Mr. Wow Marries
“Sadie, Sadie, married lady, see what’s on your hand. There’s nothing quite as touching as a simple wedding band/Oh, how that marriage license works, on chambermaids and hotel clerks/The honeymoon was such delight, that we got married that same night!”
What?—do I need to tell you those are lyrics from “Funny Girl”—the mighty amusing “Sadie” sequence, after Barbra marries Omar Sharif. (I don’t use the character names—please. It’s Barbra and Omar.)
Anyway, I, me, Mr. W. at age 61, am finally a Sadie!
Tomorrow I marry the boy I met when I was just a boy of 17. (We’ve been “together” since 1976, when I was a man of 24. Well, I was 24, anyway.)
Now, I think most of you know I’ve never been a sentimentalist or a romantic about marriage. My mantra has always been that since heterosexual Death Row prisoners can marry, gay folks should have the same rights as killers. Fair is fair.
But I never yearned for a wedding. After the first decade or so, I figured we were pretty much “married.” Later, when B. supported me unconditionally through my HIV diagnosis and a to-death’s-door-illness-and-recovery, there was no question. We were, as Shakespeare said of Kate and Petrucio, “madly mated.” However, the legalities never interested me. Or any kind of fuss. And we have cats. No adopting adorable abandoned Asian children for us. So, I was content.
B. however—as you know—is much smarter. He has saved his pennies, invested well. I have not. We both have wills (mine is hilariously threadbare) and I figured that was that. Neither of us has any immediate still-living family. Two weeks ago he said to me, “I want you to read something and consider it carefully.” He didn’t add, “There are pictures of Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor and naked guys, too.” Just “consider carefully.” Yes, like I always have!
It was a letter from his lawyer, detailing his finances and suggesting various ways I would be best protected in case he goes first. (I’m hoping the house explodes and we go together!) The lawyer’s conclusion? Marriage would be best. One of the other considerations was moving to Florida! Not until I change my name to Yetta.
“So?” said B, after I finished reading.
“Darling” I said, “This is so sudden!” We laughed. And then he declared, “Well, I suppose I should do this properly,” and he got down on one knee.
Okay, okay. Even for a non-romantic like me, I was kinda overwhelmed.
We went for the license in Hoboken, and that was a bit of an ordeal. My wonderful friend Scotty was our witness. Though we’d filled out the forms already, the guy at the office was, well—officious! (Even though he wore an earring.) He asked all the questions over again and we had to answer them all verbally.
It was fine until the question concerning my name. I’d asked B. if I should bring my birth certificate and he said no. One of his few errors. I had to field a barrage of questions about my last name…my mother’s maiden name…why there was no father’s name on my birth certificate (I volunteered this after a bit of parry and thrust) and what did it all mean? Well, it meant my mother had entered into a basically arranged marriage, so as not to bear a child as a single woman and so that I would have a surname. But it still was blank on my birth certificate where it said “Father’s Name.” (Oddly, my mother did list my real father’s real profession—bartender. Well, I got his drinking Irish genes, the bastard.)
I became flustered and embarrassed and finally exclaimed, “My God, do I have to defend my mother’s reputation even now?!” There was a woman behind the desk and she got it and whispered to the officious officer. The license was approved. We all had to give our ages. My friend Scotty, there with us, did not—though he had to give a lot of other info. When we left the Place of Licenses, he said: “Good thing he didn’t ask my age, or you’d have to be looking for a new witness.” Even though it would be easy enough to cut him in half and count the rings, I allow him his mystery.
Now, don’t get excited. There will be no veils or rice or partying. We have three witnesses. The aforementioned Scotty. My wonderful friend Mike. And my BFF, Liz R. (Not to be confused with any other Liz.) She is giving us a little wedding luncheon. At least I hope it’s little!
The Great Event happens 10:A.M. at the HobokenCity Hall. No vows. That I know of! I mean, if there were vows I guess I’d vow to be more sensitive, try cooking again (I gave up after twenty years), and drink less. B. would probably vow to pretend to believe my vows.
There will no wedding bands. I don’t like to wear jewelry on my hands or wrists. However, I did mention if he found something around nine carats, emerald-cut, I could wear it as a pendant. Barring that—a mink. (Apologies for all PETA people out there.) Oh, and I will forever refer to him as my “boyfriend.” Not doing the “husband” thing. It just creeps me out.
It is difficult for me to accept this. To accept love. I can barely accept “like.” I said to B—“I can’t believe anybody who really knows me could love me, no less marry me!” But he has. And nobody knows me better.
We have had hard times. He has certainly not been perfect. I felt on at least two occasions that leaving was the only way to go. But I didn’t. How do you leave someone who is, well—you? That’s how close I feel. When I finally fell in love with B. (after years of casual—on my part—encounters) I thought, “FUCK! I don’t want to feel this and he can’t possibly—I am a loser and a slut and everything bad.”
Also he was entangled with others at the time and being something of a shit to everybody, but he swore he loved me. (He was kind of a loser and slut himself at that point, but I always see the worst in myself.)
I gave in. I moved from city to city with him and we struggled in so many ways. But…he was my B. It seemed, for all the sturm und drang, that I could not see myself without him. Even when I thought I wanted to, I couldn’t.
Honestly, to this day, don’t know what he saw in me, or why he stuck it out. I was cute, but not extraordinary. I had nothing but myself to bring to the table. It wasn’t a lot. And in all the years since, I don’t feel I’ve ever filled that table properly.
“But….she recovered” as Judy Garland memorably uttered in the “Born in a Trunk” sequence from “A Star is Born.” And I guess, for all my self-misgivings, I’ve recovered.
Enough to say “I will” anyway.
All my love to all of you, from both of us.
Oh, yeah—the August 5th thing. Totally unplanned. When B told me I shrieked, “Marilyn’s death day!” (She died the night of the 4th, but the world didn’t know till the 5th.)
“Uh, is that a good thing?—death and all.”
“Of course it’s good. Marilyn’s death was the beginning of her acceptance. Clifford Odets said, right after she died that she would be ‘fresher, greener, in death, than she was in life.’ So we will be fresher and greener. It’s just the beginning!
“Okay. But we don’t have to die, right? We’re just getting married.”
B. is so literal.