As anyone who knows someone who knows someone who knows me now probably knows, I got married three weeks ago.
This surprised no one more than my family, who were convinced I would reveal the whole thing as a joke up until the point I put pen to paper. Or that my husband would reveal himself to be female, thus proving the suspicions about me that have been in the back of their minds since I started puberty to be true. Or that I would later declare I was in fact about to drop dead and wanted the best send-off possible, since all three of these things were more feasible than the idea that I wanted to get married ‘for love’ and ‘due to having found someone I wish to spend the rest of my life with’.None of these things happened, and we’ve been happily married for three weeks. By which I mean nothing about our relationship has changed apart from my name and the decorations of our hands.
Here are a few notes on the experience.
1) Minimalist Marriage is Still Not Widely Accepted
Our vision was clear. It would involve us, as many witnesses as needed to make the thing legal, and the official. If it couldn’t be held in the pub, it would be held within a ten feet radius. And it would involve nothing more formal than brushed hair and the good pair of jeans.
This is shot promptly, point-blank, and thoroughly to shit as soon as anyone else knows about it.On any other occasion, knowing exactly what you want to wear a year in advance would be considered, at best, obsessive. On this occasion, not having this and everything else planned out with the intricacy of Rain Man in charge of a crusade results in your failing the Serious Business test, which you’re under examination for as soon as you announce your engagement.
And if you declare you’ve decided you’ll wear a suit, you might as well be draped in pig entrails.
I bit the bullet (largely because I couldn’t be bothered being measured for a suit), and looked like this on my wedding day:
Dress: £95. Shoes: £20. Fascinator: about £10. Jacket: sister’s. And no, I wasn’t turned down at the ceremony for not putting enough effort in.
My wedding took place in a tent outside the town hall in the French locale we married in, took around twenty minutes including translation, and was so informal I’m still not convinced it’s legal (at least, I’ve not been to many other weddings where the bride, her best friend and her father are interjecting everything with sarcastic interpretations). Reception: groom’s parents’ house, buffet, wine and champagne. It was as relaxed as it could be, it was funny, and there was a lot of affection going around.
You need four things for marriage: one half of a couple, the other half of the couple, the officiator and the witnesses. Literally everything else is embellishment and not required. Bear this in mind when you’re wandering around wedding fayres and being told you NEEEEEEED the gold-trimmed doilies with bonus fucking pointlessness or your day will be RUINED, I TELL YOU, RUINED. THINK OF YOUR CHILDREN.
On to point 2:
2) Marriage Is Not the Best Day of Your Life
Unless you’re that couple that get married in the labour camp in Schindler’s List.The buildup to your wedding is a clusterfuck of coordination and confusion – making sure everyone gets there, knows what they’re doing, is entertained after making the effort to come, isn’t too stressed about anything because that stress will pass on to you and you really can’t be dealing with that – and I only had 20 people at my wedding.
Bear in mind you, as the couple, are the focal point of the whole thing – you’re holding the two halves of the wedding party together. If the pressure of that doesn’t make you want to scream and hit things, it’s likely you may be a Replicant.
By contrast, post-wedding there is zero pressure and you and your other half can spend entire days gaming, binge-watching TV, sleeping and doing all of that in your PJs while eating pizza. That there is a good day.
3) Feminism is Not Compatible With Marriage
‘Why are you buying into that outdated, misogynistic institution that seeks to control women?’
– paraphrase of a question asked of me by a friend, who happens to be married
Correct me if I’m wrong, by all means, but my interpretation of feminism is the belief that as a female I can do whatever the fuck I please that isn’t limited by physics, morality and law enforcement. My engagement took place in a bar at 4am post-tequila shots, and was initiated by me. I feel that reflects my commitment to feminism, as well as my willingness to make life-affirming decisions while messily drunk.‘It’ll ruin your employment prospects’
It’s cool, some of the people I work with are married. Some of them are even higher on the career ladder than me. My manager didn’t threaten to dismiss me on knowing. I did this research very carefully before committing.
‘Marriage is about ownership’
Is it fuck. How do lesbians handle marriage with this kind of thinking? Is it some bizarre form of Stockholm syndrome where both parties think they’re in control of the other while both being hugely codependent? Or is your entire concept of marriage outdated in the face of 21st century realities?
I’m a feminist and a punk, hence I do what I please. I wanted to get married and I got married. Listening to your bullshit would fly right in the face of everything I stand by.
4) Marriage Is Like Fusion
It’s best done between people with a very close bond, who are completely in sync with each other.
There’s usually some bad dancing involved.
Sometimes it’s very short lived.
Sometimes it goes very badly wrong.
But when it’s done properly, it’s permanent, and incorporates the best parts of both of you to make something unstoppable.