Last night, my husband (!) Patrick and I were having Hawaiian martinis at Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill (which is to Hawaii the way Chili’s is to Texas) when he asked me, Was it all worth it? Was all the stress and the arguing and the pressure worth it, to have a wedding instead of sneaking down to the courthouse or eloping to Las Vegas?
I had my answer ready, because I’d been thinking on it since we drove back to our hotel in a pick-up truck covered in dicks on Saturday night. My answer was: yes. All of the bullshit and the pressure and the stress was completely worth the experience of being married in front of all of our closest family and friends.
I felt strong and beautiful and happy and supported, in that pick-up truck covered in dicks. I felt blissed and blessed, in that pick-up truck covered in dicks. I felt like the exact thing that I’d wanted to happen had happened. The whole reason I’d consented to a capital-W Wedding in the first place was that I knew I needed other people to affirmatively answer the question, “Hey! Did you guys hear that?” about the fact that I’d met a man I loved and that I wanted to share my life with. I told myself I would do a Wedding because doing a Wedding would make my commitment to Patrick and our existence as “Patrick and Andrea” in the world more solidified and more real. And that shit actually happened, ya’ll.
I’m writing this column from a table at the Boat Landing Cantina at the Hilton Waikoloa Village resort on the Big Island in Hawaii. I am drunk. Like capital D-Drunk. Yesterday Patrick and I decided that time didn’t exist until we leave on Saturday, and we poured ourselves, respectively, a Bloody Mary and a vodka-tonic, and we cheers-ed to that and we are the happiest, resortest-living smug assholes in the whole world right now.
Earlier this morning — we keep accidentally waking up at 6 a.m. because we’re still on Mainland time — I finished a wonderful book, A History of the Wife, by Marilyn Yalom, which I’ve been working on since January. I finished it at the “adult pool” with my Clamato Picante-and-vodka, and the book — which is about Western wifedom from Greek times until present day — concluded with exactly the thing that I’ve been trying to articulate in all my Hitched columns. Getting married today, if you’re a feminist and an egalitarian person, is about creating a new partnership model for monogamy-minded people so they can be happy and fulfilled no matter their sex or gender identification.
Writes Yalom of her wishes for modern married women:
But I do believe in their expanded possibilities, which are greater now than ever before and which contrast dramatically to the more circumscribed lives most married women accepted in the past and still experience today in many parts o of the world. Above all, I wish the courage to persevere toward that ideal of equality in marriage that has been in the making for several centuries.
I know that marriage isn’t for everyone. I used to think it wasn’t for me — in the mandated-capital-W-Wedding sense of the word. But three days out from our wedding, I’m starting to realize the real value in making a public statement about your partnership. The moment of declaration, of societal validation, of personal dedication, really is a terribly important part of deciding to be a partnered person. Patrick and I no longer live in a limbo state; we no longer are looked upon with ambivalence by friends and relatives and strangers. We are married people. Partnered people. Permanent-together-people. And I know that being excited about that is half-stupid, considering so many marriages today end in divorce, but I feel like the support I have from our friends and family — and by “our” I really mean “our,” in the sense that now we are a team of two who work together for common goals, established by virtue of the fact that our respective peoples have come together to get wasted, sing karaoke, and affirm our eternal union — will help us stay together against the odds.
What I was most afraid of before our wedding turned out to be the thing that I am most grateful for: the act of professing undying love to each other in front of friends, family and strangers. I have classically been horrified by the idea of expressing heartfelt emotion in front of my friends and family. I have always kept my most true thoughts and feelings to myself, sharing them with only my closest confidants. Oh, sure, I’m happy to talk about gender equality and politics with strangers, but when it comes to what my heart needs, I keep it to myself.
On Saturday, I couldn’t do that. I read my vows — which included references to “The Wire” and “The Princess Bride,” brag brag brag! — in front of 80 people, half of whom I’d never met or barely knew. And yet in that moment, the only person I could see was Patrick. It was wonderful and strange and amazing.
A few photos of the wedding have since surfaced on Facebook. It’s real fucking weird to see pictures of myself in a wedding dress. It’s not something I ever envisioned; even in the moments it was happening, it didn’t feel like it was happening to me. I barely remember anything besides my vows, and singing our first karaoke song together, and watching my dad get super drunk and lead the whole crowd in a “Fins-Up!”version of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville while I sang back-up.
Honestly? I wish we could do it again with a bigger party. So we could tell more people we love them. So we could show more people how dedicated we are to each other. But that’s probably just the Clamato-and-vodka talking, because Patrick just brought me another delicious beverage.
Speaking of which — there’s a pool, and a sunset, and a forever waiting for me, so I’m going to sign off for now. Thanks for bearing witness to the craziest, and most stressed, and most freaked out, and most thoroughly happy I’ve ever been. Patrick and I will be wishing you all ‘Aloha!’ from the firey pits of Kilauea — that is, if we ever sober up enough to find the keys to our Jeep. I guess we’ll have to put pants on for that, too. Fuck.
Contact the author of this post at Andrea.Grimes@Gmail.com.