Wednesday, 05 June 2013

Marriage, that blessed arrangement...

Written by

Impressive Clergyman: Mawwage. Mawwage is what bwings us togevah today. Mawwage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam wifin a dweam. 

And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you fowevah...

So tweasure your wuv…

Prince Humperdinck: Man and wife. Say man and wife.

Impressive Clergyman: Man an' wife.

I am at that age (30 and flirty) where everyone in my peer group is already married, getting married, having children, or, in the case of everyone I went to high school with, having children 14 years ago. Add this to the fact that marriage equality is being discussed and debated everywhere you look, and it is simply impossible to escape the topic of marriage for very long. This is especially true if you are an adult, and you are ever stupid enough to venture out into the world and interact with others.

As a lesbian human person who spends a lot of time with heterosexual friends (gross), I have observed countless occasions where a concerned family member, colleague, or stranger has taken it upon themselves to press my friends on the expected progression of their conventional life-events timeline. This usually involves a good cop/bad cop, light-in-the-face-style interrogation, demanding to know when the person of interest is going to get married and start having children, as though all women are Biological Babushka Dolls™, just waiting for their turn to pop open. One of the silver linings that had previously emerged from the big gay cloud I called life was that people didn’t display this kind of cavalier nosiness about my relationship because it made them uncomfortable, or they didn’t want to focus on whatever they think happens on a regular Tuesday night in same-sex relationships in Australia (FYI, in my household we watch Veep while scissoring, and other craft activities).

How quickly things change. Because the equality debate is so widely discussed now, I actually think I receive more, often exceedingly intimate questions from acquaintances or aunts (or aunt-quaintances) than my heterosexual counterparts. The idea that a queer person might not even agree with the concept of same-sex marriage never seems to cross their mind. Whenever the topic is raised, I will inevitably be asked questions, ranging from if and where my girlfriend and I are going to get married, all the way up to who would carry our baby (her, of course; I can’t ruin this fat and round shaped figure), who we would get sperm from, and which process we would use (Robert Downey Jr, in the study, with the turkey baster). Of course, in reality, this is a probably a good sign because it means people are comfortable and, instead of coming after us with pitchforks, they are just coming after us with highly inappropriate and personal questions.

Being questioned about what kind of wedding you would have is also common. That means that some couples are in a weird limbo where their marriage is discussed at length, even though they might not want to get married AND ALSO IT IS NOT EVEN LEGAL. Obviously, this shows that people are desperate for same-sex couples to start having weddings because they imagine that they’ll be fun and amazing and the interior will be decorated beautifully and there will be some kind of glitter unicorn parade. Sure, some might be like that. And some might be a lesbian couple dressed in comfortable clothes, going to the courthouse with close friends, and then getting Mexican food and getting drunk on margaritas (aka heaven). I also think that some people are desperate for fun queer weddings because they have been to a lot of heterosexual weddings with no unicorns, and they are hoping queer weddings will help dismantle the awful traditions and boring stereotypes. So, while same-sex couples are in this limbo of not being able to have a proper state-recognised wedding, I demand that heterosexual couples make theirs more fun for me with a few adjustments:


Why am I in a church right now? I know you aren’t religious.

Guys, come on. We’ve been hungover together on Sunday mornings countless more times than you’ve been to church. This ceremony is needlessly long and boring, and it doesn’t mean anything because I know you don’t believe in God—we talked about it that time we were drunk in a Toowoomba car park. Is it because you want a half-naked man on a cross looking at you as you promise yourselves to each other? If so, I respect that. But otherwise, won’t you think about ME? You know my skin starts to sizzle when I go into a church! Also, why are you insisting on wearing white? You haven’t been a virgin since Schoolies Week in 1997.


Let the women speak!

I have been to several wedding receptions THIS CENTURY where the father of the bride makes a speech, the father of the groom makes a speech, and then the best man makes rambling word-slurring noises about the groom’s past sex life. No more please, heteros! It is a well-known fact that women are funnier than men; so let those ladies at the mic! (Also let one at Mike the handsome DJ.) But seriously, if I wanted to see only dudes speak, I would stay home and watch panel television shows.


In name only

At a recent wedding I attended, the MC introduced the newly-married couple to the reception by announcing ‘I present Mr and Mrs Steve Wobblygobb’ (not their real name). My mouth dropped. Where did my lady friend go? Did Steve Wobblygobb marry himself? Is this some kind of Mrs Doubtfire/Robin Williams in that scene at dinner mix-up? Even if you are progressive enough to insist both people in the couple to keep their FIRST name, apparently you may be compelled by the current surge in women taking their husband’s surname. Why are you doing that, everyone? If you feel a desperate need to have the same surname, why doesn’t the man take the woman’s surname? Or, why don’t you make up a new one? For example ‘Presenting Mr and Mrs Steve and Joanne Beyoncé’ (feel free to use that. In fact, I DEMAND you use it).


In all seriousness 

The only part of every wedding that truly causes a pang of hurt is when I am standing next to the woman I love at a wedding and the celebrant is legally required to say:

Marriage, according to the law in Australia, is the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

I would sincerely just like that part changed.

Rebecca Shaw

Rebecca is primary caregiver and confidant to Tippi, the best cat in the world. She also likes writing bad jokes on twitter @brocklesnitch