The few times I ever imagined my future wedding as I grew up in suburban north Texas, I imagined it taking place in the church I was raised in, the altar strewn with pretty flowers and the minister who baptized as a child me officiating. This vague idea of what my wedding might be like never quite left me, even as I left organized religion as a young adult. Weddings were a church thing. Churches have ministers. Ministers do weddings. Seemed pretty simple.
But as I attended more and more church weddings as an adult, the more I realized that there would be no way I could have one of my own: it’s not exactly fair to ask a Christian minister to, you know, leave all those Jesus-y parts out. They do tend to like to get in a bit of that where they can.
My husband, Patrick, was raised Catholic. I was a Methodist. While we both spent our youth as devout practitioners of our respective faiths, we don’t currently attend church and don’t have any plans to. We are happily lapsed, though we both look fondly back on our days as Bible-beating teenagers. I, for one, credit the church for giving me moral guidance and an amazing social circle when I was in school. I’d do it the same way all over again. But it’s not who I am or what I believe today. Keep reading »
Minutes before I walked down the aisle, one of my persons-of-distinction, Trenton, pulled a bunch of multi-colored plastic Tiki goblets from a sack, busted open a bottle of cheap champagne from a cooler, and measured out five healthy pours for the five of us in the little dressing room. Most of my pre-wedding moments are lost in a blur of being late to the venue, jumping into my dress and checking my makeup, but I remember that Tiki toast like it was yesterday.
That moment of support and solidarity is what I always imagined a wedding party is for — not to be put-upon recruits in the business of folding silverware (though our folks cheerfully took on this and many other tasks in turning a Dallas rock club into a wedding venue) but to be touchstones in a stressful and joyful and momentous time.
I had four party-persons stand with me on my wedding day, and looking back, I absolutely wouldn’t have had it any other way. Because of my mixed-gender group— Patrick’s side was similarly mixed — we deemed these (very good looking, if I may say so) folks our persons-of-honor-and-distinction, rather than bridesmaids and groomsmen. They are our favorite people. Keep reading »
I made sure to get the thin crust pizza, because I knew that once it was just me and a couch and Liam Neeson rescuing some people from some horrible shit and/or wolves, I was going to eat all that pizza, and I did not want the bread bloat. I was treating myself. I was worth it. I was alone.
For the past two and a half years, in the process of dating, moving in with and then marrying my husband, I haven’t been alone much. I’d almost forgotten how to do it. I’d almost forgotten how to do something I love to do, and something that I’m very, very good at doing. I don’t mean being single. I mean being solitary. By myself.
For most of my 20s, I was in long-distance relationships, make-up break-up relationships or deep into singledom. I had a lot of opportunities to cultivate my own favorite kinds of solitude: taking long afternoon drives out into the Texas Hill Country, getting a six pack of High Life tallboys, watching British comedies all night, going bonkers on multi-hour sewing project marathons that ended in inevitable disaster. Doing whatever I wanted, when I wanted to, and never having to wonder whether eating all this ranch dip at 3 p.m. is that going to mess up dinner plans. Because I didn’t have dinner plans. And I fucking loved it. Keep reading »
I’ve been walking around with a sketch of a uterus and cervix in my reporter’s notebook for several weeks now, courtesy of my gynecologist. She drew it while explaining to me how an IUD works. I keep it around both because I like it as a conversation piece and because when you write about ladyparts as much as I do, it’s actually quite useful as a reference tool at the office or, you know, the bar. Wherever.
But what I like best about my little IUD sketch is that I don’t need it, because my husband is getting a vasectomy. When it comes to long-term contraception that isn’t sterilization, vasectomies are the bee’s infertile knees. The benefits are many: I don’t have to live with a foreign body inside me (either of biological origin or one made of copper), condom breakage isn’t a constant concern, and neither do I have to rely on hormones or head back to my doctor’s office regularly for a Depo shot. Keep reading »
Last Friday night, Patrick and I took a break from drinking beers and talking smack about Mitt Romney to befriend two couples who happened by our neighborhood bar. They needed a place to sit; we offered to share our table. And as many newly engaged couples are, all four of them were a little bit … glowy. It was incredibly fun to hear about their wedding plans — we even may have talked one pair into holding a karaoke reception. But it also got me thinking about what I wish I’d known when “We’re getting married!” suddenly became a thing that was happening to me. Keep reading »
I woke up last Sunday morning — well, I don’t know that I was truly awake, but at least I wasn’t in bed any more — and stumbled to the kitchen for a giant glass of water with which to defuzz my thoroughly whiskey-fied mouth. In my hangover haze, I glanced across the living room to the coffee table, which held two empty glasses and a piece of old mail with my late-night scrawl on the back. It was a playlist.
We’d started with Darius Rucker’s new single, “True Believers,” because Patrick and I are true believers in pop country music. Now we are, anyways — I used to have more than a little detached irony mixed in with my Kenny Chesney appreciation, but that’s long since disappeared over the years of my relationship with Patrick, whose genuine love for the genre is both charming and contagious.
It’s becoming something of a tradition for the two of us: we spend a Saturday evening hanging out at the bar with a group of Austin feminists and allies that meet monthly to shore up our belief in the world being a livable place, and then we come home, drink whiskey on the rocks and watch music videos for hours. We sing along. We dance with each other. We trade stories about where we were when this or that song was popular. We debate the musical merits of the Zack Brown Band as musical successor to Jimmy Buffet. Keep reading »
And lo, the Lord did create the men and women who populated the earth. The manifold men did go to the office and get good jobs in middle management and take the trash out on Thursdays while lady helpmates did joyously stay home and wear aprons and make dinner and vacuum and mop and scrub the toilets and make the beds and raise the children and dust the bookshelves and manage the home accounts and do the grocery shopping and mend the clothing and take the children to appointments and preside over the laundry apparatus, which the Lord, in all his wisdom, saw fit to make too difficult for men to comprehend.
This was called the division of labor, and behold, it was fucked up. Keep reading »
Now that the summer wedding season is winding down, it’s time to shift the focus from the Big Day to the Big Rest Of Your Damned Lives. I’ve only been married for 129 days now, but my husband Patrick and I are starting to get a pretty good bead on how this thing works.
First of all, if you don’t already have a home garden, you’re going to want to get on that this weekend. Especially since (I think) it’s time to start planting fall tomatoes. I don’t know for sure because our tomato plants all died, I’m too lazy to actually Google it, and the only thing that survived our Texas summer was a wad of basil that’ll be great for caprese salads until sometime after the apocalypse.
Married people love gardens because it’s a fun, torturous and back-breaking activity you can do with your partner, plus you get to nitpick about the way your partner holds yard implements. The time to start nurturing heirloom vegetables and long-lasting resentment about minutiae is now! Keep reading »
One of the things I’ve learned, over my many years of roadtripping in and across Texas, is that hell is being stuck going 50 miles per hour behind a recreational vehicle. But recently, I’ve come to wonder if heaven might be being behind the wheel of one.
I don’t generally dream about buying big-ticket things like cars and houses. I’m a freelance writer, after all. At this point, saving even a few hundred dollars a year is a struggle — though that got significantly less stressful once I moved in with, and later married, my husband. Splitting rent and groceries and bills has taken significant pressure off my wheezing bank account — even more so than living with roommates.
So maybe that’s why I started letting myself fantasize about taking long trips to Marfa in a giant vehicle with a wildcat or a wolf emblazoned on the back. When I proposed this to Patrick, he was, as we say here in Texas, “raring to go.” Some couples dream of outfitting a nursery. Patrick and I dream of converting an engine to biodiesel and training the cats to ride shotgun. Keep reading »
The world’s saddest person has finally crawled out from under the sad bajillions of dollars she’s made over the years, clawed her way through the sad memories of the last decade of middlingly famous, questionably talented dudes who’ve rejected her and her sad self and at last trapped a man into filling the hole in her sad, professionally successful, by all accounts non-substance-abusive, award-winning, generally talented and supported by nice ladyfriends heart!
In the popular imagination, here is the hierarchy of sadness as I have come to understand it, from not at all sad to the most sad thing anyone can think of, ever: single men, latter-days Charlie Sheen, Olympic silver medal winners, adorable kittens in compromising positions, married men, victims of violent crime and/or systematic injustice and oppression, single women, divorced women, Jennifer Aniston. Keep reading »