The flaming days of summer are upon us — forever, apparently. When towns way up in Quebec begin to spontaneously combust at 115-degrees in the shade, one knows the jig is up. Time to pay thine piper: “Climate change” is no longer even the politically correct coinage for what’s fulminating all around us.

The newly-correct term is “climate crisis.” By 2035, from May all the way through to September, there won’t be even one molecule of the vast Arctic Sea’s polar ice sheets remaining. And without packed snow’s white enamel shield to reflect heat away, the exposed gray waters absorb warmth, instead. And expand.
Polar bears, we’ll miss you.

Hot, expanding water molecules account for fully half our rising sea levels; melting Greenland and Antarctica, the other half. For over a decade now, root vegetables can be grown outdoors in Greenland. Next year, balmy January Antarctica will join the global harvest. Earthlings have already tilted our planet’s uninhabitability likelihood 1.8 degrees Celsius too far in the red. At a mere 6-degree temperature increase, humanity ceases to exist. We’ve but 4.2 more to go.

Meanwhile, more than three dozen new “clean” coal factories went into production just last year in China, alone.

Makes one almost nostalgic for last year’s quarantined sweet days of whine and Rona. Let’s just get hotter than July right to it, shall we?

My spouse and I — together now for 28 years — earlier this month invited another resident couple from our building out to dinner whom, to our delicious surprise, revealed they’d been Independence Day partners now for — wait for it — more than 46 years! We’d no clue another fellow couple of silver unicorns (two gays paired together 25 years-plus) resided but an elevator ride away! My own spouse and I suggested why not we first get acquainted with — let’s call them, oh, Price and Waterhouse — over pre-dinner, sunset cocktails at our place. Collectively, we knew next to nothing about P&W.

Occasionally, I’d cross paths in, say, the mailroom with Price, where we’d exchange smirking pleasantries. Price always radiated an intriguing aura of mischief, as though he’d triumphed scot-free over a totally heinous past that no one even suspected.

Our doorbell rang. Price breezed in wearing an elegantly simple, masterfully-planned plain ivory linen shirt. Fuck . . . fuck . . . FUCK!

Bois, nothing trumps finer than a pristine, button-down summer linen shirt. Ever! Why? Because it’s a near impossible fashion-feat to successfully pull off: Starched white summer linen requires a sense of self-assurance (to the max!). Rare is the man who can, wrinkle-free, run an entire evening-long gauntlet without looking by dinner’s end as if he’s wearing some old bellows’ accordion rescued from a dumpster.

I knew there was a reason I liked Price at first glance — he with his eternally devilish, cat-who-swallowed-the-canary grin!

Exuding further confidence still, Price’s longtime partner, Waterhouse, extended a hosts’ gift to us in the glorious form of a shimmery, red-blazing bag bulging of homegrown beefsteak tomatoes and fresh basil. How utterly, imaginatively fabulous! Later, over our smorgasbord of restaurant appetizers, I couldn’t resist inquiring if they’d ever gotten legally hitched. Both shook their heads no.

“What’s the point now?” shrugged Price. “We’ve been through everything together.” Waterhouse concurred, nodding, “We’re set and comfortable.” Dryly, Price added, “Harmonizing with nature each weekend at our cabin in East Texas is enough for us” — as though mere simple folk were they, roughing it in a precarious tin-roofed, lean-to shaded by a scrub pine. Waterhouse chuckled, “We even put in an 8-acre pond, although the ranch hasn’t seen cattle for years.”

Indeed, we four ancients all had a grand old time at dinner that evening — closed the restaurant down, in fact. Bear with me kids, for there is a point to this Facebook-esque gewgaw, in that it dovetails perfectly with my own observation regarding the success of long-term relationships for any of you first seriously starting off your husband-hunt after 35. You’re doomed.

There, I said it.

No gay man over the age of 35, who isn’t already in a long-term relationship, will ever be in one. Uh huh. That’s right, I said it, and I’m standing behind it until proven otherwise wrong. Oh, and by “long-term,” I mean minimally five years. No gay single man beyond 35 ever quite manages to break through beyond to the other side of even four years’ commitment to any relationship’s future.

Keep in mind now, this is pure conjecture on dear Howard’s part; there have been no scientific studies to back my theorem up. Nonetheless, my 16 years now (and counting) of being the Dallas LGBTQ community’s advice columnist debauchee should hold a smidge of studied clout.

Dear Howard: My boyfriend and I have been in a committed, non-monogamous relationship for the past four years: I’m now 32; Jacob is 36. We’ve finally grown into some sense, and I want to marry and settle down. Jacob wants to still wait and see.

Like, wait and see what? I don’t understand. Is he tired of sex with me? We had sex together several times a week our first year (we live about 80 miles apart). Gradually, that turned into a menage-a-trois with someone we picked up together in the second year, followed by each of us picking up someone separately by the third year, which descended into tossing a coin to determine who gets to drive the distance to meet up on weekends now (there may or may not be sex involved).

Jacob and I still love each other deeply, but is it normal not to want sex with each other? I know I still want it, but he keeps mumbling hippie-shit things, like, things needing more freedom. What’s going on here, Howard?
— Tarpit Tom

Dear Tarpaper: Peace, bro. Can ya diggit? Sweetie, Jacob has another little sweet thang that he’s makin’ whoopie with on the side, if not several of ’em. Don’t get me wrong regarding monogamy; I’m hardly a supporter.

Nevertheless, it never works and never will — with the possible exception of, oh, swans. No other animal genus is crazy enough to attempt practicing it. Trust me, if you just enjoy your company together when you are together, you’ll last a lifetime happy with that.

Every successful gay partnership I know has adapted the same philosophy toward marital infidelity: Just be discreet, be respectful and keep it on the down-low. Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies; thus, are my secrets unveiled to a happily-ever-after, silver unicorns’ marriage.

Next up, see if you can don a starched white summer linen shirt out to dinner, and return home with it looking as wrinkle-free and spotless as when you first removed it from the drycleaner hanger’s cellophane-shrouded drycleaner’s hangar. We’ve got a long, hot summer-eternal to go here, men.

Insist Jacob give matrimony a college try, Tom. Like Janis wailed, “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.” And already he’s gonna just barely catch the last chopper out of Saigon.

— Howard Lewis Russell

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