Sunday, April 27, 2008

Have Your Wedding Cake, Girl

The cover story of this week's New York Times Magazine is about a new trend that's emerging among gay 20-somethings in Boston: marriage.

It's certainly better than meth, but I wonder, are these boys charting a brave new course for the gay identity? Are their marriages a signal that the community should clean up its act, stop with all the parading and the lobbying because we've just closed on the cookie-cutter-home in the suburbs?

Cheeky Ward-and-June-Cleave-like photos pepper the 10 page story on the new gay pioneers who are hurrying to embrace the values that gay men have, historically, rejected. If the 70s were about Cruising, then the new millennium is going to be about My Best Friend's Wedding. As the article points out, the gay rights movement has been marked by a concerted effort to eschew the confines of suburban domesticity. But now that marriage is an option for some gay couples I wonder if popular gay identity was a "fine, I didn't want to be like you anyway" reaction to homophobia, when in reality many of us just wanted to marry the high school quarterback and register for goodies at Pottery Barn.

I have to say, reading the stories of these guys, who are all just about my age, was as uplifting as it was nauseating. I got the impression that these boys were talking about marriage with the same fervor they would reserve for the Sex and the City movie. "Hey girl, did you get the tickets to movie? OMG, I'm getting married BTW."

Granted, I never saw myself walking down the aisle, cutting a wedding cake or making sweeping professions of love before an audience. The last time I made such a public vow I had promised to hold true to the faith I was brought up with - that didn't go very well. However, I'm four years into my relationship with James and it's lovely. We even exchanged rings last year. I was 23 when we met and at the time I was absolutely OK with being single, but I definitely had my obsessive moments with men and I did panic, a lot, about what would become of me if I didn't find someone.

In that respect, I can relate with these boys' need to just skip the mine field of gay single life and just partner up with someone and get on with your life. I did that at 23 without knowing it and three vacations with both sets of families later, James and I are pretty much stuck with each other. I wouldn't have it any other way.

It bears repeating, however, that this isn't the norm for many gays in the U.S. While Massachusetts and New York are hotbeds of progressive thinking, there are many gays and lesbians for whom marriage and normalcy is just not an option. With that in mind, I think it is rather bold and exemplary that these young guys are seizing a hard-won right that goes just a little bit further in making us a legitimate part of American society.

And perhaps that nausea I felt while reading the article was my disbelief that this is really happening, that two men can get married, that it can be OK and the end of the world won't come upon us. So, who even cares how these marriages will work out?We all know the gays make for good TV, I can't wait for the Logo version of Divorce Court

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