A few weeks ago, my partner and I went on a trip to Minneapolis to see a couple of concerts (the Replacements and the Dandy Warhols, and yes, at both shows we were among the youngest people there by 15 years). We do this trip once or twice a year to see bands that will never come here and purchase Jif peanut butter.
On this trip, however, I had something burning a hole in my pocket. Something I didn’t tell anyone about. Yup, I proposed marriage to my partner of almost
Your initial response might be “congratulations” (or “quit rubbing your happy in my face, Uniter guy”). I thank you for your congratulations, sincerely, and respect your spite as well. Getting married is something that we have talked about over the course of our relationship. We’ve lived together in “a domestic partnership” (thanks for that one, Facebook) since Halloween, 2010 and life is good.
After sharing a cozy Osborne Village apartment for a year and a half, I made a conscious effort to start saving up for … something. I asked her straight up if she wanted a ring/a big party or a house (romantic, right?). Being the logical people that we are, we decided to save for a house. Months went by of not eating out, buying records or seeing movies (I don’t drink/smoke, so I’m a cheap date anyway, but still) and constantly chanting the mantra “savin’ for a house.” And we got a house. And life is good.
But still, even after making responsible decisions, living within our means/a budget and creating the life we want, the question that people kept popping to us was “but when are you two getting married?” From American border guards to family friends at wedding socials, it has become socially acceptable for people who know nothing about your personal situation to ask you this very personal question. Every time they see you.
I’m pretty sure that it’s a) none of your business and b) our decision and c) we’ve been common law and filing our taxes together for years so to some people, we are. We’re not religious, so that part doesn’t matter to us. The idea of having a party with friends and family is nice (not as nice as forcing our tastes on people and dressing up fancy) and we’ve talked for a long time about where we’d have it, what time of year, and what local band we’d ask to reunite and play the reception. It’s a fun game. Now it’s very real, and I feel we’re ready for it.
I’m not complaining, trust me. Our “life event” (again, thank you Facebook) got over 200 “likes.” My band doesn’t have that many and we’ve been around a year (maybe people genuinely don’t like my band, and that’s fine, but it’s funny what people see as worth a click). It’s very strange to me how somehow my life, to many people, now seems more legit than it did last month. Even though I’m employed full time after doing the freelance shuffle/shit job dance for years. Even though I’ve accomplished many other things in my life alone and my life with my partner, this is the one thing that elicits the acceptance of the masses. Ask someone a question. She says yes. You are now a real person (even though you already share a mortgage and are as close as two people can be).
We’re not doing it for the gifts, the social money or the social acceptance. We’re doing it because it felt right in our lives at this point and because we love each other.
Will she take my name? No, she has her own. Will I wear a ring? Probably not, I’ve never worn one before. Will she be given to me by anyone? No, she’s her own person. Will it change anything at all in our lives? No, other than we’ll be planning an awesome day for the next year and asking the people closest to us to share in that day. And maybe our dog Samson will
get a bow tie.
Nicholas Friesen looks forward to being asked when he is going to have kids.
Published in Volume 69, Number 4 of The Uniter (September 24, 2014)