Well, I’ve finally sobered up some from our honeymoon — real talk, y’all, I remember writing just about 10 percent of last week’s column. And now I know that there’s nothing like a honeymoon in Hawaii to remind you that you are the most boring, normal person in the whole married world, because literally everyone in Hawaii is on their honeymoon, with zero exceptions.
Seriously, the people on our sunset catamaran cruise off the Big Island coast (thanks, parental units, for footing the bill!) got kind of pissed when the booze-distributing cruise-masters forgot to toast people who were honeymooning.
Between moments of trying not to hurl up the two Mai Tais I’d downed upon boarding the boat — half because they were crazy sweet, half because oh my God, I am the seasickest person on the planet — everyone was all “Take a photo of us!” and “Where did you guys get married?” and “Is this complimentary cruise boat bread pink for lovers?” (No, it’s because it’s flavored with guava, assholes!) So that’s it. We’re just another married couple. The fun part is over. No more life-or-death decisions about napkins. No more glamorous answering of questions about what toenail polish people should get or yelling at Men’s Warehouse on Twitter because they fucked up Patrick’s jacket at the last possible minute. Those were magical days, weren’t they? Oh, to be young and free and pressured to throw the perfect party no matter what again! (Oh, and you can check out all the pics on Flickr here!)
Alright, alright, alright, it wasn’t all bad. As I wrote last week, I think the stress and the political challenges and the personal conflicts were all completely worth the really wonderful moment of feeling like I had created a real, tangible partnership with Patrick in front of our families and friends. Sure, we were always “Andrea and Patrick.” But now we are “Andrea and Patrick, forever and ever amen.” And that’s an inexplicably pleasant, hopeful feeling to have.
So what do we do now? Well, we argue about health insurance. Crossed that off the list yesterday. Then Patrick stayed up late last night listening to me bitch about how my chin looks stupid in our wedding photos — and reassured me repeatedly that it actually does not. We marveled at the power of our new wedding registry dustbuster. We ate Chinese take-out. We cleaned up some cat piss because our Siamese kitty, Sake, was way too excited about the new wedding registry bath mat, probably after availing herself of her new high-tech drinking fountain from said registry.
Andrea and Patrick, this is your life.
On the outside, it doesn’t look much different. But on the inside, I feel all tingly. I feel grounded. I feel tingly and grounded — like I’m all floaty and in love, but also like I did this thing that gave me something to hold on to so I don’t balloon out into the nothingness alone. I feel like I have a place now, a real place for myself and for my heart.
I can’t believe I’m being such a sappy sack about all this, but I don’t know how else to say it: being married does feel different, at least right now. I did not at all expect that to happen to me or us. I figured we’d throw the big party, go on a sweet vacation, and come home and pick up where we left off.
But I had a thought during that aforementioned argument about health insurance, and it was simultaneously scary and wonderful. I thought, I can’t leave this fight, and not only that, I won’t leave this fight. And by “this fight,” I didn’t really mean whatever we were discussing about health insurance. I meant “this thing we have where we are a team, for real, is not something I can or will ditch out on now.”
I’ve been an avid reader of advice columns for years, and I’ve always wondered why unhappily married people don’t just get a damned divorce and quit their whining. But now, it seems obvious to me: it is, actually, very significant and difficult and hard to declare yourself a family unit with someone else. It’s a serious thing. It’s not something most people — even the most unhappy people — want to exit lightly. The fact that we uniquely give (heterosexual) people in love the right to officially tell the government and the world who their family is, is completely amazing to me.
So I had a drunk thought, on that patio back in Hawaii, about how great it would be if you could “marry” your friends. If, after you’d been “with” your best friends for a long time, you could actually get them legally recognized as your family members. It’d be great for all kinds of reasons — hospital visits and legal issues of course — not least the fact that other people in the world would be obligated to see you as a family unit. I know people like to believe they don’t care what others think — but for real, being in a legally recognized partnership does actual feel different, and have different consequences, than just being really, really partnered with someone.
Which is also what makes me so sad that gay marriage continues to be illegal in so many places. The wedding Patrick and I had on April 21, 2012 officially obligates our families to consider us a together-unit. It’s a whole thing. The fact that anyone would want to deny the creation of more loving families blows my mind more today than it did on April 20th. It’s just wonderful being able to legally choose your loved ones. The piece of paper? It actually makes a difference. A strange and wonderful and tingly difference.
Contact Andrea at Andrea.Grimes@Gmail.com.