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.