During and after my brother’s wedding I was asked with some regularity how I felt about it. I would ramble off feelings like nervous, excited, ecstatic, proud, gassy, super-excited, super-proud, super-nervous, hopeful. Then with some regularity, I was asked if I was getting married anytime soon. (Nudge, nudge.) I pictured myself in white and fought to keep my eyes from rolling back.
Luckily, I have practiced the chuckling-with-natural-inflection and a subtle head toss as flirting mechanisms, and I had a large glass boot of beer in my hand. Those kept me steady. I don’t like talking about my personal life to family. Discussing it with total strangers is apparently fine (see: any and all previous posts) but with family, it just has a touch of something more serious.
By the fifth time I was asked about my potential matrimony, I envisioned myself going all Elizabeth Taylor in “Taming of the Shrew” on them, whipping chairs and quips. Really, they were asking me if I had met my Richard Burton, and it seemed like a reasonable reaction.
Please, don’t get me wrong: the week surrounding my brother’s wedding was possibly the greatest week of my life. I ate Mexican food nearly everyday, ran around on the beach at night in a suit, and out drank and out wrestled many former college athletes (they were distance runners, but it still counts). And the ceremony and reception were more dreamy than the Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and Rilo Kiley’s “Dreamworld” combined.
But during the procession, a stone in my stomach that sat sharp and heavy. It might have been the emotion I was confusing with being gassy. Only my friend Lisa had the ovaries to ask me: “Well, was it weird watching someone get married when you can’t or don’t want to?” She saw my face and pressed. She’s direct; that’s why were friends.
It bothers me that American culture to me seems to be an ever-growing marriage-centric milieu, with scads of bridal magazines and celebrity-wedding specials. We have the bustling wedding movie genre and shows about wedding dresses, “Bridezillas,” and Big Fat Weddings, both Redneck and Gypsy. Add to that the emphasis on marriage equality for LGBTQ people, and it seems we must all want to be married now, now that it looks like more and more of a legal possibility. Let all of this bake in the oven of a neurotic twenty-something roasting the California sun and the feeling produced is:
I don’t think marriage is the correct focus for me personally or politically.
Now, because I think it’s inappropriate at weddings to talk about other weddings, especially if it is to my family and about my potential wedding, I am going to use this interweb space to say what I think would sully the awesome-saucery of what was my brother’s wedding and what I imagine my sister’s upcoming wedding will be.
Personally, I am a sweaty bucket of nerves plagued by church giggles at the moment. This is not exactly the best time to throw me and someone into the Emotional Thunderdome of Marriage, let alone legally bungee cord ourselves to one another, while armed with verbal, emotional or even actual chainsaws. I will date people now, I will long term date someone right now, I will sing this number if someone decides to take me on a few dates (anybody who reads my work or hears me perform knows I’m a total catch).
But I won’t think of marrying them — because I want someone to stay with me on their own accord, not because of legal bonds. I want someone to stay like the gaggle and horde of friends I have, who jointly constitute a perfect platonic husband for me right now. The only document I want legally binding me to someone right now is my lease — which in a strange way is the manifestation of my love for my best friend/roommate.
Politically is where I tread double light. It’s always hit or miss, when I tell other LGBTQ people maybe we need to divert funds and concentration to homelessness prevention or workplace discrimination. Will I be agreed with or get a sizzling stink eye? I know people who agree with me, that we have placed an excessive amount pressure on marriage equality as OUR ISSUE, but when you talk to some people in the community about this they don’t understand why I’m not on board or don’t care about marriage discrimination. I never want to demean any marriage and I recognize the importance of the 1,138 rights and protections same-sex couples are denied.
However, I also want to make sure kids feel safe in their schools and grow up to a marrying age. I want to make sure people are financially stable enough, that they aren’t fired or harassed for being out at work, so that they can get married. It can get even weirder though when you tell that to people outside of the community. You can get the look and tone of: “Isn’t this what you wanted? Aren’t you happy we are working towards this? You really want more already?”
Yeah, I do. And I don’t think it’s too much.
I caught the garter at my brother’s wedding. Someone shouted out, “Next time, in New York!” I shouted back, “But I live in Chicago! Hey. Wait, what?” trailing off as I realized it was a comment about me getting married. I would prefer to stay oblivious than in a forced wedding bonanza mode. I know this ignorance will fade, I am getting read for it. My sister is getting married this summer and talks of details and dresses and suits and colors- and to be honest sometimes I get excited about a lot of things that happen before and during weddings. (Who would have guessed: a fairly femme gay boy wants to talk flowers and tablescapes.)
I know I will dance barefoot at my sister’s wedding. I will lead apes to hell. I will do whatever is asked of me — because I respect and find it beautiful when love is expressed and people come together. I am, fingers crossed, hoping no one will ask me about me getting married or same sex marriage — that if someone wants to bond with me over something gay we talk about musicals (Note: I will even let someone talk to me about Wicked, Wicked people, instead of my potential wedlock.)
Do I want to share my life with a partner as amazing as either of the ones my siblings has? More than likely, yes. Do I want to talk about it now or the political implications of it? Do I or feel it is an appropriate thing to talk about at a wedding? No. I just want to eat burritos and occasionally look cute enough to date. I want to play cards and drink and watch strange movies and television with my friends. I want to get a little better at Mario Kart.
This is, of course, how anyone with a sound mind prepares for the potential Thunderdome.