My Savage night
On Saturday night, we were feeling like the epitome of the old married couple – slightly bored and desperate to get out, but having no clever ideas of where to go. After much thought and hand-wringing we decided on dinner and a movie. (Feel free to copy that brilliant idea but make sure to mentally thank me when you do.)
After eating dinner at our favourite sushi restaurant, we headed downtown and grabbed some movie tickets. Since we still had an hour before the movie was to start, we window shopped to kill some time. Unfortunately by the time we made our way back to the theatre, the only available seats were in the very front row. Apparently we had severely underestimated how many other people want to get out of their houses on a Saturday night. And based on our experience out in the world so far, frankly we weren’t sure why.
We were grumpy enough about this to actually get back in the giant line-up at the movie theatre and get a refund for our tickets. Defeated, we started to meander back to the train station to go home. As we approached Granville Street, John casually said “Isn’t that Dan Savage show on tonight?”
Just in case you don’t know, Dan Savage writes the sex and relationship advice column Savage Love, which is found in independent weekly newspapers around North America and many other parts of the world. He is perhaps best known in the wider culture for starting the It Gets Better campaign in an effort to tackle the high rate of suicide among gay teens. He is also an opinionated voice in politics and isn’t afraid to froth up controversy. In short – he is awesome.
We had seen a poster for his show a few weeks earlier but hadn’t really pursued it, mostly because we are cheap. Some subconscious part of my brain pulled up the knowledge that the show was at the Vogue theater – which was just down the street from us – and my shame at slinking home at 8:15pm on a Saturday night gave me the motivation to say “let’s head down there and check it out.” Which we did, despite some skeptical looks from John.
The area around the theater was completely empty (bad sign) but the box-office was open (good sign). I asked the woman behind the glass whether the show had started and if tickets were available. She said they were just getting started as they were running late and yes, tickets were still available. Then she said she had two single tickets that had not been picked up from will-call that she could give me for free. They were not together but both were great seats – one in the second row, the other in the front row of the balcony. Umm, yes please! I was so taken aback that I didn’t even thank the woman with the profuseness warranted; I was expecting someone to take the tickets away from me at any moment so I just wanted to get inside immediately. HOLY CRAP, WE JUST WALKED RIGHT INTO FREE TICKETS TO SEE DAN SAVAGE!
John, knowing of my political and intellectual hard-on for Savage, let me have the second-row seat. I stumbled in the dark to find it as the show had already started and then proceeded to grin for the next two hours while he answered audience submitted questions.
He was brilliant live, as I knew he would be. Smart, witty, heart-felt. While I do not relate to his advice on foot fetishes and nipple clamps, I find his views on relationships to be a breath of fresh air in a world that feeds us a lot of bullshit about the nature of love. Here are some of my favourite philosophies of relationships according to Dan Savage:
- There is no settling down without settling for. Or like he said at the show “There is no ‘the one’ – there are hundreds of thousands of potential ‘ones’ out there – or more like 0.64’s that you round up to one.”
- Relationships come with a price of admission. That price might be a partner who never picks his socks up off the floor or it might be one with an insatiable desire for pies being shoved in his face (this is apparently an actual fetish, basically anything you can imagine being fetish-ized, is – along with a lot of things you can’t.) Ask yourself at the outset if that’s a price worth paying for all the lovely things that person brings into your life and if it is, then accept it.
- Sexual exclusivity shouldn’t be the cornerstone of marriage. You only have to look at the high rates of infidelity (or Newt Gingrich) to see how hard it is to meet this requirement for four or five decades of marriage. Savage’s suggestion of sexual openness in marriage is often interpreted as disrespectful to the institution and threatening its very core, but he argues that his is actually a very conservative view: he wants marriages to last. And allowing a little bit of sexual freedom – even if just in theory – might preserve a wonderful marriage that provides emotional support, raises children, and otherwise makes you very happy. I should also add that Savage is all for monogamy when it works (as it does for us) and believes you should keep that promise once you make it – but does question the weight placed on monogamy over everything else. Read more on that here.
- People who are in long-term, exclusive relationships are allowed to find other people attractive. Contrary to popular opinion, being in love does not obliterate all of your other senses and feelings; while you are a living, breathing human being, you will find other people attractive and admitting that’s ok might just make you a little more sane.
The underlying message is one of realistic expectations, hopefully leading to more honest and lasting relationships. Many of these topics are entire posts on their own and I may not have explained them sufficiently in my summary, but I’m curious to hear your reactions.
(Click image for source).