Today we're talking to Ben and Alex from the San Capistrano series. They've kindly agreed to answer some questions from me as well as some questions from readers. So with no further ado....
AJ: Hi guys - welcome to The Blog
Ben: Hi. Thanks for having us.
Alex: Hey. Nice to meet you all.
(For those of you who are wondering, Ben is wearing a very nice gray suit and a pale blue shirt while Alex is wearing black jeans and a plain white shirt. His hair is in a short ponytial and I think Ben likes it - he keeps looking at it and smiling.)
AJ: I thought we'd start off with some easy questions before we look at some of the questions from the Cocktails and Denim group. Is that okay?'
Ben: Works for me.
AJ: Okay guys, instead of introducing yourselves I'd like you to introduce each other. Give us a little glimpse of what the other guy is like.
(Alex is fidgeting)
Ben: I like it. This will be fun.
Alex (rolling his eyes):Yeah, well just behave.
Ben: Baby, I always behave. (Tries to steal a kiss but Alex pushes him away and shakes his head) Fine. Meet my husband Alex. Um he's thirty-seven and he's a paediatric nurse. He's really good at it but a while ago, just before Jamie came to live with us, he went back to college so he can be a therapist for kids too.
Alex: Uh... not quite. I've taken some counselling courses so I can be a certified counsellor for kids who have been abused but I won't be an actual therapist. I'll just be able to help at the clinics I work at or in the LGBTQ alliance group at the high school.
AJ: Do you think you'd like to become a therapist?
Alex (blushing): Oh... uh I don't know. Studying and working with the kids has been a bit of a challenge so maybe not right now?
Ben: Look at that blush! How hot is that blush?
Ben: It is. (He tries to kiss Alex's cheek but Alex pushes him away). Anyway, uh he's a really good cook and he's a bit of a health nut which you know... lots of vegetables and things. He runs a lot. He's a great dad. He's probably the bravest man I know - and the kindest.
(Alex is really blushing now).
AJ: That's awesome. Alex, over to you. Revenge time.
Alex: Well I guess you know he's forty and a lawyer but did you know he does all this volunteer and pro-bono work, especially for single parents and for the LGBTQ community. I've never heard of him turning someone away and last year he helped a lady get away from an abusive employer and because she had very little money he wouldn't let her pay. She brought us a cake every few days for months.
Ben: It was awesome.
Alex: Mmmm, remind me to book your cholesterol tests. Ben's really calm and patient, not much knocks him off balance which is really good when you've got kids.
AJ: I heard that he can be a bit obsessive about things. Like certain clothing items.
(Ben looks confused but Alex grins).
Alex: Do you mean the pajamas? Yeah he hates pajamas.
Ben: Not true. I hate your pajamas. Stupid things. I don't understand why we can't burn them.
Alex: Because then you'd have nothing to whine about.
(Ben mutters something I don't catch)
AJ: My next question is a bit awkward because I don't want it to sound like I'm trying to put you in standard hetero-normative roles but do you have specific roles? Does one of you take care of the house or the kids?
Ben: I'm not sure if couples have roles so much as habits. Like Alex does most of the cooking. If we're grilling outside I cook the meat and sometimes at the weekend I cook breakfast but mostly he cooks. But it's not because I see him in some sort of (Ben makes air quotes with his fingers) woman role. It's because he's a better cook.
Alex: Yeah, we wouldn't have a kitchen left if Ben cooked. I think those roles are changing even for straight couples. Like my brother Matt and his wife Claire, they don't have those typical roles either. For us, sometimes I take the kids to school, sometimes Ben does. We share most things and just do what needs doing when it needs doing. (He raises a finger and points it at Ben) Don't even think about saying it.
Ben: See what I have to put up with? But yeah, we don't really have roles. Sometimes I have to remind this one he doesn't have to do everything but mostly we just figure it out as we go.
AJ: I'd like to ask some of the questions from the Cocktails and Denim group now if that's okay. Great. Okay Ben, Tom's curious, was it love at first sight?
(Ben grins and looks at Alex)
Ben: Well we met at a concert and it was definitely lust at first sight. I mean come on, look at him. But by the time we'd finished dinner at Tony's the first time, I knew.
Alex (smiling at Ben): Yeah?
Ben: Oh hell yeah, baby.
AJ: How about you, Alex?
Alex: It took me longer to admit it. I might be a bit slow on that kind of thing.
Ben: Nah, you just needed to find your feet.
AJ: Actually that's a good place to ask Barbara's question Alex. Barbara has asked: I know it’s tough to talk about the past but during your hard childhood, did you ever dream of that one person meant for you?
(Alex reaches out and runs a finger along the hem of Ben's jacket)
Alex: I... no. I mean I thought about what it would be like to fall in love, maybe have a family but I didn't think it was a possibility for me. You know with my ...
AJ: Your mother?
Alex: Yeah. And what I did. I didn't think anyone would want me.
Ben: Shows what you knew.
AJ: And now, nearly ten years down the track, how do you feel? Do you ever wonder if it's a dream or something like that?
Alex (nodding): Every day. I'm not so scared anymore that Ben will leave but every day I look at him and the kids and wonder how I got to be so lucky.
AJ: What about you Ben? Do you ever wonder if it's real?
Ben: I always knew I'd find someone one day. I just didn't know how awesome he'd be. It's real though. Alex keeps it real. So do the kids.
AJ: Charlotte would like to know if you have plans for more children - either with a surrogate or adopted.
Ben: Probably not with a surrogate.
(Alex looks at him with wide eyes)
Alex: You want more kids?
Ben: Well, I don't not want more kids.
(Alex rolls his eyes) (Note from AJ: Alex rolls his eyes a LOT)
Alex: Coz that made perfect sense.
Ben: You can't always plan these things. Look at Jamie. We didn't plan for him to join the family but he's a perfect fit. So you know, never say never.
AJ: Alex, what do you think?
Alex: I think my husband has lost his mind. (He sighs) But well if there was a kid who needed us, needed a family, then yeah I wouldn't you know....
Ben: I think that's a yes we'd like more kids.
Alex: Ben, it's not a yes. It's an I'll think about it. Maybe.
Ben: Same thing.
Alex: It is not the same thing.
AJ (laughing): Okay, okay. So when you look back on your life together, is there anything you'd change?
Ben: I'd burn all his pajamas.
Alex: You're an idiot.
Ben: Maybe but I'm a hot idiot.
Alex: If you say so.
Ben: I do and so do you. No, I don't think so. I mean that shit with Janice wasn't something we could control. Oh actually yeah there is one thing. If I could go back, I wouldn't try to postpone the wedding. I wish I'd never done that. I was a dick.
Alex: Sweetheart, stop. That wasn't your fault. Your mom was sick and you didn't know what to do. (He squeezes Ben's hand)
AJ: What about you Alex? Anything you'd like to change?
Alex: I wish I'd trusted Ben more. That I'd told him about what happened to me. But I can't do much about that now so there's not a lot of point dwelling on it.
AJ: That sounds like a healthy way to look at it. What about looking ahead? What do you see?
Alex: Well, I'm about to start placement as part of my study so I'll be going to work with a therapist to get some hands on experience. Ally is nearly five and she's starting kindergarten. Jamie will be a senior next year so that's going to be a big year but his boyfriend Leo is leaving for college so that might be a bit challenging for him. Lulu is three and only operates on full speed, so she keeps us on our toes. Just more of the same I guess.
Ben: We're heading up to see a friend of mine, Mason, in Oregon in a couple of months. He owns a diner and is getting married.
AJ: Do you mean Mason Andrews? The guy marrying Rian Johns, the actor?
Ben: Yeah. We went to law school together. I'd like to take the kids on a few more trips like that before Jamie leaves for college. I'm nearly forty-one so maybe look at bringing someone on to take over some of the workload wouldn't be a bad idea. Spend more time with Alex and the kids. Maybe just take things a little quieter.
Alex (smiling at Ben): I'm not sure you know what quieter means. (Shakes his head when Ben starts to protest) No. Just ...no. Idiot.
Ben: I'm your idiot.
Alex: Yeah, you are.
AJ: Well I think that's all we have for now. If anyone has any other questions can we send them to you for an answer?
Ben: And if any of your readers know how to break his pajama habit, I'd love to hear from them.