Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Convivial hire

After yet another instance of GB* and I expressing the same snide thought at the same time with the same exasperated intonation, I remarked that we should push for what he cleverly called a ‘convivial hire.’ Tweaking the spirit of spousal hires, this would be a case of ‘take me, take my platonic partner.’ What a good idea – to have institutions recognize and acknowledge that that a marriage (or a common-law relationship) isn't the sole source of vital intellectual and emotional support. Families are formed from connections beyond blood or binding legal agreements; we choose our friends as carefully (even more so, in some cases) as we do our romantic partners, and my core friendships are lasting longer than many marriages. In the wake of a professionalization workshop last year one of my professors asked what else should be included when they run the seminar again, and I suggested broadening the range of advice to address precisely this. “What,” I asked, “do you do if you don’t have a partner trailing after you?” I was told that things were much easier in that respect. Easier when negotiating a contract, yeah, but when allowances aren’t made for the other ties that bind everything else is harder. Restarting your life is tricky enough; when doing it alone, taking leave of the people with whom you have weathered everything that has gone before, it becomes even more difficult. Sure, GB and I could get married as convenient lark, but I’d step out on him eventually and adultery is so 2005.

*He needs a pseudonym and is not content with Gay Boyfriend. The initials stick until inspiration strikes.


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