You might enter into a same-sex relationship thinking you know all the troubles that lie ahead. Discrimination, rejection by family and friends, spending eternity in hell - none of that is news.
But I'll bet you never considered the bundle of difficulties caused by being in a relationship with someone who's a lot like you. Someone with whom you share everything from chromosomes to conditioner.
Here's an example of what I mean: My partner and I have the same name. Her first name is Anne, which is also my middle name. It took me a while to get comfortable saying her name. I felt like I was calling myself and having attacks of egomania.
Opposite-sex couples can experience this trouble too, of course. A woman named Jordan can marry a man named Jordan, or a Jean can connect with a Gene. But the chances of twin names are much increased with gay couplings.
We all know a Mike and a Mike, or a Sarah and a Sarah. The other day I heard a lesbian couple referred to as "the Rachels." Anyone who's adamant about maintaining individuality might have to rethink this gay thing.
I suppose preventive action is a possibility. A lesbian could legally change her name before starting a relationship, pick a name that no other woman is likely to share. Like Augustina. Or Pittsburgh. Or Cementmixer.
Then there's the issue of clothing. Back when I was in a straight relationship, my boyfriend was too tall and too male to borrow my clothes.
Now, all bets are off.
Anne has borrowed everything from bras to hats. She so covets a shirt of mine she whimpers a little when I wear it. I'll soon know what it means to give someone the shirt off my back.
She and I aren't the same size, nor do we have identical taste. For these reasons, I know my entire wardrobe won't go missing.
But I can imagine what it must be like for, say, a femme couple with similar proportions where one woman is constantly pilfering and the other can never find what she planned to wear. On a morning when the latter can locate nothing to wear to work but pumps and a nightgown, the fur will fly.
I'd be remiss if I didn't note that sometimes it's a boon, clothing-wise, to be in a same-sex couple. You can double your wardrobe. But only if you have like builds and taste. I suppose there are women out there who assess a potential partner for kindness, respect and to-die-for pencil skirts.
Turning to accessories, our friend Susan recently told Anne and me that she has begun carrying a purse again. The problem is, her partner Joyce uses a purse that looks the same. Now each woman can find herself leaving the house with the wrong life.
Straight couples don't have this trouble.
On another subject, while anti-gay activists argue that male and female genitalia were meant to go together, they're ignoring a more compelling biological argument. Two women going through menopause should never live together.
Between us, Anne and I have every menopause symptom going. When she's having a hot flash, I'm too busy obsessing over my weight gain to notice, let alone sympathize. In straight households where the woman is experiencing menopause, it's the man's job to be sympathetic - when he isn't driving his girlfriend around in his new Ferrari.
Anne and I don't get sympathy, but we aren't being cheated on, so I guess it's a wash. Overall, though, I feel it's only right for young people to be alerted to the complications inherent in same-sex relationships. If the prospect of hell doesn't scare twinks, the prospect of sharing hair gel might.