Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Straight Allies: Please Marry in P-Town

I believe in love.

Moreover, I believe that if you are not for love, you are against love. So, whatever form love comes to you in, trust that I am your ally. Whether you are single or partnered, I hope that you thoroughly love yourself or that you are hard at work learning how to self-love. I hope that whoever you (eventually) choose is emotionally available enough to also (eventually) choose you.

I hope that you are out there making good, satisfying, challenging, protected, freaky, unexpected, wild, inspired, sky-rocketing, time-consuming love. I hope that you feel entitled and/or safe and/or valiant enough to reach out and touch whatever appreciative, pulsing body you can get your precious, greedy hands on. I hope that you fall in love regularly and deeply and rise up again with the power of what is possible when you can unite with another person or with other people, if your heart works that way.

But I'm telling you now: if One Man and One Woman come together in search of romance, health insurance, tax breaks or other forms of societal legitimacy, and One Man and One Woman insist on having an expensive public ceremony to celebrate their union, I will only attend the wedding if it happens in Provincetown, Mass. I am serious. A Provincetown wedding is the very least our straight relatives and friends can do for those of us who are systemically shamed for our same-sex love commitments, but are expected to show up to their ceremonies in support of their love. Tie your effing knot where I can also tie mine!

My partner and I have fought after too many straight people's weddings. Before these typically disturbing events, we have showered, powdered and oiled ourselves, colorfully dressed to the nines and muttered prayers to our respective goddesses, begging them for the courage to be ourselves in the face of the most hetero-normative institution of them all. Petrified, annoyed and dutiful, we have stood before daunting chapel doors, locked our eyes and pinkies to promise that, no matter what, we would not let traditionalist vibes bring us down, and we have failed. We have walked into churches hand-in-hand only to be immediately separated by eager male ushers who decide that two youngish women who come to a wedding together are not doing so willingly.

I cannot describe how disgusted I feel when a random dude in a suit puts his arm around my woman's arm without her permission and leads her down the aisle to her seat without me. It is a testament to my grace that I have not kicked more tuxedo-clad shins.

It takes a lot of grace and guts to be gay and show up for a straight wedding.

We have sat fidgeting on hard church pews, glancing about at all the other gay friends and family members who always seem to be sitting in the back, close to the exit, their eyes rolling or wide open during prayers. We have bitten our bottom lips while unoriginal preachers have gone on and on about Adam and Eve's supposedly original love. We have come bearing gifts and smiles and will and nerve to celebrate our hetero loved ones who can only return the favor if we happen to get hitched in California or Massachusetts.

But I am happy to report that I have just returned, refreshed, from my partner's cousin's straight wedding in P-Town and it was awesome. I call Provincetown Gaylandia because, unless you happen to live in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, you may never see as many white gay men in one place as you will see in Provincetown. It's the beach town that never sleeps. It's the very last stop on Cape Code. Celebrated gay author Michael Cunningham wrote a great book about it called Land's End. There are lots of lesbian mullets, buzz cuts and DeGeneres-inspired hairdos in P-Town. And since this past weekend was "Women of Color and Allies Weekend," much to the delight of my eyes and affirmation of my soul, brown-skinned lesbians were present, representing and abundant.

This time, I didn't mind listening to a bishop lecture us about the merits of marriage because the bishop seemed gay. This time, I didn't worry about being one part of the only lesbian couple at the reception because the reception was held at a restaurant called Bubala's by the Bay on Commerical Street, and Commercial Street flaunts the gays. This time we did not feel insecure, slighted, ignored or lonely. Instead of fighting after the wedding, we walked to the beach and smooched during sunset. We had a glass of wine and laughed at the karaoke event hosted by a hilarious drag queen in a silver mini-dress. We went out clubbing at the Pied Bar, sweating to Beyonce's "Upgrade You" with some fine-looking queers from all over the country — possibly the world — diverse in race, age, gender expression and personal style. This time, the context for the celebration of straighthood was queer. It felt balanced and fair. So there.

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