“How’s the wedding planning going?” a twenty-something guy I occasionally gossip with at the local Hell’s Kitchen dog park asked me.
I was in the middle of picking up dog shit. “It’s good,” I answered him coldly. I sheepishly walked toward the trash bin and delicately dropped the bright green plastic bag teeming with fecal matter into the garbage. I can’t stand when people strike up conversation when I’m in the middle of cleaning up dog shit. It’s degrading.
“Stressful?” he pressed. My bitchy “don’t f*cking talk to me, dude” vibes were clearly flying right over his well-meaning head.
I then turned around and stared at him with big, crazy eyes, hoping a little bit of manic energy might scare him off. Look at any man under the age of 40 with wild eyes and he’ll usually run screaming in the opposite direction. “I’m not a traditional bride,” I chirped, kicking a few stones in the air, really hamming up the crazy girl act.
“Well, obviously!” he cackled, slapping a large, meaty hand against his ample thigh. “It’s two girls getting married! That’s not traditional!” I noticed tiny beads of sweat smattered across his well-endowed forehead. He had a pair of “mandals” (man sandals) strapped to his feet and I fought back the urge to wretch. For whatever reason, the bare foot of a man triggers me.
A red mist of irritation crept its way across my frame of vision as I narrowed my hazel eyes. “Why?” I asked, calmly. Too calmly. “On the brink” calmly.
“Huh?” he asked back, his deep voice rendering itself dumbfounded that a person could be questioning anything that came out of his brilliant boy lips.
“Why? Why is it untraditional for two women to be getting married?” I tossed a tennis ball across the lawn. Both my mini Australian shepherd and his Pomeranian fervently chased after it. The Pomeranian got to it first, but my dog aggressively pulled it out of the Pom’s mouth and ran in a circle around the park in a dramatic victory lap. Good boy.
I crossed my arms and took residence on the park bench. I woman-spread my body across the wooden bench so there was little space for anyone else. After ten years of squeezing into tiny spaces on the subway as one bro takes up four seats with his melodramatic man sprawl, I like to woman-spread whenever the opportunity presents itself. Which is often.
“‘Cause girls don’t usually marry other girls.” And that was the first moment I noticed my little dog park gossip buddy had a Southern accent.
“Look, buddy,” I said, my voice dripping like the sweetest honey you could ever taste. “My wedding is untraditional because I’m a weirdo. Not because I’m a lesbian. In fact, tons of my lesbian friends are way more traditional than you will ever be.” Our poor dude friend looked perplexed by my statement, as if I’d just shot a crazy theory his direction, one that would change everything, forever.
But I could tell that he was genuinely trying to wrap his brain around the concept of two women being traditional. I know us dykes are tired of having to break down gay culture to straight men all the time, but for whatever reason, I continued. I could tell he was a kind-hearted boy-creature, just simply ignorant. I imagined him teaching his fellow Southern frat friends my lesbian lessons at the bar later that night. “Did you know lesbians can have traditional values?” I imagined him drawling to a crowd of SMU graduates, their drunken eyebrows raising in collective shock. “Well, I’ll be damned!” one of them would say, pounding his hand on the table. Before my imagination ran off to the local mental hospital, he spoke up.
“I guess that makes sense. It’s just that you’re the only lesbian I know and your style is so edgy,” he said nervously. Aww.
“Oh, honey!” I crooned. “That’s just because I’m weird!” I adjusted the frames on my diamond-bedazzled sunglasses and tapped the four-inch heel of my platform boots. “Not because I’m a lesbian!”
“You’re right,” he said, laughing. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to stereotype you.”
“Don’t worry, I stereotype your kind all the time. I tend to think all former frat boys are thick-headed beer sluggers with nothing profound to say.” I hadn’t meant to be so blazingly honest; the words simply fell out of my mouth. I envisioned myself catching them on a fish-hook and reeling them back in.
That made him laugh harder. “Some of us are,” he said, really hysterical now (a little too hysterical). “But not all of us.”
“Some of us lezzies are weird. But most of us…” My eyes honed in on a pony-tailed soft butch dutifully jogging at the other end of the park. “Most of us are like friendly camp counselors, here to save the day. Very norm-core. Pretty handy, too. Great at swinging a hammer,” I said, gazing at the sweet basic butch healthily jogging her way through the park on a midsummer’s day.
Later that evening I was on the phone with my mom. I told her that Meghan didn’t want a unicorn cake because she didn’t want our wedding to look like a “little girl’s birthday party.” After all, we already have an actual unicorn (one of my sister’s horses adorned in a unicorn horn headband) and a live model dressed as a mermaid who will be swimming in the pool in a gorgeous, glimmering mermaid tail.
“Darling, you’re not going to have a traditional cake, are you?” she said, sounding disappointed. “Don’t make this a traditional wedding, please. They’re so bloody corny. I can’t stand those f*cking American weddings with all those f*cking blush tones. That’s not who we are.”
“No, it’s not,” I said, smiling. My British “mum” detests traditional weddings because she’s super weird, and she’s not even, like, remotely gay.
It’s funny how society seems to thinks of us gays as counter-culture wackos, as freaks who cry rainbow tears and only partake in bondage-like sex. I do personally cry rainbow tears, love bondage-like sex, and have been a certified freak since I was fourteen. But my weirdness really, truly is disconnected from my sexuality. Most of my lez friends are actually quite preppy. They have houses in Provincetown and thriving gardens that they endlessly tend to and they play tennis on the weekends and softball during the week and they go to the gym and stay away from gluten. My people tend to be quite civilized, really.
I’ve always identified far more with the wild, hyper-sexual gay boy culture than the buttoned-up lesbian culture, truth be told. A lot of lesbians take one look at me, with face jewels adhered to my cheekbones on a Monday and glitter smattered across my eyelids on a Tuesday, and seem a little f*cking alarmed. But gay men usually see me and respond with an enthusiastic “yas!”
Anyway, the moral of the story, babes, is this: There are so many types of gays and so many types of gay weddings in this expansive gay world we live in! Some gay weddings are stuffier than a Nantucket funeral. Some gay weddings are witchy and earthy and have crazy rituals (I see you, Brooklyn dykes!). Some have mermaids and unicorns, like mine. And some are just super basic, taking place in totally normie banquet halls with overbearing mothers-in-law and a slew of drunken uncles who make inappropriate speeches that tear the family apart. Each gay has their own style and each gay’s wedding shall reflect just that.
See? Gays! We’re just like you! We get married and execute our weddings to suit our tastes! Who would have ever known?!