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July 2, 2009

Do You Take…?

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 7:09 pm

Today’s the day. The long-awaited, much-speculated about, Dinosaurs and Ninjas-themed Metzroth-Cole Wedding.

And I just don’t have a thing to wear!

…But apart from that, I’m excited. I’m excited because Metz, in all his stage-managey glory, has managed to whip not only the relevant parties but pretty much everyone else in his and Amy’s social circle into a frenzy of planning, preparing, partying, pre-viewing, participating and anticipating. The wedding party has been in rehearsal for weeks. August and Mudge have been working non-stop on the cake for days. And we were up folding dinosaur origami all night.

Typically, any Metzroth production is a big deal – but this one is The Big Deal; his own wedding. Mostly, I just can’t wait to see the already camptacular groomsman Brandon playing a caricature of, well, Brandon in the wedding-ceremony-cum-one-act-play that’s been written for the occasion.

I’m also a little uncomfortable because, I mean…weddings. I dunno. Marriage is obviously a pretty fraught institution. Especially right now, considering that same-gender marriage rights is an issue that’s currently being forefronted politically by even the most middle-of-the-road Republicrats, it’s impossible to conceive of any wedding taking place in a political vacuum.

The meaning of marriage is certainly far from the most important/relevant/radical issue going, but it’s something I’ve thought a lot about as regards my own relationship/s and privilege – given that double-edged awareness: That, as a queer person, having the option to get (easily, uncontestably) legally married is a major mark of privilege AND at the same time, being a woman, my ability to choose not to get married is a major mark of other kinds of privilege. But ultimately, whenever the question has come up, marriage is something I’m a ‘NO’ on.

And, to a great extent, for the sake of politeness, I can pass this off by saying, “Marriage just isn’t right for, ah, our relationship! …You know. *cough*” (In other words: Look at us Wacky Polyamorists!) Or, if I really want to impress the Progressive Liberals (and there aren’t any Progressive Liberal Newlyweds around) I can say, “Gosh, I just don’t think it would be right for ME to marry my partner when my gay friends can’t marry THEIR partners!” Although I’m starting to wonder lately if that rationale, rather than being a solid ally move, is a bit of an appropriation of other peoples’ struggles in a way that doesn’t actually lessen those struggles any. The tip-off there being how back-slappingly impressive and largely non-threatening that excuse comes across to The Progressive Liberal. (Every time I type “Progressive Liberal”, it sounds more and more like the marriage of a bank and an auto-insurance company…)

But my feelings about it go way deeper than that. Like, straight up, I believe that perpetuating the institution of marriage as it exists today has an inherently detrimental effect on our society’s ability to build radically healthy and loving families and communities.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t think ANYBODY should EVER get married! And it definitely doesn’t mean I’m not totally thrilled that these two people I care about have decided to intertwine their lives, and to celebrate that intertwining with their loved ones, and to do it in a fun, playful, creative, whimsical way that expresses both their individual personalities and their commitment to one another, and that it means I get to eat cake and, y’know, open bar…

And I don’t think, at least for those for whom marriage is an option, that the factors involved are ever simple – not even politically. Ironically, today I also got my monthly newsletter from the Alternatives to Marriage Project, which included a line I found both pithy and insightful:

Nowadays, a “shotgun wedding” means you care about someone enough to put him or her on your health insurance.

I’ve said in the past that I’d consider marrying August if one of us got cancer or got drafted.

Meanwhile, we have some friends who are filing for common-law marriage because it’s the only way for them to get around Boulder’s ridiculous housing laws about how many unrelated people can share a home together. The law exists largely to keep poor people out of Boulder, and the major reason it’s fucking up my friends’ plans is because their family – the primary unit of which is two women, best friends, who have decided to co-parent their kids together – is poor.

So, if getting married allows them to subvert that kind of discrimination and they’ve consciously decided to do it for that reason, rock on. It fully sucks that they’re in this position in the first place – but given the situation they’re in, I can totally get behind their decision. And if they have some kind of ceremony to symbolize it, I will be totally thrilled to eat cake and dance at their wedding.

Another couple of my friends, who are both gay and poly, just went to Massachusetts to get legally married – and I think that’s really exciting. I also know it’s still going to suck for them trying to get their marriage legally recognized here, where they actually live, and I believe that matters.

Because, seriously, it’s not like I think people shouldn’t get married. I just don’t think people should get married without a conscious political critique.

Granted, I basically don’t think people should so much as blow their nose without a political critique – so maybe I’m just being a buzzkill.

Ultimately…Amy’s not straight, she and Metz are effectively non-monogamous, they’re both Progressive Liberals, and I’m sure they had plenty of conversations about what marriage meant before they decided to do it – and some of them were probably even about politics…yet they still decided that a (relatively) traditional wedding and legal two-party union was the right choice for them.

And I feel uncomfortably conflicted about that.

I don’t really have a point here, I’m just going around in circles now…

No matter what though, I’m happy that my friends love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together, and I feel honored that they want me to celebrate it with them.

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