“There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” – Oscar Wilde
Nineteen hours ago, I updated my Facecook status with this:
“I’m already getting a few too many “when are you getting married?” queries. It’s not quite annoying. Not yet. Is this what it’s like for straight people, like, all the time everywhere? Because I can see it becoming “A Thing.”
And by “A Thing” I meant annoying.
The replies came quickly. Especially from my straight friends, with women chiming in first.
This from my friend Shelly: “It’s even worse for women. We not only get ‘when are you getting married??’ but also ‘when are you having kids??'”
According to Janet, it gets worse with age: “Only for women. Especially those nearing 40. With cats. (Oh <redacted>, that’s me!)”
Then there’s this nugget from a straight man (who we’ll call Jimmy) : “When are you going to have a <redacted> baby?”
Seriously? Is this what marriage equality means for folks like me (roughly 40, not quite ready to tie the knot?)
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a little bit adorable and totally flattering. And naturally people are curious now that Jersey gays won all the rights and responsibilities of matrimony. But as I’m slowly beginning to understand, the series of “when are you gonna (blank)” questions won’t ever stop. There’s that baby to worry about as soon as me and Greg tie the knot. Right?
Next came an ominous warming from Ellen: “the minute you’re finished pushing out the first baby, people are like ‘when are you having number 2?'”
We all know it comes from a good place, but to tell you the truth marriage and kids ain’t everyone’s cup of tea. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
I fought for marriage equality as a matter of principle and one day Greg and I will surely tie the knot (it’s been 10 years and counting) but there’s nothing even tentatively on the horizon for us at the moment. To be honest, I’ve lived on this planet for 41 years and it wasn’t until this week that marriage has even been a possibility for me. It’s only now that I’m even beginning to contemplate marriage in a meaningful way. Getting used to the idea is gonna take a nanosecond or two.
(Kids are an easier topic for me to deflect. I’d rather poke myself in the eyeballs with an icepick than have kids. Again, there’s totally nothing wrong with that. But to hear my Facebook girlfriends tell the story, the pressure to get married then have a baby then have anther baby et al. could grow immensely wearying.)
I guess I better get used to it. Especially if I heed the warnings of my friend Theresa: “people keep naggnig you until you have three kids. Then they nag you to stop. Then when your spouse dies they tell you that you’re still young, you’ll get married again before the body’s even cold. Welcome to the straight world!!”
It’s worth nothing that while most comments came from women, the “likes” came from tended to come from men, an overwhelming majority of them straight. Overall, my original comment prompted 77 “likes” and 45 comments (and counting), roughly double the usual.
Let’s be clear: It’s with immense gratitude that we have achieved marriage equality in New Jersey. We worked really hard for a really long time and it’s really cool to begin to muse about the possibility. For example, I’ve already decided that I wanna get married somewhere local and hold my reception across the Delaware at the Constitution Center in Philly, site of the coolest wedding I’ve ever attended. It was breathtakingly beautiful. And then there’s the groovy symbolism of the whole Constitution thing which I totally love. I mean, let’s face it, without the Constitution, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.
Of course when I shared my tentative thoughts about where to wed (and throw the after-party) Greg was like, “I dunno honey, I was kinda hoping we could do somewhere tropical.”
When I protested that this would make it hard for friend and family to attend we both chuckled. There we were disagreeing about where to stage a wedding neither of us is quite ready for. Which when you think about it is pretty much the same terrain a straight couple has to navigate when deciding to say I do. Or not.
It’s kinda liberating to “come out” as a marriage equality activist who’s not trying to actually get married (despite a decade-long, committed relationship with my Boo.) I’ve basically repressed that part of myself since Garden State Equality berated me for candidly telling a reporter, “I am not the marrying type. My partner and I are totally cool living in sin.”
That quip came back in October 2006, minutes after the NJ Supreme Court ruling which led to civil unions.
Any good media whore worth a retweet will announce their wedding plans via social media in a tidy and expeditious matter. When our time comes, I’ll be no exception.
Jay Lassiter is a liberal activist whose handiwork includes helping end New Jersey’s death penalty, legalizing medical marijuana and (at long last) winning marriage equality in the Garden State. He’s a frequently sought political commentator who has appeared in numerous media outlets including FOX 29, NPR, BBC, NBC10, CBS, News12, My9 and Reuters, among others. He sharpened his political claws blogging during BlueJersey.com’s halcyon days and has been a gadfly in Trenton ever since. He’s currently happy living in sin in Cherry Hill, NJ with his partner Greg and their cat, “Mister Menendez.”