By Buddy Early, August 2018 Issue.
There’s a common saying that goes “If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married.” Or something like that. “Gay married” is a nonsensical term, but I think it’s funny to say and the word police haven’t told me to stop saying it yet, so I use it during these times when we need some levity.
Anyway, the basic notion is that if you don’t like something or if something doesn’t line up with your own values and morals—and that something in no way affects your life or your loved ones or your community in any way—you can maintain your disapproval and still not interfere with others’ enjoyment of life. Worry about things that actually affect you. Try getting laid, even; from what I remember that helps people chill out.
This philosophy applies to so many things right now, when people across our land need a big shot of Mind Your Own Business and Let Others Be Happy. But I don’t need to write a column in this magazine that preaches to the choir. There’s no need for me to chastise the BBQ Beckys and the Permit Pattys and the Splash Pad Susies. (I made that last one up, but by the time this prints she probably exists.)
Rather, I choose this month to acknowledge my own bias, a bias not against gay marriage, but against gay weddings. Actually, all weddings. To be clear, I’m not shutting the door on marriage. I am definitely open to the idea of sharing my life with another person, particularly if said person comes with a robust retirement account, rock hard abs, no mommy issues, and just wants me to lay there. After all, isn’t that the American Dream? Especially the just laying there part?
Back to weddings. I put them in the same category as proms, bat mitzvahs, graduations and basically any black tie event. I avoid them if I can, since they’re not about me and if they were I’d be really uncomfortable asking friends, family, acquaintances, fans and haters to come spend several hours paying attention to me. Weddings used to be easy to avoid, because I could pull out the old “I refuse to attend an event at which my government does not legally recognize me as one of the key participants.” Then that barrier to me attending weddings was removed. (Thanks, Obama.)
Tangent alert: This seems like as good a time as any to mention that I also cringe at the idea of someone trying to snag my hand in matrimony via some elaborate proposal that includes a flash mob, my fourth grade teacher, fireworks, and an appearance by former child television personality Danny Pintauro.
Still, like most areas of my life, I am evolving on the topic of weddings. I can see the value that other people place on them and respect that they may want to make a huge deal about saying to their partner “I want to share living expenses and ultimately have separate bedrooms because both of us snore.” And doing so in front of other people is important, too. If that makes someone I care about happy, then I’m happy.
Mind you, I haven’t altered my stance that a huge wedding isn’t for me. For starters, I hate getting dressed up. I don’t mind being dressed up … it’s getting dressed up that is the struggle. Secondly, because of my impossibly high standards I would undoubtedly be subject to the whispers from the Altar Andrews and Canopy Kellys, the ones such as “How did Buddy get him?” and “Buddy must have a great personality.” (Spoiler alert: I do.) Finally, I am a firm believer that $40,000 in credit card debt should be reserved for running up giant bar tabs in your 20s, not a one-night party.
Having come around to the realization, however, that showing up and honoring my friends’ whims will not negatively affect me, I’ve learned something very important about being a wedding guest. And it’s this: don’t be extra. The wedding day is about the bride and groom … or the groom and groom, or the bride and bride … or whatever it is we’re calling them when we’re not doing labels. Don’t upstage the guest(s) of honor on the dance floor; don’t make a toast when nobody has asked you to do so, especially if your connection to the happy couple is as the bitter ex-lover; and, by all means, do not think to yourself that the cake looks terrific and they won’t notice this small corner piece missing if you sort of “rebuild” it with cream cheese frosting. Don’t ask how I know, but trust me on that last one.
Most people could probably start their own list of Ways to Not Be Extra at Weddings, which is a great idea for anyone about to attend one. I know I’ve got mine, which is all I need to attend the next fabulous affair for which I am hoping the invitation specifies guests should wear shorts and flip-flops. Because that’s how I would want people dressed at the wedding I hope to never have.
Enjoy your gay weddings, everyone!