Weekend at BJ’s (Wedding) – the proof is in the love, not the orientation

I'm blogging from a Holiday Inn on Long Island where I've been ensconsed for the wedding of my college roommate, BJ, and her now-husband Ron.  I flew into JFK and discovered that one of my bags went missing, thankfully not the one with my wedding attire.  I was not in the wedding party, but showing up in clothing purchased from the Wal-Mart across the street would not be my idea of good fun. The missing bag contained my wedding gift and eventually turned up the following morning.  Dude at luggage central was a little perplexed why I wanted it delivered to a rectory, but I've been embedded with priests and priestly family members all weekend.  This is a cool group of priests – when we rolled in for the wedding rehearsal, the rectory Cocker Spaniel, Ricky, was hanging out near the sanctuary.

Anyway, the weekend involved lots of trips back and forth between Long Island and the Bronx/Queens.  I lost track of how many times.  My job was primarily to remember tasks (pick up this, call that person, etc. )and offer words of condolences during minor catastrophes (the wedding rings were locked up at a jewelers; his mother died and he left town — it all worked out thanks to the owner of the liquor store next door — I can't make this up!). 

I've had three limo rides (I was a limo virgin) and two of 'em were Hummer limos (also a Hummer virgin).  To compensate for the latter, I have kept almost every single recyclable item I've had this weekend and plan to bring home with me to recycle (not an option at the Holiday Inn), including 17 water bottles and two mini Pringles plastic containers.  Thankfully, I have the extra tote bag.  Did I mention that Ledcat and I put together a Pittsburgh basket as a wedding gift, thanks to the input of A Pleasant Present.  Ledcat isn't going to be happy when I toss the bag o'recyclables into the car and I'm pretty sure she's not bringing the Hummer.  🙂

I feel sort of maudlin tonight as I sit in my room waiting for the post-reception reception to start hopping in the bar.  The wedding was beautiful and I have had a wonderful time catching up with the family — it is as if no time had passed at all.  Some of the family know I'm gay and some don't, but that wasn't a huge deal because I'm like family and it just didn't come up — I wasn't going to do anything to cause a ripple for her day — it was like a “don't ask, don't tell” veil.

Until the reception.  Then the dj kept calling couples and lovers out to the table.  Ledcat was supposed to come with me, but she stayed home to take care of our girl Mona.  I realized even if she were with me, we'd be sitting at the table anyway.  Song after song played, slow and fast alike, and I felt disconsolate listening to the words and missing the woman I love, knowing even if she were there I would have to keep quiet.  Then it was time to toss the bouquet.  At first, I demurred because I'm not single.  Everyone kept urging me on and while the brother who knew the truth gave me a sympathetic glance, I had to get up or risk being either a poor sport or ripping the “don't ask, don't tell” veil away.  I ended up catching a piece of the bouquet that fell apart as it was tossed.  That's symbolic, huh?

I consider myself pretty out in most circumstances, but I think we all have moments when we have to deny this pretty important part of our identities for what seems a good reason.  I thought my reason was noble — to avoid darkening this important day for my good friend (who, of course, knows and invited Ledcat to the wedding) — so why do I feel so cruddy?  Because I lied to people who love me and, even though I think they really know the truth, I took the coward's way out.

Someone recently asked me what it means to be openly gay.  I think the answer is about authenticity.  Bruce Kraus, for example, never hid his sexual orientation, but didn't necessarily make a point to accentuate it.  He is single and childless, so his website had no references to his sexual orientation vis a vis his family (no pictures with partner and child, etc).  That's authentic.  If voters asked, he answered honestly.  If it didn't come up, it wasn't really relevant, was it?  I'm sure many people just assumed he was straight, but it is not his responsibility to correct that assumption unless it has relevancy. 

I don't often hide my orientation, but I sometimes have to be discreet. There would be no need for me to tell the groom's great-uncle that I'm a dyke, even if Ledcat were with me.  But I kept this very important part of my life a secret from people that do matter to me because I'm afraid of their reaction.  That's not easy to admit.  I thought I was past this.  I'm almost glad Ledcat couldn't make it because I can't imagine how awful I would feel if I had to deny her amongst people that are like family.  To have to sit back and let all the rest of the lovers be recognized and venerated.

So what does it mean to be openly gay?  I suspect very few people beyond Rosie O'Donnell know because society is heteronormative — if you look straight, people assume you are straight.  I only correct them when it is necessary (or when I feeling ornery and want to watch that look settle in their eyes).  And sometimes I don't correct them even when I should.  Because I'm still afraid.

I miss Ledcat tonight because, suppressed or not, I would still like to share these moments.  And because she loved me enough to stay home to take care of our cancer-stricken dog, I know that she would understand all this angst and love me anyway. 

And I'm looking forward to my own wedding.  Someday.



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  • I'm gonna just jump in here:
    One: We ALL hid things from family or friends that we might easily blurt out to strangers.
    Two: As they say, a wedding is the bride's day and the bride was your friend. I know it's not the same, but if my friend's relative at her wedding started saying how great Bush was, I'd keep my mouth shut on that occasion because I wouldn't want to 'start something' on my friend's special day.
    Three: I HATE, HATE, HATE that you cannot legally marry. That you would have to think twice about even holding hands with your love in many/most? public spaces is just so wrong. It's a sickness in our society, but I KNOW it will change someday. I HOPE, HOPE, HOPE it changes in time for you, Ledcat and all my LGBT friends.
    Here's hoping and working towards making your 'someday' happen sooner than later.

  • Think what you wish about Bruce Kraus and his approach, but I don't agree with your assessment as to his performance matching your words in the posting. My impression and your 'recap' to his actions do not match. FWIW and it ain't much, BTW.
    I agree with Maria's feelings above — mostly. You see Maria and I almost always agree on everything, but she likes to say we never agree. Mostly just a wink and a smile to that.
    Tip / Hint: Perhaps you should (if you have not yet done so) explore our church — U.U. (Unitarian Universalist) — as a possibility for your pathway to a wedding some day.
    If you want, bring your suitcase of recycled materials to New Zealand. That's a funny slant, but so true.

  • Thank you for the good sentiments. You'll be happy to note that I did not contain myself when people said how great Bush was. We had a lively Irish-Catholic-Democrat debate about the presidential elections. Father Ed was napping most of the time, but woke up with a start when I announced that Nancy Pelosi would be the first female President. We're still good friends, Father Ed and I.

  • Mark,
    Maybe it is jet lag, but I don't quite get what you mean about Bruce, Maria or New Zealand. I did sneak multiple bottles home to recycle. Apparently one wasn't entirely empty so now I have some soggy dirty laundry.
    I have been to the UU church in the past. Here's my problem — I'm Catholic. It penetrates my whole being. I was raised 2 blocks from our parish church, shot a zillion baskets in front of the rectory, went to a Catholic university, spent a year doing Catholic social ministry in rural Kentucky and became an altar server at age 25. I have tried every other flavor possible and while the ecumenist in me savors those experiences, they do not resonate with my soul in the same way a simple Mass does. I want to talk about God, the saints, the Liturgy of the Word, the whole shebang. Other faith experiences just fall short for me.
    I love being Catholic. I just don't love the Catholic Church. Shake your head in consternation if you must … our true callings are never easy. And for me, its always the Mother Church calling me …

  • I too was Catholic. Went to RC school for 10 years. Lots of basketball, CYO, etc. My family (mom, dad, sisters, etc.) is still very RC — except for my wife and kids and me. We're UUs now. I've got a good home there.
    So, I can sorta understand a good deal with where you are and where you've come from. And, with that — I say little else. Stay put as you wish by all means.
    Don't count on me to do any conversions nor toss stones.
    Sorry about the laundry. And that other stuff — it was hard to understand. No big deal.

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