The Kind of Asshole That Doesn’t Leave
I often travel with my brother who happens to be gay. We are an odd couple and have unusual experiences related to being a nontraditional couple on tour along with many married men and women and other couples. We could pass as husband and wife and are usually mistaken as such when we travel, much to my brother’s dismay since he is perpetually on the prowl and would hate for anyone to think he was married to me. I started to travel with my brother as a result of my marriage ending so I prefer to present as single as well. People we meet along the way are initially confused about our relationship status as it’s clear we are not a pair who is romantically involved. He is only four years older so we look like we could be married. I don’t travel well alone due to my disability, and my brother and I have worked out a system for everything related to supporting me and keeping me safe along the way. He is outspoken and not shy about relating how we came to be traveling the world together to fellow travelers and service people we encounter.
We were at a historic, 5 star spa hotel outside of St. Moritz, Switzerland two years ago. The hotel concierge was a bit smitten with me. He was a dignified professional, but when my brother told him he wasn’t my husband but rather my brother and was on the trip with me because my husband had left me, he blurted out “What kind of an asshole would leave that beautiful woman?” He quickly caught himself using profane language at the front desk and was embarrassed. He told my brother he was going to set up a fancy lunch for us at the top of the slopes at St. Moritz that my stupid husband would end up paying for.
There are many peculiarities associated with traveling with a gay man as a straight woman. He has taught me things about being single that I would never have figured out on my own such as changing my location on my OKCupid profile in order to get dates in whatever country or city we are visiting. (See “The One 1 Night Stand”) On that trip to Amsterdam, we figured out how to best share the single hotel room we shared so I could hook up with someone I met on OKCupid. Through a cleverly timed system of text messages, we were able to work that out. He is more experienced in casual hookups, having been single all his life as opposed to the few years I have been at it. I was fortunate to be traveling with a man, not my husband or boyfriend, when I went on dates in Amsterdam for safety purposes. Both of us usually notice attractive men at the same time, then we try to figure out which team they are playing on. He is expert at surreptitiously snapping photos of cute guys with his cell phone and has given me tips on doing so. I don’t know, is this a gay thing? The photos are like souvenirs. It is fun to send them to friends back home as evidence of the wonderful sights we see. I recently sent so many to one friend from Italy that she didn’t believe I had traveled abroad until I sent her photos of some landscapes and monuments as well. She pointed out that I could be lying about going to Italy when she received only pictures of handsome Italian men.
Sometimes I feel like my gay brother is a brother and a sister rolled into one. He can represent the heavy brother figure to guys I go out with, and give fashion and decorating advice when we are shopping. We are truly lucky to have each other to go on adventures with. Unlike a husband, my brother will never bail out of our relationship.