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September 11, 2005

Modern Love

The Times' "Modern Love" column has oft been filled with trivial stories about, say, the trials of dating a smoker, or people too afraid to get back together with each other, or, in one case, the dating woes of a fifty year old "tomboy" who liked twenty-five year old men but was afraid it would never work out. Small tales of picayune problems.

This week's column was an excerpt from (gay sex columnist) Dan Savage's new book, The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family. In the most heartbreaking thing I've read in the (normally staid but occasionally prone to journalistic treacle) Times, Savage recounts how he and his partner adopted the child of a homeless street girl in an open adoption:
The last time she visited, when DJ was 3, he wanted to know why his mother smelled so terrible. We were taken aback and answered without thinking it through. We explained that since she doesn't have a home she isn't able to bathe often or wash her clothes.

We realized we screwed up even before DJ started to freak. What could be more terrifying to a child than the idea of not having a home? Telling him that his mother chose to live on the streets, that for her the streets were home, didn't cut it. For months DJ insisted that his mother was just going to have to come live with us. We had a bathroom, a washing machine. She could sleep in the guest bedroom. When grandma came to visit, she could sleep in his bed and he would sleep on the floor.
That kinda made me tear up. Don't tell.

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