When Biology Doesn't Explain Gay: One Woman's Perspective

I'm getting married in less than two weeks and can't think about much else.

Mostly I worry about:

A) fitting into my dress (cream-colored Indian cotton, tea-length skirt) and

B) how we're going to unload sixty Ikea champagne flutes after the wedding.

But I've also been thinking about my fiancee's brain. And my own.

ABCNEWS.com recently reported on a Swedish study indicating that the brains of gay people are more like the brains of straight people of the opposite sex than they are like straight members of the same sex. The study bolsters the conventional wisdom — popular among gays and straights alike — that homosexuality is not a choice but a physical condition.

In purely reductionist (and slightly facetious) terms, gay men have girl brains and gay women have boy brains.

No kidding. You've seen them, two women maybe, boy brains both, deeply in love. They dress like twins — identically cropped hair, polo shirts, khakis.

But what about when a straight woman's brain falls in love with a gay woman's brain? How to describe. Butch/Femme? That's very old school, almost vintage, which is why Margie and I secretly like the terms. I chose a retro theme for our wedding invites.

Margie and I will be wed in the garden behind our newly renovated (well, not quite, but more on that later) home in the Berkshire foothills in front of about 60 friends and family.

We found the little Massachusetts stone house two years ago. The stocky, tough-talking real estate agent from Boston couldn't believe her luck when she let us in. We walked across the orange shag carpet to the enormous picture windows looking out onto acres of garden, white birch and mountain laurel in a trance.

Our teenaged Bearded Collie grinned widely, lifted one leg and relieved himself against one of the wooden supports before anyone could do anything.

The rarely emotive Margie stood in front of the ski-lodge style fireplace and made an announcement. "I love it! We'll take it! I don't need to see upstairs!"

We did take it, but I still had my job in the city. It became our weekend DIY project. And my weekend escape from the chaos of a difficult work situation. And also escape from a level of commitment ambivalence that made my pulse race, feeding my impulsivity. In the country with Margie, there was no temptation.

I had affairs, though, with men. Eventually, I fled our home and, ironically, through an intense but short-lived relationship with a near-perfect guy, I realized the depth of my love for Margie.

He was attentive, adventurous, smart. I really liked him, but I couldn't love him, because I was already in love.

I'm so glad she wanted me back.

These days my mother and I are creating and revising the wedding menu by phone (she lives in South Carolina), and my dad (who lives in Cleveland) has come through with the cash for my favorite champagne and an extraordinarily difficult-to-book DJ.

Margie's 80-year-old mother, Juanita, is making the trip from the suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio, to sew chair cushions and curtains in preparation for our overnight guests. Margie is her youngest child — her tomboyish baby. Juanita and Margie's older sister knew she was gay before Margie did.

An only child, I gave new meaning to the words eccentric and prissy. I hated wearing pants and didn't get my first pair of jeans until age 12. I cried until my mother sewed lace around the trim of my little white socks. Of all the things she worried about when it came to my future, gayness didn't make the list.

Today I work in New York, writing mostly about health and beauty. Manhattan nurtures my hypochondria, fat-phobia and free-floating angst like no city ever has.

Margie, my foil — an ectomorphic specimen of perfect physical health due to a lifelong preference for an athletic, Spartan lifestyle — is a carpenter and design snob who prefers breathing clean air. Though the odds are against us in this economy, we hope to maintain both residences.

As I type, my beloved — having just finished rebuilding the stone steps — is pouring the concrete for our custom kitchen counter tops. If it was up to me the kitchen would be 100 percent Ikea and completed last year.

But Margie is an artist. Prefab is to carpentry is what MadLibs is to writing; this is something I've had to learn.

She just phoned to ask my opinion (again) about the color she plans to mix in to the concrete. We're really down to the wire (11 days!) and it's hard to keep the tension out of my voice when I tell her not to worry, the dark stain will be fine. But I manage.

I speak softly and soothingly. When we hang up she sounds reassured.

In the early days of our relationship, we screamed at each other like siblings, but I've since learned better.

The way to handle Margie when things get tough is to pretend she is a guy and to "manage" her as such — just like the illustrated 1960s book called something like "Advice and Etiquette for Young Ladies" I once perused on the floor of my grandparent's library. The advice the editors gave was not just for dealing with boys, it was for dealing with boy brains. Who knew?

I've never had an MRI, but I'm pretty sure I have a straight girl brain (if there really is such thing).

What does that mean?

Is orientation a matter of biology for her and a matter of choice for me? I suspect that what we call "orientation" is not much more significant than any general preference. Like hair color, social class, weight or ethnicity. Sure initial drives play a role, but if we truly seek love, we may broaden our prospects if we put aside our preferences once in a while.

At any rate, I question the premise that falling in love is a matter of choice. Love chooses us, it seems.

Yet on the orientation continuum, is Margie "gayer" than I am? Not anymore. I am devoted to her, and in two weeks we will be married, and we (James, our Beardie, makes three) will be a gay little family.

Aina Hunter is a regular health contributor to ABCNEWS.com.

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