Long Night

How many people do you know have a box with their name on it-and that of an artist- beside their bath?That David is taking liberties, I tell you...I feel as though I have been trodden upon by a hippopotamus, then gently steamed in a thick, lentil-based soup that I am then forced to breathe.

Yep, I'm off work, actually ill, not just "on the sick". Bah.

I knew something was wrong when I woke myself up dreaming of a carwash. The thick brushes were pounding my back, covering me in wet foam. Unsurprisingly I woke up sweating, my t-shirt clinging to my skin.

Apart from yesterday's sore-throat, I should have known I wasn't feeling too fabulous by my crazy over-reacting to things last night.

For indeed last night Mrs Gripes and I had a brief discussion about the upcoming Civil Partership. Brief mainly because I was swiftly losing lucidity as I tried to express my utter panic at anything even remotely resembling "marriage".

My panic was triggered by catching half of "Gay Vicars" on Channel 4. As joyous as I am sure the wedding of Debbie and Elaine Gaston was, it seemed to be presented as almost everything I wouldn't want when it comes to signing the Civil Partnership register. Everything from matching suits, to three tiered wedding cake, guests, gifts, bottles of Bucks Fizz... I could go on, but I might hyperventilate again.

The panic has been lurking under the surface for some time, if I'm honest. I've never wanted to be married. Maybe it's because I'm the child of twice divorced parents. Maybe it's because I grew up listening to Proper Little Madams (this particular song was a favourite around the house) Maybe it's because most weddings are tacky, uninspired events and I have an aversion to tulle and toasters... I dunno. But the whole "wedding" thing has never appealed. I rejoiced in the fact that as a lesbian I would never have to be faced with it. I dare say I was even smug about it. "Leave marriage to the poor hetties" I would chuckle, with a shake of the head...

My blurting expression of my fears of how our Civil Partnership would be marked pretty much led to a messy row- not a screaming match, more of a frustrated inarticulate grump- that achieved nothing except to upset both myself and Mrs Gripes.

The strange thing is, I'm not afraid of the commitment. It isn't the being bound to and responsible for another person that scares me, it's not the lifelong commitment to love and fidelity - we've promised those things to each other already - it's the ritual bit: the idea of ceremony; of being on show to be "approved"of; sanctioned; incorporated - no-one "approved" us getting together, why should anyone "approve" us signing a bit of paper that shows our intention to stay together?

The one thing we do agree on is that we love each other. I wonder if sometimes that gets a little overshadowed by the whole "everything else"? ( Wood? Trees? Anyone....?)

Right now my excuse is I feel like shit and I'm not thinking clearly. In a few days time, I hope I'll have no excuses and all shall make sense.


Random Reflections said...

Do you actually need to do the whole ceremony thing if it is that awful a prospect? Although, it's maybe not quite so romantic to just go along, whip out your bic biro and sign on the dotted line.

Anyway think of the gifts you will get by inviting lots of people. Surely you can never have too many toasters.

missfee said...

oh missed the gay vicars thing... am with you on the whole idea of being on show. Don't think i could act all panny in front of my buddies. and also, what the hell would i wear??! The idea of formal derss amkes me wanna puke but am sure, even at my own wedding, this would eb expected...

30-Something said...

I think the vomit-inducing things you mentioned put most of us off. I was all for a proper big do but then my sister said "You'll HAVE to wear a dress" with complete horror in her voice and my arse fell out.

While I'm not adverse to a civil partnership (although sometimes my partnership ain't that civil) I could quite easily crap out large bricks at the thought of details.

Run off to somewhere romantic like.. erm.. Retford.. Or somewhere. Point is, just do it while no one's looking. I think that will be our plan.

straighttalker05 said...

I appreciate the rights and all, and I do think that having the opportunity there is great.

However having only just come through the struggle of coming to terms with that my mother will never have a son-in-law, giving me the opportunity to bring her a daughter-in-law strikes fear in my heart.

But I guess you don't have to do anything that big, you can write 'NO TOASTERS' on your wedding list (which is in itself a truely awful concept), and matching suits are not a must - you're a lesbian, sure you can get away with clashing dreadfully.

It'd be easy for me to say don't panic - but who wants to hear that from a 17 year old??

Unknown said...

Continuing my worrying strategy of boring you to death with inane comments, I must note that I was appalled by the apparent headlong rush of sections of the gay community into marriage or legal partnership.

WTF? One of the exceptionally smart things you guys do is to stick together for no reason other than you love each other (ok, maybe amazing sex could keep you together too…), which is an idea that’s always seemed eminently sensible to me.

Why go mess with that? You rush to dispense with one of your major assets for what? A silly wedding photo and a piece of paper?

For shame! Any gay person choosing the wedding route should be expelled the gay community and forced to live the life of a hetro. Ha! That would teach you! Five second of my life and you’d be tearing up your marriage certificate and extolling the virtues of free love.

*ro. in the middle of trying to get rid of his wife in scotland for the girl he loves in san francisco*

Anonymous said...

we were going to have just mams, and our boys for the ceremony bit, then a fuck off big formal party after.

but its all so expensive.

and stressful.

and she dumped me.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they will invent civil partnership by post. You will not even have to leave the house. Or maybe Argos will come up with a catalogue version. Maybe Asda too, after all they are now selling wedding dresses for £60.

The Gripes of Wrath said...

Civil Partnership by post would be perfect. Even Civil Partnership by proxy - let someone do the cake and flowers,the dodgy DJ and dancing with strange Uncle Dave...


I think we've got it sorted for now.
-Whatever we do will be special and unique because it will be ours and for us: even if that means trundling along to the Registry Office in jeans and trainers and yes, brandishing a bic, then buggering off somewhere for tea and cake, maybe lunch at a push...

(And I know its a few days early, but..


Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding ring,
if you like.
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

- Carol Ann Duffy

says it all, really. That's the what and why of our getting a Civil Partnership. Possibly not the how though... Although I do like onions...)