June 6th, 2008


Day of Judgment

A while ago, I was asked to blog about my wedding. I’m happy to do so, but I’m afraid the results are not exactly what people are thinking of. I don’t often blog about the details of my life, so this is a bit of a departure for me.

205: If You Love Me
205: If You Love Me
Photo: Available

The basics are this: On October 6th, my birthday, Jared Axelrod asked me to marry him. It was the best present I have ever received. Jared and I have known each other for nearly ten years and we’ve been dating for four. He is my best friend and lover and nothing in the world makes me happier than knowing that we plan to continue this partnership for our whole lives. My family loves him and his family loves me.

That’s the easy part. The weird part is planning the actual wedding, because with the wedding itself comes a great deal of Judgment from odd corners of our lives.

I'm a girl that's fucked girls. I've chosen art to be my career. I gave up a full time job to take photographs and write stories. I'm a burlesque girl. I've been in a freak show. Yet none of these life choices have prompted so much Judgment as any minute decisions I've made surrounding my wedding. The peanut gallery, while hesitating to speak on my same sex dating and freak show performing, feels totally comfortable talking to me about the length of my dress, my choice regarding colors and a hundred other tiny details about my wedding. Not just talking to me, but critiquing my choices, ideas, and thoughts about how my own wedding should go.

The first hint of all this was when, at my previous job, I was asked at the staff meeting about the ring on my finger. "I got engaged this weekend," I said, and there was a round of "Congratulations" followed by this question from a co-worker.

"Are you planning to change your name?" she asked

"Yes," I said "I'm going to take his name."

"Ugh!" she said, making a face. "Don't do that!"

"Oh," said another co-worker "That's coming back in vogue now, taking the mans name.

But my taking Jared Axelrods last name has nothing to do with fashion. It's that I like his last name. I love his family. I want our children to have the same last name as their mother and father. I like the way his last name sounds next to my first name. I like my family name too - but I like the idea of joining with him under a family name. Also, isn't "Axelrod' a pretty rocking last name? Things would be different if his last name was "Dickvag" but his last name sounds like a name of a rockstar or a superhero. There is nothing that has to do with fashion or current trends in weddings about my decision.

I figured that the people at work were just assholes and I let it go.

Then it got to the dress. I don’t want to wear a white dress. When I tell people this, they ask me if I’m afraid to wear white because I’m so pale. This is not the case. I look nice in white. I have an all white suit that I love and two all white dresses. But my favorite color for dresses is red. I love it dark and shiny like blood. I want to wear red on my wedding day. Not to rebel against anyone (which is another thing people assume) but because red is a beautiful color, because I love red, because it's more me than white.

I mention this offhand to people and this causes a storm of Judgement. Because of a dress. A fucking dress. It's not a dress I'm forcing anyone else to wear; it's a dress I want to wear myself. At MY wedding. My wedding where there will be no religious component. No priest, no rabbi - nothing. My immediate family and many members of my extended family - haven't been to church in over a decade and do not identify with any religious order. This is also true of Jared's close family. In other words, in our close families, there is no religious judge or community who would feel my attire to be inappropriate.

Any decision I make seems to meet with judgment. The length of my skirt, the choice of color, the fact that I don't want to wear heels. I'm a tall girl! I don't have to wear heels if I don't want to! If I want to wear combat boots to my wedding or go barefoot, I goddamn well will! Because that's me! I'm not going to pretend to be a princess in a castle when that's not who I am. I'm not a castle princess. I'm the kind of princess with duel black swords. The one that you put the name "warrior" behind. The kind that wears combat boots.

Where we're having it, when we're having it, the cake, the flowers, the tiniest things seem to get Judgment. I guess that's why I'm reticent to talk about it. I'm tired of hearing what I "have" to have, or what my dress length "needs" to be. If I want to wear a dress that's going to drag on the sand when I walk to my groom and get a little "gasp!" sandy, then that's what I'll god damn well do. If I am going to just buy some loose flowers and tie them with a ribbon and not spend hundreds of dollars on a bouquet - or have a bouquet of metal flowers, then that's what I'm going to do!

If I want my bridesmaids to wear black because I like black dresses even though black isn't a "wedding color" and because then they can wear them someplace else rather than hating them forever for being eggshell blue, then that is what I'm going to fucking goddamn well do.

My Aunt was talking to a friend of hers and told her that I was getting married.

“Oh,” her friend asked “what are they doing for the wedding?”

My Aunt told her that Jared and I were taking care of things ourselves.

“But don’t you care about your niece?” asked her friend. The very assumption that a relative doesn’t care because they don’t know the details of our wedding is itself insulting. The second insult is that two adults cannot plan a party for friends and family without relatives taking over.

All my life, I've been weird. I'm different. I know it. I like things that are out of the mainstream. I enjoy weird, radical, creative, loving people. All of my friends know this. All of my relatives know this. I'm not sure why, now, with my wedding, people suddenly expect me to conform to certain societal standards. As if during high school, college and beyond, I've been myself and most of mainstream culture wouldn't jive with it, but now, suddenly, because I'm getting married and having a party where all of my friends will come, I will suddenly care about what others may think. Jared and I have always been dancing to our own songs. That won’t change because we’re having a wedding. It won’t change when we have children and it won’t change when we get old. We’re going to do life our way, together.

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