I mentioned this in passing to Jeff the other day, and have been thinking about it off and on; I know it’s a subject I’ve seen discussed elsewhere, and it’s not even necessarily unique to gay and lesbian couples, though that’s the context in which I’ve most often considered it and seen it considered:
When you can’t (or choose not to) get married, how do you determine your anniversary date? Is it the first time you go out together, the first time you kiss, the first time you have sex (yes, I realize that these sometimes are all the same), the date you move in together, something else, or perhaps even something less specific and tangible?
From my own current relationship, for example, I have only a sense that we’ve “been together” about half a year, but not really a specific date from which to count. Frankly, because of the way we met and began spending time together, there’s not even a clear unequivocal first date. The first time we met in person was to go to see the Kinsey Sicks on June 22 last year [update: it was actually June 21, as Jeff gently corrects; the 22nd was when I blogged about it], and we even had coffee and dessert together afterwards, but I went home unsure if it really was a “date.” In fact, because Jeff was so quiet that evening, I came home wondering if he’d even had a good time with me, or whether he’d liked or disliked me.
Before that, we’d been commenting to each other’s journals, and afterwards turned to emailing, IMing and phoning, but even by our second outing on July 16 to Screen on the Green, to which I even packed a picnic supper (heh, I even bought the picnic basket especially for the occasion), I experienced Jeff still as either shy, reticent or aloof. Even the social goodbye peck on the cheek I attempted felt awkward.
By the time of my birthday just two weeks later, though, things definitely felt different. The weekend immediately prior we saw a frenzy of films in what was starting to feel very much like a series of dates. It also was around that same time that we started sleeping together. After a party the first weekend of August, in which some friends of mine asked about the nature of our relationship and we sort of looked at each other and shrugged, within a few days we were acknowledging the “boyfriends” word among the two of us and by the 11th we were both comfortable enough to post publicly that we were “dating.”
It’s not really clear precisely when Jeff moved in, either. It just happened gradually, first weekends, then a few nights a week, then pretty much going home only to get a change of clothes. He still has his apartment down town, though he hasn’t spent a night there in at least a few months.
So, until we have a more definitive marker, my gut says that we’ve been together since sometime in July, and that this month, then, is the half-year point. For wedding anniversaries, the traditional gift for one year is paper, while the modern gift allegedly is plastics (!). When next July rolls around, though, what’s the appropriate gift for our one-year relationship?