“Finders Keepers” by Aaron Hamburger from Saints & Sinners 2010: New Fiction from the Festival (Queer Mojo).
It should be easy for anyone over the age of thirty to identify with the main character of this story. Ronnie Markowitz struggles to reconcile the things he’s being told he “should” want, namely a committed relationship and a child, and the things he still does want, but increasingly can no longer have due to his relationship status and age. They include casual hookups and the sense that there is still all the time in the world in which he can decide who it is he wants to be and then become that person.
Ronnie has dithered so long in his decision-making and done such outrageous things along the way – like making a string of porn films under the screen name Rabbi Robbie Hunter – that moving on to the next phase of his life, adopting a child with his husband Jack, is far more difficult than normal. For one thing, his continual career-path switching (rabbinical school, beauty school, nursing school, stints as a waiter and house cleaner, and the aforementioned porn career) has left him all but destitute. He supplements Jack’s teaching salary with earnings from his current occupation as a dog walker, but it’s not enough to cover their mounting bills – the adoption agency’s fee being top of the list. So Ronnie finds himself, at the start of the story, signing autographs at a porn convention in New Orleans and, afterward, giving professional advice to/living vicariously through a go-go dancer he meets in a French Quarter gay bar.
As you can imagine, the evening doesn’t go quite the way Ronnie expects or hopes it will.