My first memory of planning a wedding might have been around the age of six. To me, weddings were a sign of growing up and womanhood. When I was little, everything was about achieving womanhood. In a sense, almost ten years later, it still is. Womanhood meant going to a job in an office and having a wedding in a church. I’m not sure where these ideas about womanhood came from because my family didn’t go to church and neither of my parents worked in an office.
I performed weddings with a bride and a groom portrayed by my favorite dolls, Groovy Girls. These cotton-filled, flat-chested, yarn-haired girls had belly buttons but no nipples. My Groovy Girls would usually run away together in a fast-paced high-action wedding filled with lots of kissing on the run. Kissing was a sign of womanhood, too. The weddings went a little something like this:
[Enter Groovy Girl One and Two. For the sake of their family, we will call them Timothy and Phillipa. I took Timothy’s shirt off to emphasize masculinity in one Groovy Girl.]
Phillipa: Oh, Timothy, I love you so much. (They kiss.)
Timothy: Oh, Phillipa, I love you. They’ll never catch us here! [“They” was a secret-service agency out to catch rogue Groovy Girl spies.
(They kiss again, smashing their fuzzy cloth faces together passionately.)
[Enter Priest] This role was portrayed by me.
Priest: You may now kiss the bride. Now go! Before they catch you!
Womanhood meant having an office job, getting married and running off to become a spy. It had crossed my mind that both of my dolls were Groovy girls, made to look like children — no breasts or anything other than clothes to indicate gender. This made them all the more malleable. I could have imagined a girl marrying a girl, or a boy marrying a boy. But to me, the gender combination that went with a job in an office and wedding in a church was a girl marrying a boy. This meant that one Groovy Girl needed to sacrifice her yarn hair. Have you ever seen a Groovy Girl haircut? They all look the same — like little girls who took their fashion cues from male lions and 90s TV shows.
Since times are changing — gay marriage legalized nationwide — I wonder whether little kids still picture weddings the way I did. So I called two of my favorite under-tens, Clio and Nico Painter. These two always have a look that says, “You’re in for it, buddy.” Either that, or, “I might have just dumped glue on your keys.”
When I called, their lovely mother Julie picked up the phone. Amidst the sounds of a screaming Clio, I got a few words in with Julie to explain why I wanted to interview her kids. She helped translate my questions to Clio, who apparently doesn’t speak teen. She also had to translate Clio’s answers because my pre-school is a little rusty.
Me: Where will your wedding be?
Clio: A rock store.
Julie clarified that she meant a store that sells rocks.
Me: What will you wear?
Clio: A shirt and tie and handsome pants and shoes.
Me: What will the color theme be?
Julie commented, “A very traditional girl.” I think white handsome pants are actually ahead of the curve.
Then I directed questions to Clio’s older brother Nico, who didn’t need as much translation.
Me: Where will your wedding be?
Nico: I don’t know.
Me: What will you eat?
Nico: Pasta and meatballs.
Me: What will you wear?
Nico: Fancy stuff.
Obviously neither Clio nor Nico think much about weddings.
I tried remembering, other than playing with Groovy Girls, whether I had thought much about weddings. I don’t think I did. I wasn’t all girly-girl. Then I remembered when I was nine and in the fourth grade. I started to think about weddings again. This time it was all about the design of my bridesmaid’s dresses.
I would fill up an entire sketchbook with drawings of dresses and other outfits in one sitting. In this designing phase, I would tell people, “I’m gonna design a dress for you.” These dresses, now that I look back on it, looked mostly like what Daryl Hanna bought during her Bloomingdale’s shopping spree in the movie Splash.
Everything I knew about weddings came from the movies or television — mostly television, and mostly the Disney Channel. I was sold the type of guy (and it had to be a guy) I should marry, and that I should wear a dress, an expensive dress that was bought only after trying on lots of dresses. I think maybe nearly 40% of Americans are gay, and following the Supreme Court’s recent decision the Disney Channel is way behind the times.
Dear Disney Channel,
I’m not calling you “homophobic,” just “stodgy.” I mean, would it kill you to throw in a same-sex wedding? The five-year-olds around the world watching your shows should see that a normal marriage is not always between a man and a woman. Give a kid a headsup on the real world and how much love there is in it. Geez, I wonder now if Mickey and Minnie fought so much because Mickey would have been happier with Donald Duck.
I must say, I am overwhelmingly excited for the possibilities for the six-year-olds of tomorrow. They get to grow up in a period of marriage equality. Soon enough, instead of saying “gay marriage,” we will just say “marriage.” They will live in a world that isn’t blinded by hate, fear, and lack of creativity. They will love whom they want to love. They will have a freedom that helps to make people’s lives worth living. I also feel liberated that if I feel like it I can marry the Prince of Andorra, or every one of Angelina Jolie’s kids, or even a goldfish.