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The Love Issue

Resistance is Futile

Resistance is Futile


When Antigone Rising bassist Kristen Henderson met GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis, it was definitely not love at first sight.

Photography By Benedict Evans

Color-love-portfolio-08Kristen Henderson,Musician

I was 12 when I saw Pat Benatar playing at Madison Square Garden, and my head just blew right off. My sister [also in Antigone Rising] was there with me, and she had the same moment. She's gay too. I think she knew from a young age that she felt different, but it never occurred to me, until I was, like, 19. As a band, we struggled with that, and it's ironic, because when we got our first record deal, we were all gay.

I met Sarah Kate when we were in our early 20s, and I lived in the West Village, above Henrietta's. There was this crew of friends who'd hang out there. And Sarah Kate and her crew of friends would come, too. It was like being in high school. Sarah Kate, though, was on the opposite end of her group, and I was on the opposite end of my group. She just wasn't my cup of tea. I remember thinking, If I don't have to hang out with her, I'd rather not.

It was four years after that when I heard that Sarah Kate was dating a good friend of mine. And then I ran into them in Provincetown, where we were playing, and of course I was nice to her -- she was dating my friend -- and they came out to the show. They broke up a few years later, but by that stage I was getting to hear about Sarah Kate through my friend Liz. They'd had a falling-out, and Liz was really upset about it. I was curious: What would there be to miss? I'm the kind of person who would tell you I loved you before I kissed you -- so emotionally insane -- and I was blown away by Lizzy's stories about Sarah, because Sarah was not that way. She was not going to, as she would say, merge and share an underwear drawer.

In 2005, Liz threw a party, and word got out that Sarah Kate was going to come. Liz felt it was a chance for them to make up, and I remember feeling really nervous, and wanting to make sure I looked good. It was really weird. As soon as Sarah walked into the bar, I was like, That's it. I was U-Hauling her back to wherever I needed. I hadn't been into her at all, and suddenly I couldn't be more attracted to her. I was all over her the whole night. She definitely did her arm's-length thing with me for several months, which I found super hot, I think partly because I'd come out of a really co-dependent relationship, where we only had one set of keys to our house.

We got pregnant on the exact same day, using the same donor. It is something we both wanted, and we knew time was ticking. We just ate and laughed. She was obsessed with mostly crappy things like ice cream, chocolate, and tomato sandwiches on Wonder Bread -- it had to be Wonder Bread -- with mayo and pickles. And all I wanted was lentil soup! What I love about Sarah is how driven she is. She sets her mind to something, says she's gonna do it, and then she gets it done. As an artist, I get bogged down with emotion and need to sleep for a week, and then maybe it'll come out of me. She's just like, I don't have time for that! It's the opposite of who I am, and it's so who I want to be. So the only way I could be it was to marry it.

Color-love-portfolio-07Sarah Kate Ellis,Activist

When I first met Kristen, I was a serial dater, not a serial monogamist. I'd missed all those years of dating when all my friends were falling head over heels in love with boys, so when I finally started dating women, I was like, Oh my God, I have eight years of college and high school to make up for. So you had Kristen, a serial monogamist, and then you had me, a serial dater, and so we kind of looked at each other crossways. I mean, eventually I wanted a relationship. I just didn't want to settle down too early -- I wanted to sow my wild oats.

I can remember the time we reconnected in 2005 like it was yesterday. I still have the same outfit -- Seven jeans, a really cute green top, and these adorable gold heels from J. Crew. I remember walking down the stairs nervously because I was seeing a bunch of people I hadn't seen before. Kristen was the first person I saw, and I just got the warmest feeling inside. She followed me around like a little puppy dog. Every time I turned around, she was there. I adored her, and I loved the attention. I needed it.

Kristen would have moved in the next day, but I was like, "No, no, no, no. We're dating." She can't even say the word "dating." We spent the entire next day standing right across the street from Cubbyhole, on the corner of West 4th and 12th. We probably stood there for about five hours straight, chatting. But she was in a band and on the road, and I was planning on having kids, and I didn't see how all those puzzle pieces were going to work together at first. Then slowly it was like, We'll figure this thing out.

In the fall she met my parents and I met her family, and I realized that we were cut from the same cloth, in a lot of ways. It probably should have clicked the second I saw her, but I was slow to get there because I was cautious. But she's everything I ever imagined. She's also an amazing mother. A lot of people emphasize the work that goes into being a parent, but having your own family is actually really, really special, and really fun. The thing we've shared in our relationship is this sense of adventure. We take on challenges and try new things and don't scare easily. We always say that if 10 is the top, we're living life at 12. It's so perfect it's crazy. People always say, "When you meet the one, it's so easy," and I couldn't believe how easy it was. The word that has always come to mind for me, from the very beginning, is heaven.

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