We’re going ring shopping. At least that’s the plan. We’ll be in San Francisco for the Martin Luther King Day weekend and we’ll go browsing for the rings. He knows the designers he wants, the metals, and the overall aesthetic. I know that I’ll probably have a seizure when I see the price, and I’ll swallow it to make him happy. The official engagement will come sometime in June, the party shortly after, the wedding a year after that. No matching tuxes (not a fan), loft reception, color palate: plum, gray, gold. He’ll do most of the planning- he always does. I’ll sit back and marvel at the fact that we got to this point.
It’s still not legal here, obviously, but that, ironically, seems like a minor detail. We have a list of places, a list of contingencies just in case it doesn’t become so in the next two years. I’m partial to Seattle, where his cousin lives and we can easily get everything done at City Hall with time to spare for a nice honeymoon on Victoria Island. New York is also a possibility, as is Boston. But both he and I are pretty confident that we can stay in our own neck of the woods for the wedding. It happened here once; it’ll happen again.
You wonder when it became such a banality, such a commonplace, at least mentally, at least for us. When I first came out, five years ago, I didn’t really think it would ever be in the cards. It was one of those things even queer folks talked about with the proviso: “One day.” As in: “One day, it’ll happen. One day, we’ll have the right to do it.”
And then, it just did. California happened in 2008, and then unhappened in the same year. Iowa and the New England states happened and stayed that way. DC. A mess of European countries, Canada, South Africa, Argentina. New York. Last year: Washington, Maryland, Maine. By the time you read this, they’ll hopefully be marrying same-sex couples in Chicago and Providence. If not, maybe the next month or the month after that. Trying to write about same-sex marriage is like trying to write about the day’s weather: today, it’s one thing; tomorrow, it’s another.
In any case, we’re setting the wheels in motion.
The questions that remain to be answered are unfamiliar ones, ones without clear and comfortable answers. Should we have a ceremony? If so, what type of ceremony? A religious, Christian wedding is out: I haven’t been to church (thank God) in 3 years; he was raised an unobservant Chinese Buddhist. Plus, I’m not sure whether I see the logic of or agree with the ethics of a religious same-sex wedding. Even if the pastor/priest/rabbi is down with it, I’m not sure whether we should be down with them. History’s not too sunny when it comes to God and queer folks, whether we’re talking a thousand years ago or last week. Secular and civil seems a good bet- most comfortable, most in line with what we want. But then still more details: Who to invite? Private or public? An elopement or with all of our friends and family? In a botanical garden, in some suburban city hall, in a backyard? On a boat, with a goat?
Running over all this, ab absurdam, I become more circumspect, critical. Why? Twenty years of battling, of choosing this- along with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”- as our number one issue? Choosing to fight for our right to mimic our parents, to get dressed up and reenact THE symbol of gender and sexual repression? And for an audience of the same people who raged and spat and threw tantrums when they found out we were something other than who they are: for mom, for pop, for baseball, for apple pie, for God, for country.
Is this just part of the plan, then? Take off the cock-rings and the muscle shirts. Put aside the pink triangles and the pride parades and the drag shows. Take up the tux, the diaper pack, the picket fence: the instruments of modern, all-American gayness. All-American, Christmas light-hanging, PTA-joining, cul-de-sac queers.
Who knows? It very well could be. Truth is that I am white and he is Asian and we’re both entitled and privileged and college-educated and bourgeois. Truth is that we were raised in and continue to live in a society that is both patriarchal and heteronormative. Truth is we want suburban banality, kids, a joint 401K, and a place in an area with good schools and low crime.
So we’ll get started on the rings next week. We’ll go through the back and forth, the “can’t afford that,” “hate this,” “like that” process of winnowing and rejecting. He’ll love it. I’ll have my doubts as to the logic and reason of it all. We’ll work it out, like any couple.