Oh, that’s nice. sentence. A common phrase used by family members when discovered that their relative (nephew, cousin, grandson, etc.) is in a relationship with a member of the same sex.
Much along the same vein as the word ‘interesting’, “oh, that’s nice” has numerous connotations, but is most used when someone is uncomfortable and can’t find the correct words to express their feelings about a situation. You can say it when you see the couch you were looking at online actually has a large stain in the middle of the cushion and you don’t know how to say, I actually don’t want this. Use it when you find out your hot date actually works at a company cleaning septic tanks, though his profile proudly stated “Doctor”. Or you can use it when you find out your son wakes up next to another man and makes him coffee. Oh, that’s nice, so you’re the female then?
When I came out in February of 2015, one of the most memorable, and heart breaking things said to me by my mother was, “Well, I have always wanted a daughter.” Though the intention was not to hurt or offend, this sentence has stuck with me and constantly comes back to me when my role in a relationship becomes domestic. Though a homosexual relationship tends to be quite fluid when it comes to who does the dishes or does the laundry, with one partner potentially doing home repairs even though that same partner will be afraid at night while their significant other goes and checks out what made a noise in the living room, to the outside perspective, especially back in my hometown of Great Falls, Montana, there is a clear binary between the two partners. One represents the female in the relationship and one represents the male.
This fluidity is not always evident in a public setting, to the outside eye, to family, friends, and others who are in my life. It appears there is a dominant partner, a more masculine partner, or a more feminine partner, yet this isn’t true. Within the private confines of our home, my boyfriend and I share domestic responsibilities and are both more than happy to do traditionally feminine tasks to keep our space, and each other, happy.
This installation explores the fluidity of domesticity within a relationship, same-sex or otherwise. Generally accepted masculine elements such as steel, wood, and electronics are balanced with delicate, seemingly feminine materials in cake stands, flowers, and a cotton table cloth. Acts of woodworking, wiring, sewing, painting, decorating, and metalsmithing were all done by a single person, and I identify as a homosexual cis-gendered male. Set in the private home environment, this dining room based installation allows the outside eye to view the flexibility of domesticity in the same way that I do.