Monday, March 23, 2009

The Wedding

It occurred to me that blogs are usually a catalogue of people's every day, mundane activity. This is why I hate reading most blogs and stopped blogging after the first three times I tried. If there's one thing worse than hearing about someone's boring, routine life, it's being reminded of my own boring, routine life. However, people don't just get married every day, so I thought I'd post about my upcoming wedding in May.

I met her through an online dating service that asks a bunch of questions and matches you up. It was not eHarmony, or any other pay site. It was a free one, so obviously we're both cheap. We had that in common from the start.

When we first met up, we had a good time and just kept hanging out, closer and closer together each date (both in time apart and proximity in space). Pretty soon I made my move. "Wanna hang out in bed?" I asked on the *censored for decency*th date. Like a lady, she said "sure."

She pretty much didn't leave my apartment for several months except to go to class and go out with me to get groceries. We talked about moving in together after a couple months, but we decided to wait until we'd been together a year... so we didn't look crazy.

We've been together over two years now and we're getting married in two months. I owned one cat before meeting her and she owned two. I rescued a fourth cat off the street when we still had separate residences, but we found him a home through Craigslist after it became clear that four cats and my feline allergy would not be realistic for our move in together.

We moved in last spring. By the summer, I went with her to a music festival. I can't stand the things, but I figure a weekend here or there each year is a whole lot less to sit through than church on a weekly basis. It's comparable to the less rigorous "Christmas/Easter" Christians. I don't care how anyone practices their faith, so long as it doesn't impose upon me (and I don't find parades or nativity scenes imposing, just kind of gay).

I feel bad, making fun of homosexuals in a piece about weddings. I wasn't trying to spit on anyone while they were down. I didn't mean it to insult gay people, just religious people (you know, since they would hate being gay). Oy...

So these music festivals... they're kind of like Vegas. What happens at music festivals stays at music festivals. It's nothing secretive, it's just that for some reason no one remembers a damn thing from the whole weekend… except for me. I remember things... horrible things...

Drum circles so big you can't see the other side. People tripping on acid mushrooms talking about elves darting through crowds of sheeople (that's people who look like sheep). Everyone is bright red from passing out in the noon sun, and they dance like Dionysian devils in the fire light, under a dark new moon by night. I may not believe in the gods, but I almost believe in demons after this.

I kid. It was mostly just sitting around, being unreachable outside cell phone range, while you sipped drinks and listened to awful jazz and funk musicians practice scales and arpeggios for hours on end.

My biggest true complaints were 1. the prevalence of vegetarian food to the exclusion of meat, and 2. the fact that people didn’t go to sleep until very late. I hate to be a bitch about going to bed early, it’s just a pain to sleep in a tent in the summer sun. I can’t sleep past nine in the summer. I don’t drink, so I’m not passed out; I’m actually conscious and having to make an effort to sleep.

My ability to tolerate a music festival cemented her love for me. We arranged to get married and set a tentative early summer date. We made the long drive from Pennsylvania to Indiana, where my parents live. We told them the good news. My mom’s reaction (looking straight at my fiancé): “Are you sure you want to marry him?” Priceless.

Things didn’t go so well with telling her parents. For one thing, I had (and still have) yet to meet her parents. This is by no fault of our own. Her parents simply aren’t interested in meeting her goyfriend turned fiancé. Something about demanding she inbreed, I can’t even pretend to understand it. Maybe it’s best he only uses his limited imagination, I might surpass that.

So she told them by phone from my parents’ house. They weren’t too thrilled. Letters began pouring in from people she barely knows. Long-lost cousins dropped in from out of town to nervously change the subject as I came in the room. It didn’t occur to me until now, but someone who didn’t love the person they were with so much might have been scared off by some of this. It just gives us a good laugh.

One night, my fiancé gets a call from one of her brothers. The half of the conversation I hear sounds like the brother has something important and that she needs to go somewhere private. Bastard knows I’m listening! Tricky!

I hear laughing and she comes back in to explain. Her brother informed her that he consulted a rabbi in Israel about our situation (as he was in Israel at the time… so this is a trans-Atlantic phone call...) who said that one of three things would happen: either I would convert to Judaism, we would break up within a year, or (this one’s my favorite) I would die. It’s Jewish Voodoo: Voojew.

Giving the curse the full benefit of the doubt, we look forward to celebrating our first year anniversary, even if she continues to beat me mercilessly. Not the face!

Obviously we aren’t having a lot of religion in our wedding. As it turns out, that leaves very little to the wedding besides the declaration and eating. I never liked the other stuff anyway. There will be no officiant, as Pennsylvania allows for self-uniting marriage (thank you Quakers). It will be just me, her, our closest friends and family in the great outdoors, surrounded by food. I even weaseled my way out of having to wear a tux.

As the date gets closer, things supposedly get more stressful. I don’t know, everything has gone smoothly and continues to fall into place. She has done a great job doing most of the planning and organizing for the wedding herself, and I’m eternally grateful that she doesn’t look down on me for every stupid attempt I make at helping.

I wish the wedding was over and done with. I look forward to marriage. The act is largely legal for me, as the symbolism is completely lost upon me. I would do anything for my fiancé, wedding or not. I don’t need a ring around my finger to remain faithful and loyal. She’s been the only woman I want to be with since the first time I told her I loved her, and as far as I’m concerned, everything else is just for show. The world wants a show, and she doesn’t mind giving them one, so wedding: here we come.


  1. I met a fellow that was a newly wed. I asked him how long he'd been engaged.

    He said he had lived with her for about 8 years! They married for insurance purposes.

    I'll mark my calender for June of next year. If you're still alive by then, I'll drink a beer in your honor!

  2. Interesting. I am surprised that the online dating service would match you two up with your diverse family backgrounds. Family harmony is a strong component of happiness. This is going to be difficult for both of you......but not impossible.

    Does you fiance share your views on Israel/Palestine? With family in Israel? What books or speakers have influenced your views? I am interested because I have a friend who may share similar views and I wonder if common sources have contributed to this "pro-Justice" position as he calls it.

  3. The dating site asked very different questions than most. They based matching on weighted preference of the user, and one could choose to account for none of the traditional things (like background) in calculating your matches. This leads to thinks like... I may see someone as matching me 85%, but they see me as matching only 67% because we answered differently to how much we cared about certain things. If I chose an answer that corresponded to "I don't care about your religious background" on several questions, then it won't be weighted heavily (or at all) for how someone matches my ideal. If you want to know which site, I can tell you privately... I just don't want people trying to look up our profiles by posting which site. Maybe after we take down our old profiles I'll say it publicly, since I highly recommend the site.

    And for the last time, we have the same background: annoying religious people we don't agree with.

    She's not nearly as steadfast on the issue of Israel as I am. She's been there several times. She sees how Israel's actions are disproportionately violent, but I'm not clear on how she feels about things like the founding of Israel itself. However, we both agree that Jews should not be displaced from Israel, especially by force (as this would be no better than what they did to Palestinians, and two wrongs do not make a right, especially when these are the descendents of the original offenders). I think that would be the only stance I could adopt that would upset her, and it should be the only one that bothers anyone else.

    I would say I'm most influenced by comedy. George Carlin, Bill Maher, and Bill Hicks come to mind immediately. Of course, I don't adopt everything each of them says (Bill Maher vocally opposes meat... though is not a vegetarian). I find a lot of truth in humor. Books I read early in my life may have influenced my views, such as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. However, I read the Bible quite a bit growing up, though being Catholic I certainly wasn't encouraged to (I'm sure Tandi will understand what I mean).

    As far as where the idea of opposing Israel comes from... I have two eyes that see and two ears that hear. Nothing more is required in assessing the situation as abominable.

    I really recommend you read my posts on Israel, as I outline why Israel is born from an anti-Semitic idea, the "Jewish Problem." Nazi's came up with "The Final Solution," which is now a horrible scar in human history. But Israel was founded under the same auspices as the Nazi stance on Judaism: we don't want them here, let's move them away. It is analogous to post-slavery America's call to ship black people back to Africa. It is intolerance for difference, a belief that everyone needs to stay in their place. I think this ideology is horrible, and I believe in univeral freedom of movement and habitation.

    I think the term "pro-Justice" reeks of pretension. In my experience, justice is often a euphemism for revenge. I wonder what your friend's idea of a solution would be.

  4. I shared your comments re: Israel with my friend by email. He agrees with you. He would like to dialogue with you eventually when he has more time. I see that he left you a comment at your Above Criticism post.

    Here is his response to your comments above:

    .....I understand his concerns about the "pro-justice" rhetoric.  My use of this term is the result of not wanting to be "pro" any given side.  Israeli and Palestinian culture, at this point, have a right to exist.  I wholeheartedly agree with him on this point.  The founding of Israel and the compounding of Jewish identity with Israeli politics has been one of the most devastating moral blows to Judaism in the last 100 years.  Now, though, that Israel exists as a nexus of Jewish identity, we must deal with the "facts on the ground" which have, by the way, often been created as a means of ameliorating arguments in favor of a Jewish statement in the Occupied Territories. 

    The best solution at this point is simply constitutional democracy.  Two-state solutions miss the importance of the interdependency of Israel and Palestine.  The Palestinians could not exist as an economically viable independent state because Israel has cut them off from the physical flow of goods, funding, and services necessary for the development of a robust and fecund economy.  A one-state solution is needed in which Israeli citizenry and Palestinian citizenry in all of their variants (both groupings represent large conglomerates of diversity and there is not such thing as "the Palestinian mind" or the "Israeli mind") have constitutional rights and democratic representation. 

    I agree with Ginx that the status quo in Israel/Palestine supports Islamic extremism.  In fact, Israeli injustice against Palestine is  the central political pillar of Islamic extremism.  Take away this pillar and there would, more than likely, not have been a 9/11, etc.  Even-handedness would have improved the situation decades ago...but America is at least fifty years tardy in demonstrating an ability to be even handed.  Of course, I neither condone nor justify extremism or terrorism of any type, but I also wish that America would stop fueling the global war on terror of its own creation.

  5. Well, after this post, I get the impression that AE is getting a lot of "broken heart" and "headache" for nothing.

    Because it seems that she is the only one who wants a wedding, and at the same time it causes her a lot of problmes...

    Looks to me as if AE is running her head against a wall without any good reason...

    You could just do your civil marriage, invite a few friends, invite or not invite her family, and remark casually, in a few years' time: oh, by the way, we have been married for x years now...

    That would be sooo much cooler than making all this fuss.

  6. Why should our love be kept in some sort of closet? I would rather parade in front of her parents' house until they acknowledged us, but I doubt AE would be up for that.

    Plus, from reading her blog, I get the impression she vents there, so it seems worse to a reader of her blog than it appears in our day-to-day lives.

    Here, city hall weddings can only be held on a Tuesday. We're having less than twenty guests, all from out of town. Who the hell wants to get married or fly into town on a Tuesday?

    Atheists deserve a wedding too. Just like ethics, religious people do not have a monopoly... and Atheists do it better anyway.

    I'm sick of religious people thinking they have the right to shoo people under the rug, out of sight. It is an inherent problem of many religious people that they think only they have the right to stand up for what they believe. I believe I love AE and will be with her as long as humanly possible.

    I don't know what you believe, but it's probably rubbish if it makes you think other people don't have the right to express their commitment to each other publicly. That’s what marriage is: publicly declaring your love. Every person deserves the right to do that.

    You strike me as the kind of person who, after reading Romeo and Juliet, thought, “What a sad tale of the tragedies that befall children who do not obey their parents.”

  7. Sorry, I misunderstood you.
    I understood that you do not really care for a wedding, and that you just go through it for AE.

    That was my point. I do not have anything against civil marriages and I think everyone should wed or not wed as they like...

  8. I stumbled across your blog this evening (via a link from the "God is for Suckers" blog) and have been enjoying it quite a bit. I am a rather enthusiastic Atheist but it is always a bit hard to find blogs that hit the right tone - neither too aggressive nor too passive - on religious issues. This one seems just about right.

    And just for the record, although I identify myself as an Atheist, I come from a Jewish background and there are many of us who are either harshly critical of Israel or - like myself - directly anti-Zionist. One of my pet projects was "Jewish Friends of Palestine" which was originally set up to specifically point out Jewish (by whatever definition, which is a tricky question in its own right) criticism and opposition to Israel's behavior toward the Palestinian people.


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