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Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams Talk Home, Family, Coming Out

The NYT today runs a Joyce Wadler profile of Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams, the successful furniture designers who "divorced" five years ago after being together for 14 years. The article takes a look at their Jim Bartholomew-designed Manhattan apartment and the view Gold says it took him "30 years to get," and it also navigates the ins and outs of running a successful business with a once-romantic partner and how properties and possessions are handled after a breakup. The article also ends just as it gets going:


"Mr. Gold has said that when he was 14, he decided that if he couldn’t 'cure' himself by the time he turned 21 he would kill himself. By the time he was in college, he was so depressed that his father, unaware of the reason for his depression, sent him to a psychiatrist.

'I uttered the words, ‘I think I’m gay and I want to be cured,’ ' Mr. Gold says.'I remember him saying, ‘I can’t cure you of that, but I can work with you about how to live with it.’ He taught me this was the way it was and it was O.K. Of all the lucky things in the world that happened to me, I feel lucky that I got to go to a psychiatrist who told me it was O.K. Because in those days, the early ’70s, I could just as easily have hit a psychiatrist who said it was not O.K. If you grow up in Taylorsville or Hickory, N.C., they’re going to send you to some quack doctor who’s not really a doctor, to try cure your homosexuality.'

Being able to tell his parents that he was gay was still difficult for Mr. Gold. At 24, he blurted it out to his mother on the phone when he called one Sunday morning. Still half asleep, he told her he was going to St. Thomas for a week with his friend Michael. 'She said, ‘I don’t understand why you do everything with Michael — why can’t you get a girlfriend?’' Mr. Gold says. 'I said, ‘My idea of a girlfriend is Michael.'

There were tears and an argument, but these days Mr. Gold’s parents, both 86, are very accepting. When he called to tell them that he and Mr. Williams had decided not to be a couple anymore, his mother demanded to know if they would still be able to see Bob. Which is exactly the way Mr. Gold felt it should be."

Amicably Split, and Still Sharing [nyt]

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  1. They're split? What a bummer! I just bought their book, and I was thinking to myself the other day how nice it was to have a role model for gay couples like these two.

    Are there any successful, non-drama, gay "marriages"???

    Posted by: Warren | Aug 9, 2007 11:14:11 AM

  2. I remember buying Bob Paris' and Rod Jackson's book a few months before they split up...

    Posted by: Michael W. | Aug 9, 2007 11:18:22 AM

  3. This is an example of a successful gay marriage. Bob & Mitchell were together for many years, split amicably, and apparently still have a loving relationship.

    Or does only "till death do us part" count when we're assessing marriage success and looking for role models?

    Posted by: 24play | Aug 9, 2007 11:31:52 AM

  4. 24Play, I respect what these guys stand for; but it's ridiculous to say that people who broke up had a successful relationship. That's why they're not together anymore...because it wasn't successful.

    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 9, 2007 11:50:32 AM

  5. Are there any successful, non-drama, gay "marriages"???

    POSTED BY: WARREN | AUG 9, 2007 11:14:11 AM

    That's a damn good question. The more gay "couples" I meet, the more I lose hope in finding someone to be with as I grow older. I have met so many "open relationships", or relationships that last a few years, and they get bored, move on to greener pastures. Perhaps it's the lack of a legalized institution such as marriage that has kept gay men from thinking rationally and long-term in their relationships, but more and more I'm beginning to believe men are just selfish pigs looking for the next hole to fill at the next circuit party...

    Sorry, about graphic, but to the point...

    Posted by: Cory | Aug 9, 2007 12:08:49 PM

  6. Well, I like to think we're "successful". My partner and I have been together in a monogamous relationship for close to 26 years (I'm 46, he's 55). My "marriage" has been better than my three sisters. :)

    Posted by: hodzer | Aug 9, 2007 12:14:06 PM

  7. Thanks Hodzer... I get frustrated too, at times looking for a "role model" couple.

    I know a few, but not many. I sometimes wonder if there are less because some of us don't have that parental figure giving advice and looking in on how the relationship is going. I know when my sister and brother have hard times in their marriages, my parents step in and help out.

    I'm totally thinking "out loud" so who knows.

    Posted by: gabriel | Aug 9, 2007 12:25:51 PM

  8. I think it has to do with children. Couples tend to stick together when there are children involved.

    Posted by: Landis | Aug 9, 2007 12:26:36 PM

  9. I think, for the most part, men are not, or cannot, or just will not, be monogamous. I know plenty of lesbian 'marriages' that have lasted decades, but very few gay men can say the same. The odds of two men who want to be/will be monogamous finding each other, are slim. In my opinion. Believe me, I would love to proven wrong.

    Posted by: secretagentman | Aug 9, 2007 12:35:54 PM

  10. I'm really unclear why people need role models so much these days, especially celebrity ones.

    Posted by: Malibu Boy | Aug 9, 2007 12:40:04 PM

  11. Really, people. I don't know what's more entertaining. Andy's blog. Or the moronic comments.

    Marriage, monogomy? Whatever works for you. Do it. And for the rest of the world... C'est la vie.

    Really. Please shut up.

    Posted by: Captain America | Aug 9, 2007 12:46:51 PM

  12. Not to toot our collective horn but more to just add to the seldom-heard voices, my partner and I have been in a monogamous relationship for 11 years now. Early in our relationship we discussed the lack of monogamous role-models and wondered if men just weren't wired to act that way. We made a pact to not rule out entirely an "open relationship"; though it wasn't something either of us wanted, we wanted to be realistic and didn't want our lack of discussion to contribute to our relationship's demise.

    We still talk about it from time to time as promised and although the fantasy of it is hot and tempting, neither of us thinks it's ultimately a good idea for the relationship we've built. So we just buy porn to sate that perceived hunger. ;)

    Posted by: Rey | Aug 9, 2007 12:57:15 PM

  13. Gentlemen of the Towleroad jury:

    I’ve been reading this blog for a few weeks now, and am continually blown away by the comments that are posted here . So much to say, so little information: do yourself a favor and read the ENTIRE article form this morning’s NYTimes…

    Role models? Hardly. Business partners, definitely. As I put the paper down, all I was left with was the disappointment that the apartment’s decorating had less visual texture than a hotel room, and the thought that they purposefully positioned the places 2 master bedroom at opposite ends of the floor plan—for “privacy” reasons I’d guess.

    My hope is that future generations of gay men will be able to forge long term relationships somewhere in the middle of the stereotypes of gays and lesbians.

    Posted by: My2Cents | Aug 9, 2007 12:58:06 PM

  14. Are there any successful, non-drama, gay "marriages"???

    Well not sure about the non-drama part (wishful thinking - methinks there is no happy love...) but there are lots of successful gay marriages - you just have to know where to spot them. Pick up any issue of Elle Decor or watch a random episode of Homes Across America and you will no doubt come across a 'mo couple blissfully setting up house together. How long they stay together, after the last pillow is chosen and the final objet d'art placed, is a question best left to the romantics among us.

    Posted by: Giovanni | Aug 9, 2007 1:09:30 PM

  15. Also fundraisers always seem to be held or sponsored by long term partners - so the relationships do exist - again what goes on inside those relationships is as varied as anything else.

    Posted by: Giovanni | Aug 9, 2007 1:25:09 PM

  16. My lover and I have been together since 1971.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Aug 9, 2007 2:27:38 PM

  17. Great article, thanks for sharing! Is there new showroom open yet in nyc?

    Posted by: Travis | Aug 9, 2007 4:08:18 PM

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