Guests of the Inner Sanctum

Guest of the Inner Sanctum: Kevin Struggles with “Intercultural” Relationship

It’s been a while since my buddy, Kevin Purcell has been round these parts but NOW I know why…he got himself a girlfriend. — Christelyn

Kevin Purcell

People say “you can’t help what you’re attracted to,” and I guess that’s true. It seems irrational and unfair that I would never date a man, for example. Numerically it makes almost no sense to automatically disqualify half the human population when the goal is to find the one person (and if you’re the soulmate type, there is only literally one person) who will fulfill your every emotional, spiritual and physical need from now until the day you die. But I just can’t do it. We can arrange a meeting, do the awkward introduction, make the smalltalk over food we pretend to like, split a dessert, maybe a nightcap, make out a little bit in his car, but I’m ashamed to say, because of my in-built prejudices, that’s as far as it’s going to go. I’m not going to end up with a man. I just can’t see myself spending the rest of my life kissing someone with a mustache. And a penis. I don’t know how my girlfriend does it.I forgot to lead with: I have a girlfriend. For the 100% of you who don’t know me, I should say this is a new development. It’s the end result of an arduous process involving lots of online blind dates, patience drawn from a sadly finite well and exhaustion. It took me a bit, but I was finally able to wear her down. I think it had something to do with my romantic sensibility and my basic human decency. Or that, by the time she had gotten around to meeting me, she had met so many people, she was less on the “soulmate” search and more on the “not a practicing cannibal” track. It was lucky for me I gave it up when I did. Kismet.And oh! I also should have led with this, especially considering the venue: we are an interracial couple. Well, OK, not in the strict sense of “interracial.” For instance, we’re not of difference races. Sometimes she uses that topical bronzer, but melanin-wise, we are strictly speaking a couple of white people.

We’re more intercultural than interracial. You see, she’s a vegan. Not from Las Vegas, I mean a no-meat, no-dairy, no-eggs type of person. Yes, I will grant you that a subculture carries far fewer built-in strictures when it’s an opt-in proposition. I guess in that way it’s more along the lines of interfaith than interracial, but I would argue it’s a lot more important than religion. We’re talking about food, after all. Taste-able, tangible, life-giving food. Jesus I’ve never seen whereas I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stared down a cheeseburger. I can only speculate how it would go with Jesus, but it usually ends poorly for the cheeseburger.

We don’t get the stares or the obvious, poorly thought out questions that an interracial couple might get. Honestly, with the things they can do with wheat gluten or chick peas or, yes, tofu these days, to look at our plates in a restaurant, you’d never know. We can almost pass.

The challenges come from the interpersonal dynamics. All relationships require some kind of compromise and letting go, but ours are very specific. For instance, I’ll never get to show her my hard-won souffle-making skills; there’s just no good vegan substitute for egg whites. From her side, I’m an active participant in the sadistic torture and slaughter of a large percentage of the world’s living things and the destruction of global environment to sustain unsustainable meat production. We give and we take. But to be honest, I’ve seen the animal-plight factory farm videos. I’m kind of on her side. She’s right to be conflicted.

It seems an unlikely pairing, but you can’t help what you’re attracted to. Normally in online dating profiles, that’s an eraser phrase to explain away why you won’t date, say, fat people or Mexicans. For us, it’s just an acknowledgement of operating in spite of challenges. There are difficulties to overcome, which makes it exactly like 100% of all of other relationships, ever. So far, I’m happy to report, it is working. My therapist says don’t question it, just see where it goes. And to that I usually say you have to expect that kind of analysis if you’re going to choose a therapist based primarily on a price point.


The End.

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