Wednesday, March 08, 2006

As the old saying goes...

...you can't make this stuff up!

The New York Times has a lengthy article on what they call "mixed-orientation" marriages. The first few paragraphs explain what the phenomena is. Paragraphs four and five cite some statistics that seem to try and convince the reader that this phenomenon of gay men (or, as the Times calls them, "men who have sex with men") married to women isn't as rare as the reader might first think.

Paragraphs six, seven and eight try to give some historical context, citing some famous gay men, past and present, who have been married to women. These are only anecdotal and hardly indicative of some burgeoning national trend. In paragraph nine, however, they do acknowledge that anything resembling exact numbers just aren't available.

They then quote a research anthropologist from Rutgers University, Helen Fisher, who says that, "human partnerships are shaped by three independent neurochemical brain-body systems, responsible respectively for sexual attraction, romantic yearning and long-term attachment." Ms. Fisher (I assume she does not hold a Ph.D. else the Times would have referred to her as Dr.) tells the reader that these "three independent systems help explain why people can be wildly sexually attracted to those they have no romantic interest in, and romantically drawn to — or permanently attached to — people who hold no sexual interest."

The article then continues on with a discussion of whether or not women who enter such relationships are truly deceived or if they are, in fact, deceiving themselves. They also cite what statistics are available on the success or failure of such marriages.

I have to admit, the article is pretty even-handed. It does attempt to show both sides while not condemning such unions. This is more than I expected from the Gray Lady.

But the real shocker is how the Times chooses to end the article. They finish with a look at one such "mixed-orientation" marriage. The last five paragraphs informs the reader of the marriage of Paulette and Jerry Cormack from (where else?) California (sorry, Nick!).

First let me invoke another old saying: "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt." Here's how the Times describes Mrs. Cormack's view of her "marriage":

For 34 years, Mrs. Cormack said in an interview, she has known that although she and her husband are sexually active together, his erotic desires otherwise focus almost exclusively on men. "It's not easy, but I truly do love him," Mrs. Cormack said.

As if that weren't pathetic enough (pathetic in the sense that Mrs. Cormack is deserving of sympathy) here's the last paragraph of the article:

He added: "I am totally committed on all levels to Paulette. I felt so intimate with her when I was caring for her during her cancer treatments — to me, that's a stronger expression of love than whether I'm having anonymous sex with a man." (emphasis added)

How can I possibly expound on such an extraordinary attitude?

1 comment:

sailornaruto39 said...

I don't think Jerry's marriage was that strange. He could just be bi or homofleixble. Though I'm surprised there wasn't more discussion on that article especially that part of it.