October 31, 2024

A sucker for nuptials

This weekend I attended the wedding of a colleague in rural southern Minnesota. The last wedding I attended, I was seventeen. In the intervening years my philosophy has taken some twists and turns. I'm surrounded by many people who aren't really the marrying type, ya know what I mean? And others who can barely tie their shoes, let alone snag a hubby. And that's just fine. After this weekend I still consider myself a radical militant opposed to all heteronormative traditions. And marriage is still a vestige of the whole woman-as-property thing that institutionalizes discrimination against alternative forms of families, but I do now reserve the right to cry at the nuptials.

It was a country church in the middle of corn fields. To the sides, huge groves of trees covered old tombstones, the ground orange and drifting with leaves. My friend Jessica (thank you thank you thank you for coming with me!) and I took our seats in the back.

I'm a bit rusty when it comes to church decorum. I basically grew up in a Lutheran church, but haven't sat in the pew for a long time. I made the mistake of repeating back to Jessica what I thought she had said to me..."I think the word nuptials means fucking." "Fucking?" I said. "Yeah, it probably does mean fucking." "No," she hissed. "I said, 'I think the word nuptials is funny.'"

I figured I'd sit in the back pew, fan myself a bit with the program, and smile warmly. But instead when they started repeating their vows to each other I almost lost it. Eyes got all stingy. Poetic lines about the fading October sunlight filtering into the stained glass windows filled my head. I wanted to hug the dorky Lutheran pastor. And I totally needed a kleenex. Instead I just wiped my eyes with my pointer finger.

Going to a colleague's wedding is kind of voyeuristic. You get to see their family members and their toddlers and old people dancing and giving sappy speeches that they break down in the middle of. Many of the traditions were unfamiliar to me. I thought the glasses clinking meant a speech was coming on. I took both chicken and pasta at the buffet. I tried to dance with the bride for free. I think I'll still remain a critic of marriage, but now with an opt-out clause when it involves friends.

Posted by jason at October 31, 2024 08:09 AM
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