reading three guineas at an impressionable age left me with a deep distrust of ritual. i couldn't go to convocations. funeral rites creeped me out. i still have a hard time chanting at protest marches. i can't even do the soccer cheer before a game: "3-2-1-snipers!," i mouth. but of all of these, nothing was so suspicion-inducing as marriage.
well, today's news is that after decades of principled objections to marriage as a hetero/sexist institution, and years of scorning gay marriage, i have put down my bow of burning gold. i've decided i am in favour of gay weddings. the way i see it -- now -- life's too short to dismiss other people's happiness. people want to marry. they want a wedding. for reasons passing my understanding, they want to organize flowers and families so they can stand in front of a crowd of people and say aloud the kinds of things i've always thought best whispered in someone's ear, or uttered to end an argument, or stumbled over in a home depot aisle.
gay weddings show culture morphing and changing. we'll take this aspect of the tradition, but no thanks, not the 'wife' bit. we'll say what we think the basis of a strong relationship is (in connie and val's case, the integrity of individuality and a commitment to sympathetic engagement with each other, which is about as good a definition as i've heard) -- and then we'll make the state sanction it. it's bold and creative, when you think about it. does it solve the issue of disproportionate state goods going to coupled people? does marriage, reworked, shed its baggage of dispossessing women of their personhood? does it undo monogamy's dyadic structuring of desire? of course not. but it turns out you never get tired of hearing the line "by the power vested in me by the province of alberta." it's all i can do not to throw my fist in the air and say, 'take that, fascist fucks!'
more profoundly, i think we can thank gay weddings, along with drag king culture, for a revitalization of butch fashion. people dress for a wedding. the girls looked good, of course (and val was resplendent), but the real treat of last night's soiree was the dudes. there were turquoise shirts with suspenders. there were tight dark vests over proper white shirts. there were cuff links. there were suits. there were funky glasses and short haircuts and brogues. there were ties. there were stripes: thin white stripes and thick white stripes and oxford stripes and pinstripes. there were boots, and there was leather, and there were hats -- so many hats! -- and exquisite manners everywhere. there were dudes with dudes, and there were dudes on their own, and some of them danced with their ladies and some of them danced with the family, and none of them danced with the buxom rugby player from connie's team, which was just fine since it turned out she and her equally zaftig husband could cut quite a rug when the hiphop was playing.
to tell you the truth, it was all very queer.