Love, Sweet Nothings


My imperfect wedding shoes and veil atop a feature spread in Martha Stuart Weddings (Winter 2011) that just happens to be about the union of two men

Somewhere in a board room last Friday night the New York Legislature brought this country one step closer to granting civil rights to all of its citizens, and in a little corner of California a certain bride gained a tad bit of perspective. I had been feeling like the star of my very own prime-time miniseries about wedding stresses for the past few weeks and everything seemed to be pushing me into crisis mode (from the way my e-mail service has been deleting wedding contracts and contacts, to the daunting reality that I still haven’t had my dress altered, to the fact that I have yards of fabric and gads of combs yet no clue how to make my own veil). Hearing the happy news from New York, however, made me feel momentarily elated and then it made me feel guilty for letting things like color palettes and tailoring get to me when there’s a whole segment of our population who still don’t have the legal right to marry the people they love.

While this was a well-needed dose of perspective amidst my crisis-creating tornado, I eventually realized that it wasn’t any more right for me to continue feeling guilty than it was for me to work myself up into a ball of stress. In fact, it would almost be better for me to focus on the things stressing me out, because at least those are things I can attempt to fix right now. I’m not by any means advocating complacency about civil rights, but late last Friday it dawned on me that being heavy-spirited about my upcoming nuptials would be like not eating a healthy meal every time I thought of starving children in Africa or boycotting work every time I thought about people in the unemployment lines. This is to say, problems are not solved by people merely abandoning their ways of life – they’re solved through tiny actions taken by millions of people working to raise awareness and bring about change in the best ways they know how. For some this means pursuing a job in activism, but for most this means working non-activist jobs and finding ways to use their skills to incite and inspire change in small ways whenever they can.

I, for one, will never be an activist. But, I will always be someone who writes and tells stories, and I learned long ago that this is the one skill through which I’m best equipped to effect change. Does this mean I should make every screenplay, short story or blog post I write a moralistic one? Of course not. My main objective as a writer will always be to tell an entertaining story, but I do feel some responsibility to further causes I care about through these entertaining stories and I make sure to do so every chance I get. As such, there are five-gazillion things I could say right now to further the cause of equal marriage rights, but I will stick to the one thing that feels most important to me as someone who’s a month away from her own wedding…Marriage is not about the genders of two people; it is about the desire of two people to share a lifetime. It is also about the willingness of these two people to work their asses off to help each other become the best versions of themselves possible, and – if for nothing other than the sake of our society, never mind the basics of humane existence – doesn’t everyone deserve an equal chance to forge a partnership that makes them the best person they can be?

The best version of me will now wander off to outline a girl-powered horror movie, while intermittently stressing over veil sewing and yet-un-purchased cupcake wrappers. What is the best version of you up to tonight/this morning? Do you have a tale you’d like to share about marriage rights in this country or about the way you use your unique skills to champion the causes you care about? I would love to hear from you!

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    • Reply Jennifer R. Coté June 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      That first article you posted is indeed a heaping serving of bristly food for thought, L. Although the author’s stereotypes of mixed-gender couples and their attitudes toward same-sex marriage irked me, they did not irk me half as much as hearing talking heads on the news declare that marriage should be between a man and a woman “just because” or (worse) “because my god says so.” It’s these talking heads that cause overworked columnists who are up against a deadline to make sweeping generalizations about the insensitivities of mixed-gender couples in America. The sad thing is, I only wish the author’s plan to boycott all straight weddings stood a chance of making a political impact; it seems to me it will only make an impact on those whose weddings he declines to attend. If he’s just looking for an excuse to skip out on weddings, that’s one thing (and I can totally understand why he or anyone would want to do this), but if he’s aiming to actively make a difference it seems he would be better off boycotting a Chick-fil-A or sharing stories with his readers that depict same-sex couples as deeply in love and eternally committed.

      Here are some of my favorite images ever of profoundly in love couples who just happen to be the same gender:
      -From Clayton Austin Love Stories:
      -From Snippet and Ink:
      -From Elizabeth Messina:

      Don’t these pictures speak volumes?

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