It’s been a while, so lets ease on into this.
It’s been almost two years since I last rambled and lord how things have changed. There’s a Cheeto as president of the U.S; the UK, much like a rich child star who doesn’t want their parents to have any of their money, has decided to emancipate from the EU. There seems to be a never ending supply of terrifying terrorist attacks; the refugee crisis is worsening; and I’m pretty sure there is also something about Russia (but isn’t there always?).
The last two years have also been a personal roller coaster: I have gone back to study, am changing career directions, and the start date for my new job is just around the corner. I have travelled quite a bit and finally hit my 30th country. I’ve also been battling some mental health issues, moved house, then moved again and celebrated my 3 year anniversary of calling the U.K. home. It has been an overwhelming two years and I think that is why I haven’t been able to write. Not only have I been incredibly busy (and lazy – don’t forget lazy) my brain has just been in constant overdrive and I haven’t been able to put my pen to paper (…or fingers to keys, as it were). However, here I am at 1 am on a Saturday night, at last with a moment of clarity, my brain slowing down just long enough for me to tell you a story. A story of being a gay man, and being engaged.
Oh wait… Did I not tell you? Well its true! Whilst in New York City, He (the one, who in my last post, was introducing me to his parents) asked me to put up with him forever and I simply couldn’t say no (I mean, have you seen him?!)
Anyway, yes, we are engaged and extremely happy about it. Well… I was until I realised what being engaged entailed: Planning. A. Wedding.
At the beginning this was the exciting part. As a man who has a slightly inappropriate relationship with excel spread sheets, being able to funnel all my hyper-organisational and slightly obsessive energy into a project that will genuinely require it was deeply exhilarating. Alas, as time went on I learnt the difficult truth that some things can’t be put on a 16-tab, formula driven spread sheet (yes, that is all true); and that thing is emotion.
We started compiling our guest lists early on. We knew we wanted (what I’ve since learnt is not) a small wedding. I sent my fiancé away to list his nearest and dearest ‘must-have’ people for the wedding and I did the same – you would think that this would be relatively easy but once we calculated how much a wedding can actually cost, it became a different conversation:
Do we like them? Yes
Do we like them enough to pay £100 a head for them to be there? …I guess so?
Done – on the list
This process quickly showed us that it is not quite as simple. What we figured out is that there are a lot of people, who we love, but only love them up to £75 and not a penny more. So you literally start pricing up your family and friends.
“Should we invite Brenda?”
“No, I would only give her £96.50/£100”
“She’s off the list!” *
In amidst all the pricing we find another issue: families have tension and friends hold resentment. Imagine putting all the hot-headedness and passion of two intense made for TV dramas in a room together… things can become unpredictable. Of all the days one would hope for predictability – a wedding day must be at the top of the list! The only way to avoid this tension though is to not invite some people; which is a very awkward thing to have to do. No one ever wants to be the person not invited, and no one wants to be the person that’s not inviting; but I’m sorry – it is my day… OUR day… I mean it is our day and we don’t want to deal with all of that drama.
My fiancé and I have decided to hyphenate our last names. We have decided that we are starting a family and as such we wanted to reflect that in our surnames… Sounds pretty standard, right? Call it traditional, call it old fashioned, call it whatever you want, this is what we have decided. I can tell you about a conversation I had with a married woman who asked me why:
Why are you doing this?
Because we are starting a family and would like to eventually (calm down mum – not yet) have children. We prefer it if we all have the same last name.
Why would you complicate your life like that?
[Now I need to preface this: my fiancé and I have the same first name, obviously this means with the same surname we will have the same names which can only be an amazing premise to a sitcom series. Regardless, we have thought about this and have our own solutions to it – which she knew – what she meant by that question is “why would we want to have the same surname?“]
Do you have the same surname as your husband? Yes .
Did you choose to change your surname to match your husband’s? Yes.
Then why are you asking me why I wish to do the same?
This conversation happens more often than I wish to recount and I am yet to receive a valid answer for why I receive this line of questioning, and honestly, I would rather not.
We live and are getting married in the U.K. We are lucky, because the U.K. allow same sex marriage; unlike my home country: Australia. Deciding which country to get married in really was a no brainier. Though, another question we get regularly from so many people is “Where are you going to get married, Australia or England?” to which we have to explain, that actually, we can’t get married in Australia; usually followed by awkward mutterings of apologies whilst they slowly get a deeper shade of fuchsia and back away from the conversation.
Truthfully, why anyone wants to get married is usually the same: because they like each other enough to want to keep seeing each other until they die. I would like to get married because I love this man and I want to spend the rest of my mortal life with him (just mortal, because I don’t think his humour would carry over to the immortal world, and then I would just be stuck with an unfunny version of him). Though, if I am being really honest, the whole experience has made me want to run away and elope in Vegas… which I would if I hadn’t already spent so much time and energy on those beautiful spread sheets.
I have just realised that there was no real point to any of this other than to ramble. Looks like I’ve still got it.
It’s good to be back.
*Sorry Brenda, we still love you, just not THAT much.