It's not just Connecticut that's full of surprises. This just in from faithful correspondent Carey Maloney.
Connecticut Welcomes You! If only you knew how long and how relentlessly we have made fun of Connecticut—the proverbial “state of mind”…Particularly Greenwich. … Precious and preppy. The Upper East Side with (granted nice) stone fences. Not that Greenwich gives a flying F what we think. This I acknowledge.
Well, I can’t promise to completely stop teasing but, indeed, the Great State of Connecticut and the charming Town of Greenwich have welcomed “us” gay men and women, and Hermes and I appreciate it…greatly.
Five years ago, when Massachusetts legalized gay marriage (the sixth government on Earth to make this radical leap…), I piped up to Hermes, “We have to get married. We have to add our names to the list…It’s a political statement we have to make”. His response, way too fast by the way, was “I don’t want to marry you.”
Huh??? “I don’t want to marry you
” or “I don’t want to marry
After I peeled myself off the ceiling (at that point we’d been together 22 years), I generously gave him a moment to explain. “It’s a bourgeois institution that I’ve been denied all my life. Who wants it?” I understood. And I started my work…
Now, fast forward to April 3, 2009. We’re getting married in Greenwich! For myriad reasons—legal, moral, political, and emotional— we’re tying the knot.
We’re eloping. We’re kidnapping our best friend and witness Barbara (she thinks we’re giving her a ride upstate) and will surprise twelve friends at a Wedding Dinner on April 4.
We’re keeping it simple—very very simple. Like pregnancies, weddings should be talked about as little and as late as possible. They are boring. Trust me. Granted, I have a slightly new take on this subject since OUR wedding is very, very interesting. But, in general, my rule above stands…For your
FYI: to date I have told no one. Well—only Need To Know people. My shrink (he’s been saddled with the mother-of-the-bride role), three women from the New York Times, and my assistant (since NY Times Fact Checker #3 told her...). I truly think that is it, info wise. Pretty good, no? Very AA—I took it one day at a time.
We got our license a month ago
at Greenwich Town Hall, a big handsome red brick building—Very Greenwich. As we walked from the parking lot, in biting/blinding 10-degree wind, I half jokingly said, “I hope they aren’t mean to us.” Hermes stops, turns, looks at me, and says, “You can be mean back.” (Isn’t that sweet?) No need to worry, those people, including Justice of the Peace Elizabeth Bonsal, were so nice to us. “You’ve been together 27 years? OMG! How great!” kind of nice…
I bought a swell Etro white-on-white shirt last year on sale (marked down twice and still $180. Those were the days..), which has been in a holding pattern in my closet all this time.
So, we got a license, and I have an outfit. We’re basically done.
A run down of the plans, hopefully there will not need to be a P.S. next week with the changes to my well-planned mini-event. “Freak Flash-flood on Merritt Parkway Causes 50-car Pile Up…” kinda images float in my head.
Friday, pick up Barbara and Zorro, her chihuahua, drive to Greenwich, get married in Justice of the Peace’s house. (Very Lucy and Ricky. Remember when they found out they weren’t married, and they had to find a JP? That’s my model.) In at 2 p.m., out by 2:15. Works for me. I was raised an Episcopalian; we are BBCMB (born, baptized, confirmed, married and buried), all in under 30 minutes combined
Driving upstate, we’ll find a “Connecticut Welcomes You” sign for a photo op. I think there is one on the road to Bedford, so that works. And if no sign, no problem. My mantra for this weekend is No Problem.
Barbara will take our picture with my fab “Just Married” sign. Very sorority Pep Rally. And a wacky shoe/can thingy tied to the car. (Hermes took one look as I slaved away, raised one eyebrow, and pronounced it, “Classy,” Was he being sarcastic??) Then I can iPhone the image to my mother, Hermes’s brother, my brother—a few people… No warning and, therefore, no advice!
Proceed to Rhinecliff and pick up two more house guests at the train station. Again, using the “Just Married” sign as our intro (it balances on the rear windshield wiper!). They go to put their luggage in the back—squeals and kisses.
Proceed to our house. Order pizza from Broadway Pizza in Tivoli (they deliver!) and park our married asses at our bar for the evening.
Saturday, using the three houseguests as dogs bodies, get ready for dinner for 14. The dinner theme: The Old Ball and Chain. We have three huge old mercury glass balls I’ll drag up from the basement and wind lengths of chain around them for the table decoration. We’ll have the car parked in the driveway—once again with the “Just Married” sign and the shoes/cans. Maybe a discreet spot light on it? Squeals and kisses!! No one coming will know until they pull into the driveway.
The menu: Beef tenderloin, macaroni and cheese (from Pinch and S'mac
;really, really good), and haricots verts. A chocolate groom’s cake from Calico in Rhinebeck. (Head’s up—key advice for anyone, anytime. Avoid the word "Wedding" whenever you can. Fraught with complications. I ordered a cake “for a party,” not a wedding cake. It took me 3 minutes to decide and place the order. Had I used the word "wedding," I would probably still be there with three pretty young women thrashing out fruit fillings..)
I refuse to fall into the Good Taste trap ‘cause then I’d be buying into the Wedding crap. Not us; we’re dancing to our own drummer. The inside decorations are basic Michael’s fare. I bought some paper wedding bells for our Goan bartending angels to hold. I made elaborate (trust me) fake corsages for everyone—men and women. All different, all bodice-ripping huge and all tacky fake flowers (isn’t Michael’s fun???).
To be honest, it’s mostly my drummer we’re dancing to. Hermes is being so patient and letting me do whatever I want… Sort of. My idea that we buy all new clothes for the ceremony, “Screw something borrowed and something blue. Let’s get ourselves new clothes—everything! Like a trousseau!!” was shot down with a glance. No words— just a look. So I changed that little subject and now I have to sneak all that new stuff into my closet, bit by bit…Oy.
So, 27 years to the week after the Luckiest Day of My Life, when I first saw Hermes Mallea across the throng of hundreds of men at the coat check at The Saint, I am marrying him on April 3, the Happiest Day of My Life. Very weird and very nice.
Thanks to the great state of Connecticut— the Constitution State—for allowing us the freedom to make a/our choice. And to New York Governor Patterson for recognizing out-of-state marriages. And to former New Paltz Mayor Jason West and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom for making a big leap very early. And to Massachusetts for setting the benchmark in 2004.
To those of you who oppose gay marriage, I have nothing to say. Well – almost nothing… There is school of thought, gay-activism-wise, that LGBT’s need to tone it down, fight our fights with dignity and not lower ourselves to the base levels some opponents sink to.
Hmmm. It’s 2009. We’ve done it. We’re married. It’s legal.
So a heads-up to the Prop 8 supporter types. Try to take it away—and there are many who will fight us to the mat to accomplish this—and my response will be a dignified “F_ck you, A_hole. See you in court.” (FYI – that joins my list of Words You Don’t Want to Hear, including “Open in the name of the Inquisition!” and “Do you have liability insurance?”)
So, as not to end on a sour note (those Prop 8 people can do that to me!), I’ll end on a happy one: We got married! Wish us luck!
"Connecticut—We’re Full of Surprises!" They aren’t kidding.
Check out these two links from GLAD (Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders) for details on how to get married in Connecticut and Massachusetts
And check out New York’s Empire State Pride Agenda’s information on the rights and benefits conferred by New York on married couples.
http://www.prideagenda.org/IssuesExplained/MarriageandFamilyProtection/tabid/67/Default.aspx —Carey Maloney