another second of 90210.

Either way, he leaned over — very casually — and informed me that he was ready to hit the hay. And that it wasn't "just that."

I don't remember turning the television off, and I still don't know if everything worked out between Brandon and Kelly on the episode. There were no further headaches that night, our "dry spell" ended and I added Ben & Jerry to my speed dial.

Afterwards neither of us needed to know what the other was thinking. We just stayed in bed and read some comic books, checked our e-mail or turned on the PS3 to play a video game or something. Sure, I may have stock in ice cream now...

But we're just guys.

Like most gay couples, my boyfriend and I have been asked which of us is "the girl" in our relationship.

It's less offensive to me than the "who's on top?" favorite, because I suppose it's normal for most straight people to hetero-ize "gay relationships" to make sense of them, and it doesn't necessarily mean they're trying to picture us naked and lube-lathered. "The girl" could mean a lot of things.

Still, it's a question I've never really known how to answer. The only difference between our relationship and any heterosexual one is that we're both men. In my mind, I'm no more in a "comic book fan relationship" or a "white relationship" than in a gay one.

But society starts gender-branding almost as soon as we're born: girls in pink, boys in blue, Carrot Top in... well, who knows what, and it continues into childhood with the Barbie-for-girls, Tonka-for-boys Happy Meals. What if I wanted both? What's Barbie supposed to drive? Ken's busy lookin' at G.I. Joe, and girl has to shop, become a ballerina, move to Malibu and make some Bratz feel bad about their enormous heads.

But depending on who you are and whether or not I've had my Diet Coke, I'll probably attempt an answer. In some ways I'm the girl — and in others, he is. He'd rather see Prince of Persia, and I'm Sex in the City 2. But whereas I just want to know what's become of my favorite characters, he can name every designer Carrie's wearing in the film. (We saw the sequel. I won.)

And as for which one of us usually "has a headache," it's more likely to be him. I don't hold it against him. It's just that I'd do it anywhere, any time, at least twice — and after six years, it's better than ever — which means that so is my, well, drive. Which brings me to ice cream.

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