When I am overwhelmed by despair and start thinking that no true and loving relationship can ever exist between two men, I think of R.S. and Ma.S who disprove it. I don't know so many people who seem to be such a nice couple as the two of them. To be totally honest, I don't know any at all. It shouldn't be so weird, as apparently the world is full not only of "crashing bores", as Morrissey sings, but also of loving couples - or at least of couples who just play the game of being in love. How can you tell the difference? More often than not you can't, so you soon give up any attempt of separating the tares from the wheat, you grow cynical and take everything and everyone at face value.
Sex and love are like water or any other liquid which take the form of the container they're poured into. So heterosexuals have an easier life if they just want to feign a kind of affection which is all around them: they just have to choose the appropriate bottles and use the traditional forms they're accustomed to. They're generally aknowledged for what is generally known to be a "loving couple". The external shape of their love - whatever that may mean - is taken for granted and is interpreted as such. No need for them to prove anything. Is this sad? Well, the world is full of hypocrisy, so we shouldn't be surprised by one more proof it.
What about a gay man, a gay woman or a gay couple, then? They have to invent the form they want to give to their love. Nothing is already given: whatever you choose is always criticized either by the majority or by some other groups in their very same minority. Every single day their relationship and even their way of being must be renegotiated because of the "liquid" form of this affection which flows away before it can be forced into a fixed form.
So it's quite difficult to find two men (or two women, as far as I can guess, but in this field my experience is even more limited) who are tied to each other and whose relationship isn't only an escape from the world or a temporary solution to their fear of being alone (and lonely). R.S. and Ma.S have always set up an example (and a model) for me. An example I couldn't follow, I'm sorry to say, but an example all the same. They have been my psychological shelter whenever I felt I couldn't make it any longer or when I felt that my own relationship was in danger. Thinking about them and the way they were together has always given me enormous tranquility. It was the home where I could take refuge when I felt the storm outside. Inside there was only peace. On these occasions I've often daydreamed of being in their quiet flat in the "never fashionable" London neighbourhood where they have been living together for so many years now, accepting a mutual commitment which no one should hesitate to call a family. Should I add and confess that I am suffering from a subtle form of envy? No, actually I don't envy anybody, as I am aware of myself and of my limits so I can't really wish I were somebody else that I cannot be. But it's as though at the bottom of my mind there were still an unspoiled personality core which likes being feeded on the delusion of a different life.
Naturally it can be extremely easy to fake love, and the phonier your love, the more convincing it looks in other people's eyes, because when you fake it you use the most obvious outer signs of affection and you just exaggerate them. It's like weeping and mourning at a funeral: lots of tears and of hair-tearing make other people believe that your sorrow is real. If your eyes are dry because you're suffering too much or you're too shy to show it, people may think you're heartless. I remember a male/female couple - as I like to call them: "mixed couples", because nothing can be more mixed than a woman and a man together - who were, oh, so in love. Or at least that was the impression they were giving to me when I met them. Now they have been separated for about one year and they're probably going to get divorced. Moreover their marriage was already under strain and in a deep crisis when I first met them and thought they were really happy. R.S. and Ma.S. never faked anything when I was there. Their love was sober and, therefore, so much more real and intense. They never showed off their mutual affection. They never held hands or cuddled each other, they never called each other with silly names, but despite that - or just because of that - you saw that they did deeply care for each other. Their affection is so true that they don't have to show it off to anybody. They don't need to be approved of.
R.S. and Ma.S. do have friends and R.S. often sends me emails describing their nights out with other people or the visits they pay to each other's relatives. At the same time, though, they haven't corrupted their relationship by having it continuously invaded or tainted by third parties. They don't cherish the so typical claustrophilia of many couples where you can almost breathe stale air when you get in touch with them. And it's often the same claustrophilia that tear these relationships asunder: eventually they must destroy it because they have been breathing stale air for too long and now they need oxygen.
R.S. has always been discreetly kind to me although we met only a few times, unfortunately (London is not around the corner and I haven't got so much time off that I could go to England whenever I'd feel like). Since our first meeting I have felt that I was accepted by Ma.S. too, who did everything to make me feel at ease, following the old motto: a friend of my friend's is a friend of mine too. A rare feat and a special treat: too many times I've had to fight to have friends of mine accepted by other friends or lovers, and on those occasions I've always felt as if I were in the middle of a crossfire.
Finally, I suppose that if gay people should ever be allowed by the law to adopt children, R.S. and Ma.S. would make perfect parents. (True enough, they are my personal antidote against my ever present pessimism).