Sunday, November 15, 2015

Long time no see

Friends from work told me they discovered my Twitter handle. I forgot I even had one. This led me back to this blog. I've completely abandoned it; I can't believe I haven't written a word in two years.

So here's an update:

Paul and I got married in September. I wore a floral jumpsuit I ordered off the Internet and invited four friends. Our dog, Porthos, served as the best man. We had the ceremony at the Toronto Music Garden. It was a Thursday. No family, which caused some consternation, but they got over it. Here's a picture:


We invited everyone to a nearby French bistro and since it was only six people, we were able to spend a good amount on everyone.

How does marriage feel? The day-to-day feels exactly the same. But on the whole, we did it because it was the most logical thing to do at this point in our relationship. We own properties together, a dog together, been cohabiting for five years. We traded in our condo for a house last year and nothing says romance like roof repairs. What more do we have to prove? So around March, while watching Netflix, I turned to Paul and told him we should get married. He responded in the affirmative and set the date so he didn't have to remember a new anniversary. Our grandmas have been on our case about it for years and, to be perfectly frank, if marriage really is only a piece of paper, then it's no big psychological hurdle anyway.

How much time did we spend planning? I visited an outdoor antiques market a week prior to the wedding and successfully haggled an Art Deco ring down to $90. That was my approach to the whole thing; I just wanted to git er done and get on with my life. Most people weren't aware until we posted the pictures on Facebook (although we did visit both sets of parents that day - I called it our Tour of Contrition).

***

Being a "wife" has made me more acutely aware of how a woman's identity is not forged by her own freewill, but by those who feel like she must subsume her identity to fit her new role. As my friend and I like to say, "We're married, not dead."

I was out with some coworkers last Friday. One of them, J, has a reputation for being quite the Lothario. Over the course of the night, it became apparent to everyone that he felt a pull towards me, which culminated in a 3 a.m. hug and kiss on the temple. I told Paul the following day. He interpreted it as a friendly, brotherly gesture. But knowing J and his fondness for office romances and weakness for female attention, I felt like he was testing my boundaries. Months ago, he asked if I'd purposely hidden my relationship from him. Earlier that evening, he asked me if I regret getting married. On a different day, he asked me if I hated Paul because I chose to spend so much time doing things without him. These questions were at once tactless and telling because it was like he couldn't reconcile my personality with the Platonic ideal of a wife.

His creative partner and I spoke the following week and she concluded that he saw me as a "kindred spirit" (as we are both extroverts with a quick wit). As such, he likely couldn't understand why I would choose to be married when I could be out there, having fun (potentially with him). "That's the enigma," she said.

Marriage is not static. You don't pass through the threshold and come out a new person.  It is in constant flux and only those involved understand the switches and gears that make it click. In my case, Paul is an introvert. He is my companion and a reliable source of comfort. But what he also offers me is the freedom to be with whomever and do whatever I want (within reason; we are still monogamous).  He is trusting, loyal and lacks jealousy. Now that might seem unorthodox to some, but I've never understood why society is partial to couples when having someone and not having someone is such an arbitrary distinction. Quality time is voluntary, not a mandate.

So back at work, J is a little awkward; he probably regrets what he did. He doesn't like talking about his family; his parents have long divorced. He's fucking an account girl on the down-low, but everyone knows. He smiles, but not with his eyes. That's when I began to pity him. He doesn't understand why I'm married because he doesn't yet know how not to give a fuck. He sees marriage as an all-consuming, needy beast: feed me, hold me, don't let go of me. I see it for what it is: a choice.

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