“So how did you and Mitchell meet?” I asked Ursula. We were seated in an oversized booth at a lounge she had picked, sipping cocktails. It was early, and the place was still quiet.
“College,” she began. “We were both theater geeks, and we had a playwriting class together. He had long hair and wore a tie every day. Even with t-shirts. I thought he was sooo cool.” She laughed. “I can’t really fault him for that, though. I had a shaved head. I was all ‘Shock me, shock me, shock me with that deviant behavior’.”
“You just quoted ‘Empire Records’,” I said. “I love it.”
“I love that you knew that. So Mitchell and I were both pretentious and deeply insecure. We spent the first few months trying to impress each other with how dark and weird we were. That’s when the botched threesome happened. Neither one of us wanted to admit that we weren’t into it. We did afterward, though, and that’s when we really started to get to know each other. Then Mitchell started getting into comedy, and joined an improv group, and that’s where he met Ben. The rest, as they say, is history.”
“I have a question, and if it’s too personal, feel free to say so,” I said. “When I first met Ben, he said that you and Mitchell don’t really have a label on your relationship, even though you’ve been together for like ten years. What’s the deal with that?”
“Not too personal at all! I just don’t see the point. Neither one of us wants to get married or have kids. We’ve been together so long that I feel ridiculous calling him my ‘boyfriend,’ you know? We live together. We love each other. As long as both of us are happy, that’s good enough for me.”
“Do you think you guys are going to spend the rest of your lives together?” I asked.
“Who knows? People grow and evolve over time, and their needs change. We might not be right for each other five years from now.”
The more Ursula and I talked, the more her position made sense to me, in a way. From her perspective, she and Mitchell have a relationship that allows both of them to be exactly who they are, without expectations or pressure to be anything else. I mean, I couldn’t do it, but I also want different things out of life. I want to get married, and have kids, and enjoy the stability that comes with a real, pledged commitment. And from what Ben has told me, Mitchell sometimes wishes that Ursula’s free spirit were a little less free. So it’s not perfect. But what is, really?
We spent the rest of the night talking about where we grew up, what our families are like, and what we want in the future. It was easy, interesting and fun, and at the end of it, I really felt like Ursula and I were becoming friends, independent of Ben and Mitchell. And it feels good. It’s been quite a while since I made a new girlfriend.
Posted at 9:04 AM