Jodi’s birthday is in two days (though believe me, she’s all about claiming the whole week. I jokingly resist her efforts but the truth is she’s definitely worthy of a week’s celebration, especially since the Divine Miss M is still living at home after informing us this weekend that grounding her was not going to do any good because “you’re not always going to win.” Mother of God, let us all survive her teenage years and overlook the fact I begrudgingly admire that kid’s moxie). Anyway, the upcoming birthday was why I found myself in the card aisles at Target this morning. Given the timing, she obviously competes with another holiday and the birthday card displays are currently a tad diminished. I quickly found sections for husband, mom, dad, aunt, nephew, etc. but couldn’t find wife. In my search, I stumbled onto the Anniversary cards. I wouldn’t have even stopped since that’s not the occasion we’re about to celebrate (yet) but something caught my eye. In the midst of the usual individual card descriptors – funny, romantic, “for wife”, “for parents” – I did a double take when I saw “Two Women in Love.”
Turns out, there were two cards there for lesbian couples celebrating their anniversary. Huh. I assume there were some for men as well, but I didn’t search. I was a little stunned, to be honest. And also, my eyes got suspiciously watery. I’m going to assume my allergies were going temporarily awry rather than consider that equality makes me hideously sappy. Apparently these cards are old news to some but I somehow missed it.
You might not notice but it is very difficult to buy a greeting card that does not include some kind of heterosexual reference. For example, there will be an image of a couple’s hands – one male and one female. Or a card with words and a silhouetted couple in the background – one male and one female. Less often but still ubiquitous, some written reference to male/female or his/her in the wording. I certainly do not think these cards are in any way wrong or should be changed, but I have always yearned for the addition of cards for us. Though we have long been able to order such cards online, that would require planning ahead and well, it was an accomplishment I was buying them with two days to spare (in my defense, Jodi is the same way). But lo and behold, there the cards were today in a major store … although, one was a little humorous.
Almost every person who has ever come out has had the experience of at least one extremely well-meaning friend or family member trying to show they’re supportive but ending up going way over the top. It’s lovely, really, but also funny. Recently, a friend described this happening at her sister’s wedding not long after the friend came out to her parents. As she walked away from a table of relatives at the reception, some random family member blurted out, completely out of context, “I loved Will & Grace and Jack was my favorite character!” Um, well, alright then. Not so smooth obviously, but that person’s intentions were golden. Awkward yes, but incredibly endearing.
Target, or more specifically the card maker, gave me the same thought today as I picked up one of the “Two Women in Love” cards. Again, these cards were for an anniversary – a couple already joined in some commitment strong enough to celebrate it annually. Yet, the outside of the card said, in big curly script, “Girl loves Girl.” I all but snorted when I saw it. Jodi and I won’t have our first anniversary until next May but I’m pretty sure, since it is an anniversary we’ll be celebrating, we kind of know our respective genders. It would be a little weird for me to give her a card that declares “Girl loves Girl.”
But they’re trying, bless their hearts. Awkward yes, but incredibly endearing. So, thank you, Target – and Hallmark, who I learned today also sells cards for same-sex couples. It’s hard to describe how marvelous something as simple as acknowledgment feels.