Editor's Note: Guest blogger Zack Rosen is a Chicago native currently living in Washington, DC. A recently downsized reporter, he enjoys running, cheap puns and defending ELO and Steely Dan to non-believers. He currently lives in Adams Morgan with his dream guy. He is the first full-time employee of The New Gay, an online resource for alternative queer events and ideas.
"You do realize," my boyfriend said, staring aghast at the splayed-out body beneath me, "that if you go through with this it will be a long time before I let you kiss me."
I looked first at my boyfriend -- the beautiful brown eyes, salt and pepper hair, double-wide shoulders-- then back down at our point of contention, which was lying face up and legs in the air. The stench, hot and salty and sweet at the same time, tickled me somewhere deep inside. I'd known a time would come when the very core of our relationship would be tested like this, but there was still no easy way out. I wanted both. But I couldn't have both.
My boyfriend makes me so happy. We could spend three days straight together and still have things to talk about in bed on a Sunday night. But a relationship can't give you everything. The opportunity cost can be so overwhelming that you focus on nothing but what you're giving up. And after a year of snubbing my baser urges, the object of most verboten fantasy had presented itself under my own ample nose. I had to choose.
I hadn't partaken in the flesh for so long. Our life together made no room for it. But at that moment, for the first time in 12 months, in the middle of an otherwise perfect vacation, I wanted it.
Relationships are so scary. You're not a person anymore; you're a unit. You think and move and make decisions as two. But that's not actually what's frightening. The moments of disquiet come when you realize there are some areas when you will always be two individuals. That the things you want are not the things he wants. That they might be diametrically opposed.
Do you become something you're not for the sake of the team? Or do you pursue selfishness? Do you listen to yourself at the expense of what makes you happy?
What was being offered to me was something that, when I was single, I didn't even realize I desired. I just took it. It was always available and I didn't think twice about it. From my earliest memories of my parents' dinner table to my first date with a guy , the tempter had been so prevalent that I never even noticed it unfurling from the branch in front of me. And now I was forced to confront over, of all places, a picnic table.
I didn't have to give it up, per se, when we got together. But he lives his life a different way. A way that I preferred. He did all the cooking. I hated that aspect of domestic life, but loved to reap its benefits. I was more than happy to let him do the dirty work and for me clean up after.
When I was out solo, I would actually go looking for meat. Sometimes I even found it. But it was not as satisfying as I remembered. Sometimes it was gristley. Once at an Indian restaurant I had to spit it into my napkin. But still I told myself "You're doing this for you. You like this."
Now here I was, after so much time, the stakes raised so high, and I decided to do what gave me the immediate gratification. My boyfriend wouldn't be happy about it but he would live. And I would go back to my normal life where a situation such as this one would never even be possible.
"Goddamnit," I muttered to myself, "Of all the guys in DC, why did I fall in love with a vegetarian?"
And then I ate the lobster, just like everyone else at my boyfriend's family reunion. It was delicious.