Tag Archives: wedding

Queen of my heart

Four years ago today, W and I had a commitment ceremony.

Because that’s what gays and lesbians did in 2011 before marriage equality.

I just read the vows that I wrote the morning of our ceremony. Leave it to a writer to sneak in right before deadline.

Queen of heartsI ended my vows with a story that my grandfather used to tell. He said that when he married my grandmother, she told him that she would treat him like a king if he treated her like a queen. After she died, he confessed that he never did live up to his promise.

Those are perhaps impossible standards to place on any relationship.

There’s a saying and a matching bumper sticker: Chivalry isn’t dead … She’s a butch.

That’s always been my ideal. Not just because I think all women should be treated like queens. But because I derive pleasure from being the knight in shining armor, the butch in a pair of blue jeans and tie, opening doors, pumping gas, sending flowers, tucking love notes in her lunch.

These are the vows that I made to W four years ago:

  • I promise to be your friend, to stand by your side in good times and in bad. To always listen and be your soft place to fall. And, to giggle with you at night, when no one else can hear.
  • I promise to love you just the way you are right at this very minute. To love all the things that make you special — the good, the not-so-good and everything in between.
  • I promise to encourage you to reach for your dreams.
  • I promise to always be caring, understanding and forgiving. To never judge you but to just love you with my whole heart.
  • And, last but not least, I promise to be your partner as we navigate life’s challenges together. Kids, work, bi-focals, the Phillies play-off tension …

I don’t know if I’ve made good on all of these over the past four years.

But I do know that we are best friends. That we both look forward to the end of the work day when we can share our days with each other. That we giggle a lot. Ok, ok, it’s mostly me. (If a butch giggles and no one hears her except her wife, does she really giggle?) That we love each other not despite our foibles and faults but because of them. I love that W is bold and impatient and that the window glass shakes a little bit when she sneezes.

Like when the Grinch's small heart grew three times that day.

Like when the Grinch’s small heart grew three times that day.

Sometimes I love her so much that I feel like my heart will burst. This usually happens when she doesn’t know that I am looking at her like when she is falling asleep on my shoulder or preoccupied with some task.  But then I remember that I pass out when I see blood and reign it all in.

Other times, I get so caught up in my own stuff that I forget she might need care and understanding at this very moment, too. But that is that nature of relationships. When we are loved, we learn how to love.  When we are forgiven, we learn how to forgive.

What I learned about love (and bowties) on my wedding day

Keep calmW and I were going to say “I do” in about two hours. I had this marriage thing, this love thing down.

I have been married before.  And civil unioned.  Practice makes perfect they say.  Third time’s the charm.  This time around, there would be no surprises.  How could there be?  What could this 47-year-old butch not know about commitment, about love?

A group of friends and family were at the pavilion stringing up lights and placing vintage Mason jars filled with fall flowers on the picnic tables.

W and I were at home getting dressed.

I knew to stay out of W’s way as it would take her longer to get ready, W being the bride and all.

I was looking good.

I was looking good.

I took my time and put on my jeans and white button-down shirt, rolling up the sleeves just so. I slid on my custom Converse with the wedding date emblazoned in back and laced them up.  I folded up my vows and placed them in my front shirt pocket.  Only one thing left to do.  I flipped up my collar, wrapped my bowtie around my neck and went to use the mirror in the downstairs bathroom to tie that bad boy.

I almost got it on the first try. But then my nerves got the best of me.  Despite all the YouTube videos and the bowtie tying drills earlier in the week, I just couldn’t get it tied.  I took some deep breaths and kept trying.

One side longer. Over, under.  Long side out of the way.  Form a bow.  Long side down in front.  Taco, taco.  Stuff.

Now I was sweating. A lot.  I brought my iPad in the bathroom for video aid.  Still no luck.

Stay calm. You can do this.

I thought a change in venue might help, so I tried the upstairs bathroom.  There was no bowtie tying magic in there.

I was starting to panic. And curse.  We had to leave soon.  What if I couldn’t get the bowtie tied?  I had been blogging about this damn bowtie for a month.  What would I wear?  It was too late to run out and buy a necktie.  And at this point, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to tie a one of those.

“I can’t do it,” I yelled out to W.

“Yes, you can,” she encouraged.

I ventured into our bedroom where W was getting dressed.

“It’s too hard,” I said, pouting like only a middle-age butch and a six-year-old girl can.

“I don’t want to hear it,” W said. “I have to put on Spanx.  You want to trade places?”

I quickly left the bedroom and continued my futile attempts at tying a bowtie. I swore more quietly so W wouldn’t hear.

One side longer. Long side out of the way.  Form a bow.  Long side down in front.  Taco, taco.  Stuff.

Time was running out. We were already running late.  The bowtie is aptly named the Jack & Ennis after the leads in Brokeback MountainI can’t quit you or tie you! I yelled out to no one in particular.

It was time to think alternatives. Glue gun.  Or maybe nail gun.  I needed tools of some kind.  Possibly a Dremel.

xx

I almost looked like this guy.

Or maybe I could wear the bowtie like a tiny, jaunty silk scarf. Or tie it in a big bow and wear it Colonel Sanders style.  Desperate times and all.

I retreated to the bedroom one last time and sat down on the bed next to W. W grabbed her iPad and watched a two-minute YouTube video.  She tied the bowtie perfectly on her first try.

“Just so you know, I will learn how to tie my own bowtie,” I said.  It was my attempt at piecing back together my butch bravado that lay scattered in tiny shards on the floor around my custom Converse.

“You don’t have to,” W said.

xx

Perfect.

When we got to the pavilion, W pointed out my bowtie to some of the guests.

“Doesn’t it look great?”

I just smiled and told everyone that I had pulled on my own underwear in the morning and that’s about all I had done. That is pretty much the truth not true at all.

We had about a half hour before we were to say our vows. Usually, I’m not good on the fly, but I was able to work the bowtie into my vows.  It was the least I could do.

Here are some snippets:

You are the first person with whom I share good news and bad.

You are the person I go to when I am feeling down, scared, unsure or frustrated.

You are the person I look for when I am feeling happy or triumphant and want to share my good luck and fortune.

And you are the person I go to on my wedding day when I can’t tie my bowtie.

* * *

There’s a line in a Melissa Etheridge song that I quote to you all the time.

“You found out to love me, you have to climb some fences.”

You climb those fences with grace and most times even a smile on your face.

But isn’t that what love is? Climbing fences.

And that is my promise to you. To love you, to support you, to encourage you, to forgive you.

And climb those fences every once in awhile so you know that I am here and that I’m not going anywhere and that you are worth the extra effort every single time.

I figure I scored some butch bonus points for admitting that I didn’t tie the bowtie.  (And working in a Melissa Etheridge song.)

* * *

Today, I’m fairly confident that I will be able to master the tying of the bowtie. I mean, I can drive a car and give a cat a pill and remove spaghetti sauce stains from a white shirt.  But I’m pretty sure I don’t want to.

I like the idea of having W tie my bowties from this day forward.  While W is tying, we will laugh about our wedding day and my bowtie tying ineptitude and how she saved the day.  We will be reminded that we are not on this journey alone but have a constant companion to share the ups and downs of life.  I will remember that I can’t do everything on my own — contrary to what my butch ego says — and that there is wisdom and courage in asking for and accepting help.  And that I am so very lucky to have by my side a strong, competent woman (who happens to excel at tying things) as my wife.

Wedding tomorrow … gulp

WeddingThe wedding is tomorrow and this butch has a case of the nerves.

We have an outside venue, and it is supposed to rain, at least in the morning.  Looks like we are clear in the afternoon when our event will be taking place.  Phew.

It is supposed to be cooler than we had expected.  Right around 60 degrees.  I ran out this week and bought that old lesbian staple to wear over my white button-down and keep me warm — a navy blue knit vest.

xx

This is where everything will be happening.

W picked this park/pavilion because it has a fireplace, so we will have a source of heat.  It was supposed to be for “atmosphere” but now it looks like it will be for “warming of people.”

We are organized and ready to go, which helps.  Everything we are bringing is boxed and labeled.

I keep worrying that I’ll forget how to tie my bowtie.  (I got it tied on last night’s practice run in under two minutes.)  Or that my custom Converse will get muddy.  Or that I will totally freeze when it is my turn to say my vows.  Did I mention that I hate speaking into microphones?  These are the things this butch worries about.

Ok, time to take a deep breath and get through today.  I need to make the ziti.  Press my shirt.  Get a haircut.  Finish writing my vows.  Pack a bag for the weekend.

What do you do in times of craziness and stress to calm yourself down?  Any suggestions for your favorite butch?

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.

 

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.