As a gay man in a major metropolitan area, a large percentage of my friends are gay or lesbian. Because of that, a larger percentage of my friends were unmarried just because they couldn’t. Obviously that is changing. Same-sex marriage has been legal in my state for almost 10 years now, but now that it is spreading to the rest of the country, it is affecting my wallet more.
Having lived all over the continent, I have more friends on the wrong side of the Berkshires than I do here in Boston (obviously, the right side). There are a few things in this world that I’ve never been able to grasp: jewelry, giving someone dying flowers, and gift obligations.
Jewelry just seems ludicrous to me. It’s something else for me to lose. When I was young, I owned rings and ear-rings; now I am completely flummoxed as to why people think gold has value and why they would deck themselves out with rocks. I just have other things I’d rather spend my money on. If I’m ever successful at tricking a man into marrying me, I would wear a wedding ring if he wanted me to, but it wouldn’t have any meaning to me. I’ve never seen a ring stop infidelity or affect love itself in any way.
Dead flowers. Really? How did that get started? Yes, flowers are beautiful and I even take pictures of them in the Public Gardens, people’s lawns (that felt creepy to type, but the houses here have very small front lawns compared to other places I’ve lived and I don’t leave the sidewalk), and I even incorporate images of flowers into my art-work… but once you cut them, they are dead. Bringing me flowers is like a cat bringing me a dead mouse and expecting praise. I’m going to pat him on the head and say, “Good boy,” but it’s very unlikely that I will mean it.
Now, for the gifts. If there’s an open bar or a dinner, I’m happy to bring a gift – if you are asking me to fly across country, get a hotel room, just hiring a dj, and making me spring for my own drinks, I don’t feel like reciprocating with a gift. Also, most of the gay couples that are getting married now have lived together for eons. They are not the typical newly-weds. They already own toasters, juicers, crystal vases, his and his towel sets, and martini glasses (I can’t think of anything else a person could possibly need), so they don’t need the gifts to help them start their lives together.
With that said, I have a wedding to go to in Colorado next month. My friend who’s getting married wouldn’t care if I brought a gift or not; she’s just happy to be marrying her wife, the other mother of her child. The money I’m paying for plane tickets to and from the tiny little airport is nothing compared to the honor I feel at being asked to come and celebrate with them. And, I’m bringing a gift – because one isn’t expected and I know one of the brides incredibly well, so I know exactly what to bring. If they’ve registered somewhere and picked out expensive trinkets they would like, I haven’t heard about it. And that’s exactly how it should be.
New couples about to embark on their currently new penniless lives together should receive gifts that will help them get on with it. All you old queens and lesbians just need to suck it up – there are some traditions that we need to leave with the breeders.
Petty? Yes. I just hate that people add pressure to (what is for me) an already incredibly awkward social event.
It’s doubtful that I will ever have occasion to request gifts at a wedding party. It’s certain that I will never have need of a gift laden baby shower. I really should just have one big “Be happy that you know me” party, register at Barnes and Noble, and invite everyone I know to belly up to the cash bar.