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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

One wedding I will always remember


For many, weddings are an exciting time. But for me, they were a reminder of my second-class status as a Gay man living in the US. Many of the dreams that are readily available to our Heterosexual counter-parts don’t come easy for those of us who are Gay.
When I first came out to my family back in the 80’s, some of the first comments and criticisms from my folks were that I would never have a family, nor give my parents the coveted grandchildren they so desired. It would seem that by being Gay, my life was going to be one big orgy of self indulgence and debauchery. I will admit that for a young man without many role models in my life, their rather glum forecast did indeed seem to be my destiny. I knew a few older men who were Gay, many of whom became mentors and role models in my life. Some, however, never made it out of the 80’s and died or committed suicide.


But let’s get back to the whole wedding thing. I would hear of a family member or a friend getting married and I would flinch at the thought of sitting through yet another thoughtful ceremony full of all the trappings that make up the perfect day: horrible music, hot churches, bad dresses, and the receptions. Oh sure, you could usually score some free drinks, but the whole concept of a reception makes me dizzy with disdain. While the wedding party is off getting their pictures taken or driving around town in a limo consummating their marriage, you are hustled down to a church basement, K of C Hall, or some ballroom in a hotel off the freeway.
It’s like every junior high dance ever held… those first few moments in a reception hall… no one knows what to say or what to do with themselves before the bridal party arrives to the strains of Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, give it up for Mr. and Mrs Joe Blow!”


Uh, we already gave it up for them by coming to the wedding and buying a gift, what more do you want from us?


Sometime between the opening strains of “Celebration” and the “Chicken Dance” a group of kids, many of whom were in the ceremony will start running amok around the dance floor fueled by their sheer boredom and all the free pop at the bar. Gaggles of adorable flower girls and junior attendants, along with the unruly ring-bearer and his cousins will start screaming and sliding across the wood floor, diminishing the hopes for any kind of return on their rented outfits’ deposit. Tempers will flare as the moms are left to corral these little miscreants while the dads are at the bar, sucking down all the free hooch they can stomach. At some point, a great aunt or some other matriarch will shepherd them all over to get cake or mints, adding more sugar to their ADHD frenzy.
For those of us who were without kids, or the ability to legally marry, these events can cause great strain and stress. The stress is caused by the desire to strangle all the kids running around and the wish to choke the DJ to death with his mic cord. Really now, would it kill you to play some Madonna? The strain comes from clutching the chair legs every time one of the parents chirps about how cute the kids are and then tucks back into their drink or third piece of wedding cake, oblivious to the carnage those little monsters are bringing to the hall.

So why all this venting you might ask. Oh yeah, that was me, and to a certain extent it still is even though I am kind of legally married and a parent now.

Our friend Michelle invited us to her nuptials east of Detroit one weekend, so Tod and I had a lot of time on the lengthy drive over to discuss a whole host of subjects. One thing I love about Tod and our relationship is that we can talk about anything for any amount of time, or we can say nothing at all, and be completely comfortable with the silence. The discussion turned to children after the ceremony and to me; this was the defining moment of when we decided that this would be a possibility for us. For so long, we had been told that we’d never get married, find love, or start a family. But thankfully times have changed, and with patience, time and money, we were able to find all three.

A generation ago or so, this was an unattainable dream, and many men and women found that in marriages that were a lie. Thankfully we didn’t have to go that route for ours.