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The Stability of Stability

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As I sit before my computer on Valentine's Day Eve, I've been thinking about couples that will celebrate another Valentine's Day together tomorrow. When Woody Baldwin thought of that idea of inviting older gay men to that first event in Boston, he was probably thinking of those who might not have a special person in their lives to be the recipient of a Valentine's Day card. His life was blessed by his beloved Sean O'Neill. However, like the surprisingly large turnout at the first event, it included couples who were not involved in social activities.

I often refer to happenings in my own San Antonio chapter since it is my best frame of reference. I am the membership chairman and keeper of the roster data, so I know the chapter's demographics. We ended 2016 with 201 members that included 45 couples. I'm struck by the importance of those partnered or married members to our chapter. Our couples have shared 1935 "couple years" averaging 20.6 years together. They range from 1 to 49 years as a couple. Many met in our chapter or at another Prime Timer event elsewhere. These couples mix comfortably with single members to make a diverse group of men seeking the fun of companionship. Our couples represent a lot of stability as they push back the stereotype of the gay community from those who do not know us.

Have you focused on the gay couples in your community? They can add diversity to your organization and stability. I do not mean to imply that single members are not stable. Many of us prefer being single with all the "freedom" that affords. Perhaps we are very stable as a single man focused on a career or another time consuming activity that makes being single the best course for us. Having a partner or husband requires an investment in time! Or, perhaps that next single Prime Timer joining your chapter is the man of your dreams.

If your chapter doesn't reach out to couples, perhaps it should. They participate in twos at events and almost always renew their memberships. As with their relationships, they bring additional stability to your chapter. While you will be reading this after Valentine's Day, the good wishes were prepared to all Prime Timer members, single or partnered/married. Happy Valentine's Day, Sean and Woody!

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