Ashley and I decided to be lazy this year and skip the Blues Fest. I felt kinda bad about it, since it’s the cultural highlight of the year here in Hagerstown, but there’s always next year. We went to the museum instead, then took a ride to Clear Spring to visit our respective parents. A little after 7 P.M. we showed up at Antietam Recreation on Garris Shop Road between Sharpsburg and Funkstown to attend the wedding of Ash’s cousin Brooks and his girlfriend Sabrina. They already have two kids — twins — together, so the wedding was strictly by way of doing “the right thing.” It was even referred to as such by Brooks’s father during the reception. I’ve been to three weddings in my life. So far it is three too many.
The other two were far worse ordeals for me personally because I was in the wedding party — a groomsman for my old pal Beatty in 2003, and best man for my best friend Jimmy two years ago — but I’ve never been personally and morally offended more by a wedding ceremony than I was by this one tonight.
For one thing, the pastor talked them through the whole thing step-by-step, in front of everyone, like they were a couple of six-year-olds. They’d apparently been rehearsing prior to the ceremony — rehearsing what? When I say “step-by-step,” you don’t really get that the pastor told them every little tiny thing to do. “Okay Brooks, slip the ring on the end of her finger — but don’t put it on all the way yet! . . . There ya go.” And virtually verbatim to Sabrina like fifteen seconds later.
And the vows themselves . . . Christ almighty. Paternalistic, sexist, lacking anything close to conviction or genuine emotion, canned and phony as all fuck — we sat there rolling our eyes at one another, wondering what fucking century these people are living in. “Brooks, your job now is to be the protector for Sabrina. And Sabrina, your job is to support Brooks, because there will be days when he comes home from work that he’ll feel like he doesn’t have a friend in the world, and he should forget all about that when he sees your smile!” This is literally what was said, I swear to God I’m not making this shit up.
So Ashley and I came up with a few general guidelines, should we ever decide to take the plunge ourselves: no Jesus talk; no “God invented marriage” bullshit; no reinforcement of oppressive, old fashioned and morally reprehensible gender stereotypes; and no five people simultaneously videotaping every move everyone fucking makes. If we get married, I’d like to think we could pull it off with a little class. Fuck, is it that hard?
“You two are a family. That’s what happens when you get married.” This is actually the sort of shit that was said. I feel like I’ve just attended a Mexican dogfight or something — it’s offensive to everything I believe in, yet I’m strangely glad to have seen it, because now I know. Now I know.