Possibly the Best Modern Love Essay of the Yearby Chiara Atik on June 18, 2012
Well, it’s another Monday morning, and here I am, crying into my bagel after reading yesterday’s NYT Modern Love essay. In this edition, Dominick Zarrillo is a dad who struggles with the fact that his son and his son’s long-term partner aren’t legally allowed to enjoy (or even not enjoy!) marriage the way he and his wife have been able to. A topic which, obviously, most left-leaning, city-dwelling readers of the New York Times are going to be sympathetic towards (myself included).
Modern Love has covered the issue of gay marriage before, and it’s an issue which I already feel so staunchly in support of that I really didn’t think this particular essay would do anything for me other than to reinforce an already entrenched belief.
But this essay is written by a dad. And, not to stereotype, but a dad who was in the Navy. A dad who lives in New Jersey. A dad who, according to his author bio at the bottom of the page, has worked in the tire industry for 23 years. So, (again, not to stereotype) a dad who maybe isn’t the first person you’d imagine writing an essay in support of gay marriage in the Modern Love series of the New York Times. (Totally stereotyped there, I’m sorry.)
Most of all, he’s a dad who isn’t afraid to stand up to bullies on behalf of his son.
“My wife and I went to dinner one night with another couple, some people we knew pretty well, and the subject of Jeff and Paul came up. The guy said: ‘I don’t believe in gay marriage. I think it’s wrong.’
That’s all he said, but I almost lost my mind. I wanted to smash my dinner plate in his face. My vision dimmed while long-buried emotions rushed back: my little son, all alone, being picked on by bullies, being told he couldn’t walk the same path home because they said so.
Why couldn’t people just treat him with respect? I’m sure this guy isn’t a bad person, and no one would consider him a creep or a bully, but I stood up and left that table and have not spoken to him since.”
Oh man, don’t you feel for this guy? The “Why couldn’t people just treat him with respect?” kills me.
It just goes to prove that gay marriage isn’t a young issue, or an old issue, or a liberal issue, or a conservative issue, and it isn’t even a gay issue.
It’s a human issue. No stereotyping required.
*My one complaint? What the heck does this illustration have to do with the essay? I can’t figure it out. It looks like someone is checking his head for lice.