Tag Archives: marriage

Tying the knot

Keep CalmW and I are counting down the days. We are getting married one month from today.

We got our marriage license last week. Yay, P-A!

There’s a lot more to do. W has taken the lead on most of the preparation because it is a wedding and she is a girl.  Besides, she is the one with the vision.  Not some creepy-scary vision of werewolves or bloody fingerprints but a vision of vintage tablecloths and fresh-cut flowers in antique mason jars.

As for attire, she has to worry about a dress and undergarments, jewelry, nail polish, a shawl or around-the-shoulder wrap of some kind.

I am in charge of a few things. Purchasing a Polaroid camera and film for a mock photo booth.  Outfitting myself.

We are keeping it casual. I am planning on wearing a pair of jeans and a white button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

I am usually a necktie guy. I love ties.

I am thinking about changing things up and wearing a bowtie for the wedding. See, I can be crazy and spontaneous (as long as the spontaneity is planned).

Jesse Tyler Ferguson has his “Tie the Knot” collection that he sells through the tie bar.  Each bowtie costs $25, and $20 from each purchase goes to organizations fighting for marriage equality.  Count me in.

Which bowtie should I buy?

My favorite color is red, so that’s my go-to color for accent pieces.

I’m thinking about going in a whole new direction.

Navy blue.

Crazy, I know.

The Delacorte caught my eye first. It’s a navy blue bowtie with floral accents in emerald green.

The Delacorte

The Delacorte

Or, I could go all Brokeback with the Jack & Ennis, a classic bandana pattern in navy.  I can yell out during the vows: I can’t quit you, W!  It would be real romantic and all.

The Jack & Ennis

The Jack & Ennis

I’m definitely thinking navy.  But, I also like this light blue one.

BT087_l[1]

The Kushner

Take the poll, below, and tell me what you think.

That only leaves a few details.

1. Learning to tie a bowtie.

2. Buying a new pair of matching kicks.

Right now, I’m thinking:

Nike Blazer low

Nike Blazer low

Or,

Classic Checkered Vans

Classic Checkered Vans

Ah, butch fashion dilemmas.

Help me out!  Calling all butches and anyone else with an opinion.

 

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Fire in the hole! We’re getting married!

Red buttonWe sent out electronic invites to our wedding this week.

Before hitting the send button, W asked if I was ready.

I yelled out something like “fire in the hole!” or “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

I can’t be sure.  It all happened so fast.

And they were gone.

We held our breath for a really long time.

The world didn’t explode.

We laid sideways on our bed on our stomachs, stared at W’s iPad and waited for the first response.  We had set the over-under line at 10 minutes.  W took the under.  I took the over.

W won.

We giggled like schoolgirls laying on our bed like that with our feet dangling off the edge, wondering what we just set in motion.

So, we are busy planning our wedding.  It’s going to be an informal picnic-style affair.  Pot luck, of course, because after all we are lesbians.  (See page 23 of Lesbian Handbook.)

PennsylvaniaWe had a formal commitment ceremony a few years ago with all the bells and whistles.  This is just a party with vows because now we can get legally hitched in Pennsylvania.  We get to celebrate that we are still in love and still choose each other.  We have another opportunity to get together with friends and family.  I have a close friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, so right now I am acutely aware of how little time we spend with the people we love most.

Just this once I think we get the sweeter deal. We get two wedding celebrations because we’re gay.  Take that straight people!

Every once in a while, W asks me if I’m sure I want to marry her.  Like when she’s in wedding-planning mode.

Every once in a while, I ask W if she’s sure she wants to marry me.  Like when I’m setting over-under lines for everything and making her watch another “quirky” movie.

We pretend to call it off every couple of days.

I thought I would be more nervous than I am.  Because this time it’s for realz.

But I’m ok.  (And not just my normal butch I-told-you-I’m-ok-now-leave-me-the-hell-alone ok, but really ok.)

I think of me and W stretched out on our bed and laughing like kids.  I want to bottle that feeling of lightness and happiness and connection.

I guess I’ll just marry her instead.

 

Even butches get choked up

Marry Me?If you read my last post, you know that I proposed to W on Sunday via cupcake.

Of course, she said yes. I mean, what woman could possibly resist the sexy, handsome beast that is this butch.

Anyway, here’s what I failed to mention:

After I decided to go with a cupcake proposal, I drove to the cupcake place by our house. I had some ideas and wanted to run them by the baker and get her opinion.

I started out strong.

“I have an odd question for you,” I said.

“My partner and I had a commitment ceremony a few years ago, but we haven’t been able to get legally married in the state of Pennsylvania until last month.”

I sounded like this guy.

I sounded like this guy.

Somewhere in that sentence my voice broke, causing me to sound like I was channeling Peter Brady in my 47-year-old body. Not a pretty picture.

That’s what happens. I keep everything tamped down so tightly that every once in awhile some emotion trickles out. It’s inevitable. A side effect of being a butch, perhaps.

Deep down inside, I do feel emotionally about last month’s court ruling that opened up the possibility of marriage in Pennsylvania for all couples.

The cynic in me will tell you that, for those of my generation, gay marriage will always be a political statement of sorts.

Or maybe it’s not the cynic in me but that place inside that houses my fears.  I hide them underneath the bravado and the bluster, the flannel and the thermal shirts.  It’s the tender spot that pulses below the big words and the carefully articulated theories.

The other day I overheard my son talking to a friend.

“My mom’s a writer. She knows everything,” he said with a giant sigh.

Of course, I took it as a compliment.

xx

Perhaps the greatest non-lesbian movie ever made (back when Nic Cage was a cool dude).

I know tons of weird things. Like the year that Hershey’s Whatchamacallit candy bar came out. 1978. And all the words to the movie Valley Girl. But I don’t know how to enjoy the moment. I don’t know how to not overthink things. I don’t know how to show emotion. I don’t know how to be vulnerable.

So, yeah, sometimes it trickles out of me. A single tear streaking silently down one pink cheek. My face slowly turning red like a garden rose. My voice cracking mid-sentence.

I wish I could have said something like this to the cupcake baker:

I’m sorry, but I get emotional thinking about how I’m finally able to marry the woman I love.

In the end, my voice betrayed me — cracking like a scratched 45. It was a small slip hinting at the emotion that bubbles inside me.

Because I really am grateful that I got another chance at love. And I’m grateful that W has agreed to take this step with me.  The fact that it’s all going to be legal makes it that much sweeter.

She said ‘yes’

We went to W’s family reunion today.

It’s pretty much the same every year — picnic food like hot dogs, potato salad and chips; dollar store prizes; a family picture; catching up with everyone.

But this year I added a twist.

I asked W to marry me.

We had a commitment ceremony almost three years ago. I had proposed back then on one knee with a diamond engagement ring in my hand and rose petals in the background. Like any good butch should.

We had a shindig, sent out invitations, hired a band and a caterer, exchanged vows, smashed cake on each other’s faces.

It was the best we could do in 2011.

And then same-sex marriage became an option in our home state of Pennsylvania last month.

The m word scares the hell out of me.  (We’re not talkin’ menopause or mudflap girls.  Especially not mudflap girls.)

xx

Half-eaten cupcake with capsule and special request.

Today, at the family reunion, I brought two dozen gourmet cupcakes. I had a special cupcake for W. Inside was a little plastic capsule with a special request. Marry me?

She said yes.

I was nervous this morning. My son said if anyone else accidentally got the special cupcake, I would have to marry him/her. So there was that.

And I was worried about pulling the whole thing off. What if W didn’t want a cupcake? Or wanted another flavor? What if the cupcake melted in the hot car? What if she said no?

But now? I’m not so nervous.

It feels right.  It feels good.

Sure, I’m still scared.  No one can see the future.  What can be scarier than that?  But I’m willing to take the leap with W.

I told W today that I would make an honest woman out of her yet.

What I’ve realized writing this post is she’s the one making an honest woman out of me.

A love letter

“Do you know your blog is a love letter to me?” W asked me one day.

I had never really thought about it like that.

And then people started commenting about how hopelessly romantic my blog is. Amid swoons and sighs, they responded with awwws and how sweets.

xx

Really?  The Flannel Files?  An Internet hub for love and other mushy stuff?

To borrow a line from Amy Poehler, really?  The ultra-tough, uber-studly Flannel Files?  That place where it’s cool for girls to talk about neckties and motorcycle boots, cleavage and butchdar?

It seems to hit a nerve every time.  People are either searching for true love or in the middle of a love-filled relationship and realize how very lucky they are.  At the end of the day when the sun is going down like a big red rubber dodgeball in the sky, we all want to be watching hand-in-hand with someone who makes our hearts beat like a bongo drum.  Bong bong.

So, why all the talk about love, Middle-age Butch?  What about baseball and beer?  Tattoos?  Mila Kunis?  The upcoming Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition?

W and I seem to have located the sweet spot of love.

Sometimes I wonder when it will all end.  When we’ll have hit our limit, used up our magic.

We are soft and pink like this.

We are soft and pink like this.

But we continue to grow together, and I think that’s the key.  We are constantly growing, learning, stretching ourselves.  Sometimes we are reaching for the same thing and sometimes not.  Right now, we are pliable like fresh eggs of silly putty.

We seem new again.

I tell her in the morning that she has sexy morning hair.

She crinkles her nose.

I tell her in the evening that she has sexy night hair.

“No, I don’t,” she says.  She bites her lip to keep from smiling.

She looks sexy in her new gray nightgown.  And the pale blue one.  And the black one.

I love you this much.

I love you this much.

This is when I know I am in love.

Not again because I was in love last month and the month before that.

I start to wonder if this love is stronger or deeper or truer than the love I had for W in April or January or 2011 or 2009.  Or has it been there all along — this deep, rich love that is new and old at the same time?

I’m not sure that it matters.  Just that I feel it.  And acknowledge it.  And tell W that I love her.  That I always have and always will.

I am reminded of this quote by Alice Walker from The Temple of My Familiar:

“Some people don’t understand that it is the nature of the eye to have seen forever, and the nature of the mind to recall anything that was ever known.”

What about the heart?

xx

Open to love.

I imagine my heart an advent calendar covered in cardboard doors.  They’ve been there forever.  They were just waiting for the right person to come along and open them up.

Maybe W was right.  This is a love letter to her.

It has been the whole time.

Identity crisis

A few weeks ago, my mom gave me a big Rubbermaid tub filled with what she likes to call my “treasures.” This is code for shit from your childhood that you left behind in your old room.

The other day, I decided to open up the tub. I didn’t find anything too exciting. There were some old magazines and toys and a manila folder labeled “Hot Hits” that contained playlists for a make-believe radio station that I had created sometime in the 80s. I had forgotten how lame cool I was back then.

A small box sat on the bottom of the tub. Inside was a silver and gold photo album with pictures from my wedding.

I showed them to W. She’s only seen one or two pictures from that day 20 some years ago.

“I don’t know that person,” she said.

“Yes, you do. It’s still me,” I replied confidently.

But really, I wasn’t sure.

Me and my brother.

Middle-age butch (on the right, silly people) and baby bro back in the day.

 

Falling in love over and over again

Last weekend, I whisked W away to the city for two days of fun and romance. Or maybe she whisked me away. I can’t be sure.

xx

You and me in our Italian restaurant.  Yes, it’s as darling as it looks.

Anyway, we saw the musical Mama Mia, dined at a cute little Italian restaurant, browsed the shelves of a gay bookstore, caught a movie, did some shopping. It was restful, rejuvenating and romantic.

Plus, it was my birthday, which made it super sweet like the tiramisu in a little teacup that we shared for dessert.

The weekend got me thinking about this quote:

“A successful marriage requires falling in love over and over again, always with the same person.”

— Mignon McLaughlin

Sunday morning, W and I were lying around in our king-size hotel bed all wrapped up in each other, and I could feel them: the butterflies in my stomach, the tingles in my toes. We could see the sparks in the air like we were huddled under the covers and we both had a major case of static electricity.

That’s when it hit me.  I’m still in love with W.

It’s not that I had doubts or had forgotten. Sometimes there’s no time for being in love in the rush of our ordinary, everyday lives.

Sometimes you have to slow down and take the time to see what’s been right there in front of your eyes the whole time.

xx

The weekend ended with this monstrosity — a skillet breakfast called “The Bacon Sink.”  Yes, that is bacon gravy that you see.

Happy anniversary to us

Happy anniversay balloonW and I celebrated our anniversary yesterday.

We decided not to exchange gifts.  I don’t need another power tool, and she doesn’t need another piece of jewelry.  Besides, money is tight for us right now.

We’ll celebrate some other night with dinner out and maybe a movie when the kids aren’t around.   No matter how you slice it, Tuesdays at our house aren’t very romantic.

I thought I would post something sweet about W as a makeshift gift.  You know, “10 Things I Love About You” or “Why I’d Do It All Over Again,” but I couldn’t really think of anything new to say or a creative way to spin it.  If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you know that I gush over W on a regular basis.

See here.

And here.

Also, here for more gushing prose.

And then it hit me — the post that I need to write.

The thing about W and I is that we say nice things to each other all the time.  She always tells me that she loves me with a sigh.  Not one of those heavy, exasperated sighs but one of those you-still-make-my-toes-curl sighs.  She thanks me for finding her on match.com, for cooking dinner, for making the boys’ birthdays special.

Me, I tell her that she smells good (’cause she does) and that I still find her sexy as hell.  Before we turn in, I always kiss her good night and tell her that I love her.

I always worry that the “love yous” will fade and grow thin from overuse like carpet in a hallway.  But the truth is that you can never have too much love or too many “love yous.”  They’re important.  It’s the stuff that you don’t say that ends up fading, and by then it’s too late anyway.

So, I’m glad that W and I don’t leave much unsaid.  Which means that I don’t have to play catch up on anniversaries and other special occasions.

She knows that I love her, and I know that she loves me.  It sounds kind of uneventful, but that’s the way that we like it.

 

Thank you, Supreme Court

Supreme Court and rainbow flagI didn’t think I would care.

W and I live our lives just like any married couple.

We had a commitment ceremony a couple of years ago.  In our eyes, it was a real wedding, even though there was no officiant and we never received an official marriage license in the mail.

We do everything that married couples do.  She falls asleep with the TV and her bedside light on.  This drives me crazy.  I have my own annoying habits like taking off my socks in the middle of the night and leaving them in the sheets and apparently snoring like a lumberjack with a head cold.  We disagree about whether it’s ok to eat at not-so-gay-friendly Chik-fil-a and the best way to get from here to there.

We always kiss and make up though.  Always.  At night when the world has gone dark and we are sleeping side by side, everything seems and feels just right.

What does it matter that we can’t file our taxes jointly.  I get domestic partner benefits through her employer.  So, there’s that.

And, besides, I tried that man-woman marriage thing once before, and it wasn’t so great.

When you’re gay, you have to think outside the box, and that’s always been fine by me.  I’ve never fit into boxes anyway.

So, this morning when I read that the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, I surprised myself by tearing up.  (Ok, I sobbed, but don’t tell anyone.  This butch has a rep to protect.)

It wasn’t about the marriage issue at the heart of the ruling.

It was more about the fact that I’ve felt like a second-class citizen most of my life.  Not good enough.  Never good enough.  Not only in the eyes of others but in my eyes as well.

But on this hot and muggy summer morning, a beautiful and sublime morning, the highest court in the land said gays and lesbians are entitled to “equal liberty.”

W and I don’t live in a state that allows gay marriage.  That doesn’t make the ruling any less sweet.

This morning as I read about the decision, I felt good enough — not just in the eyes of the law but in my own heart.