The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


The Brad Effect

OK, so the Bradley Effect failed to materialize in the presidential election.

Voters didn’t tell pollsters they favored the black guy while secretly pulling the lever for the white guy. But could a similar factor have affected the outcome of Proposition 8 in California? How else to explain the decisive victory by opponents of same-sex marriage in defiance of the polls?

Let’s call it the Brad Effect.

I first became aware of this insidious phenomenon on a post-election, post-mortem walk with my friend, Bobbie. We were both disappointed that Prop. 8 won, but felt more inclined to hope than riot. After all, opposition to same-sex marriage was considerably less than the last time voters weighed in on the fate of the formalwear industry.

“Besides,” Bobbie added. “All of my gay friends are saying, ‘What’s the big deal about marriage?’ They feel pressured to get married as a political act.”

Aha! The Catholic and Mormon churches have a secret ally.

Imagine Brad and Jeff prior to the recent election. They’ve been together practically forever, since before Crate and Barrel had an online wedding registry.

As they prepare dinner, they discuss a suitable present for their friends, Amy and Susan, who are getting married next weekend. Brad laments that they no longer have any time to themselves. Ever since the California Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to marry, their weekends have been taken up by non-stop weddings.

“Yeah,” Jeff laughs as he rinses the arugula. “Wouldn’t it be great to just lounge around all day in our sweats again instead of having to dress up?”

Then, he casually says to Brad, “So . . .  now that we can . . .  you want to tie the knot?”

Brad, who is taking the salmon off the grill, accidentally sears his fingers.

“Ouch!” he yelps, playing for time as he runs cool water over his burned flesh.

Brad recovers quickly. “But we’ve always vowed that we don’t need a piece of paper to affirm our love!”

“Of course you’re right,” Jeff agrees. “But you know, my grandmother isn’t going to last forever. Can’t we do it for her?”

Brad stammers, “I dunno. . . I. . . I  . . . just don’t feel . . .  ready.”

“Don’t you love me anymore?” quavers Jeff.

“Oh, sweetheart, of course I do!”

Brad campaigns tirelessly for the rights of gays and lesbians to say, “I do.” So tirelessly, in fact, that he and Jeff somehow never make it down to City Hall to fill out the forms and stand before a beaming clerk who pronounces them spouses for life. There will be time for that once the scourge of inequality is defeated by fair-minded Californians come Election Day.

Meanwhile, Brad is increasingly irked by how Jeff squeezes the toothpaste tube. He wonders if he really has found the love of his life. Worse, Brad’s mother keeps asking when she should make her reservations, and what Jeff’s mother will be wearing.

What has he gotten himself into?

But, of course, Brad can’t say a word.

The only thing saving him from eternal wedded bliss is the secret ballot.

After the election, Brad and Jeff join the crestfallen and angry throngs protesting outside City Hall.

“Don’t worry, our time is coming,” Brad whispers to Jeff as he raises his fist and hoists his placard. “People just aren’t ready yet.”

It may take awhile to stamp out homophobia.

But the fear of commitment?

Everybody—man, woman, gay, straight, liberal, conservative, atheist, and born-again—can at last agree on something: the Brad Effect will be even harder to overcome.

By Lorrie Goldin

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