“So, um, do you want to put your arms around me?” I asked.
There was a code for all of the other couples posing for formal pictures. If the two people were in a serious relationship, the one with the dress went directly in front with two arms around her waist. Andrew and I were serious, but the problem was we were both wearing ties. Though my jittery indecisiveness and Andrew’s inability to say much else beyond “Well I don’t know, you choose!” didn’t exactly lend itself to the carefree spirit all of the other students embodied, we eventually figured it out.
My friends all comment on how cute our pose is, our right hands in our pockets with his left on my hip. But my favorite part of the picture will always be our two genuinely delighted smiles.
There are certain upsides to having a boyfriend instead of a girlfriend -- our idea of romance being synonymous with chips and video games -- but they just don’t make up for the reality that standard high school social settings don’t often have room for two boys who want to be together. Whether its that eating out leaves Andrew and me fighting over whose job it is to pay the check, or that neither of us can decide if we should go to Sadie Hawkins, the limitless number of ‘straight rules’ teenagers follow leave us needing to ad lib.
And just like I’ve need to adapt to fully participate in the high school experience, I’m going to need to continue to adapt to get the most out of life. If I am confident about anything, it’s that I want to be a dad. And while I have realized that being married will expose me to more "straight rules" than any other role, I’m positive the past few years of living as openly gay have equipped me to deal with it. I may hate the idea of any guy proposing to another guy by getting down on one knee, but I know myself well enough to be sure I’ll find a creative way around it.
I don’t know what I’ll do if my doctor or landlord or PTA chair doesn’t like my particular kind of family, but I’m not insecure enough to let that spoil my dream of raising sons and daughters. Ultimately, I know I can handle being one of two dads, it will just require a little ingenuity and impromptu thinking.