Dear Tell All: My partner and I recently celebrated our 10th anniversary. At least I think we did. He's not so sure. We're gay, and the Wisconsin government discriminates against us, so it's illegal for us to get married. Because we don't have a wedding date, we can't agree on what our anniversary is. How should gay couples who can't get married celebrate anniversaries?
Having and Holding
Dear Having and Holding: Before I even finished reading your letter, I began to wonder whether the list of gifts traditionally given for anniversaries ought to be updated for gay men like you. Then I perused the list and realized nothing needs changing. What's the traditional gift for the third anniversary? Leather. And how about the fifth? That's right. Wood.
You have a few options. One is to head to the courthouse, in black tie if you prefer, and solemnize your relationship by registering as domestic partners. This will confer only a fraction of the rights and benefits that come with actual marriage, but you boys will definitely have a date to celebrate. Understand, bigots are challenging Wisconsin's domestic-partner registry in court, so your formal attachment may not last the year. Here's a question for etiquette experts. If the government breaks up domestic partners, what's the status of their anniversary?
Another possibility is to celebrate the day you met. But who remembers that? You might be able to piece it together by going through old email, but that seems like a lot of trouble. Besides, we all meet new people constantly. There's nothing special about it. You want to celebrate being committed, not casually acquainted.
Which brings me to my third option. I think it may be perfect for you. Celebrate the date of your first hookup! Yes, for some gay men, that's the same as the day they met. Which is fine. The point is that like straight couples who save it for marriage, you met, and later you had sex, and the sex was an unmistakable sign of your commitment. At least in retrospect.