It was a late Friday night/ early Saturday morning. My — then — pal Andrew was having a bad evening, which was turning into a bad early Saturday morning. He was complaining about it on Twitter. Then he said, “Screw this! Jules, tell me which episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation to watch!” I replied with, “OOO! Watch The Measure of a Man! But, hold on! I’ll watch it with you!” And that was the first step in the progression of our relationship going from close pals, to friends, to preparing to get married.
For the next few nights, after we were both done our work for the day, and much to the possible annoyance of our mutual followers, we would together watch and discuss Star Trek: The Next Generation, via Twitter. Soon, we realized this was probably annoying to our mutual followers, and decided to move the nightly viewing and discussions to Skype.
It was during these discussions that we quickly got to really know each other. It lead to in-depth discussions — some lasting close to 14 hours — about politics, religion, ethics, morality, humanity, human rights, and so much more. We would often comment to each other about just how fascinating we found it that we didn’t find out conversations to be mentally taxing. Both of us are extremely introverted. Normally, we have more than enough socializing after 30 minutes with someone. At the 30 minute mark is when we become so over it. But here we were, up until a ridiculous time in the morning, discussing all possible subjects, never becoming mentally tired and emotionally drained.
Watching Star Trek: The Next Generation also helped him to better understand how I function, as I’m a Spock/ Data/ Doctor Spencer Reid/ Doctor Sheldon Cooper hybrid. Some of his greatest understand about who I am comes from seeing how Data interacts with humans. But even more importantly, it led to many discussions about me being a trans man; something of which he was already well aware. However, watching the episodes The Host and The Outcast made it safe for him to really ask me questions about it, without his welcomed curiosity seeming to come out of nowhere.
I view all of my relationships as if they are a series of equations and processes. I have relationship contracts. I’m very practical and pragmatic about my interactions with people. Rarely, do I outwardly show emotion. Even more rare, is having a feeling, other than being neutral, towards something. I can say things, very matter-of-factually, that often cause people’s feelings to get hurt. In my mind, it is no different than saying the sky is blue. All of these, and more of my “quirks,” are often the source of a great amount of stress between the humans and me. But, thanks to Star Trek, Andrew gets it. It is actually one his favorite things about me because there is never any uncertainty as to where he stands with me. I can tell him that I find our relationship to be satisfactory, and he is happy with that. We can have conversations, such as the following:
Me: I’m sorry I’ve been so poopy lately. My emotion chip appears to be fused to my neuro-net… again.
Andrew: No need to be sorry. I’ve been poopy, too.
Me: That’s okay. You’ve been poopy no more than usual.
Andrew: Nothing, Data.
Star Trek enables us to relate with each other when we are unable to find the words. We can relate a situation to an episode. I can draw analogies to Data and how he reacts in certain situation, so that Andrew can better understand me. I can tell Andrew, “My mental pathways have become accustomed to your sensory input patterns,” and he knows that I miss him.
Star Trek allows us to survive having to spend two months at a time away from each other.
We may have made our way to each other by some other means, but Star Trek: The Next Generation made it very easy for us to find an excuse to truly talk with each other, ask the difficult questions, talk about the difficult subject, and really get to know the other person. It provided the path to boldly go into the next phase of our journey together — Marriage: the final frontier.