As I finished this, I checked my voice mail, and my wife left one where she tried to imitate Larry the Cable Guy's trademark "Git 'er done." Imagine that line in your head, okay? Now imagine it said by a Russian woman, one who doesn't appreciate most of ol' Larry's humor. Now imagine a secretary in a turquoise floral skirt and a bun with frizzy tendrils sneaking out of it, biting her mouth closed to keep from laughing out loud and dying for 5:30 to roll around...
She just really made me feel even better about what I'm about to post, you know?
At the Sweet Potato Queens' Messageboard of Love, a woman asked whether our wedding rings were "the One" we always wanted. Some women posted pictures of their fantasy engagement rings or the rings they currently wear, others described them. All were straight. I wondered whether I would drastically alter the tone if I, a woman with a woman, described mine. With a deep breath, I decided to "live equality" and post about mine. Let others act as if my rings are inferior because a man didn't give them to me; I ain't gonna. Besides, it's a question e-quaintances ask a lot.
I posted the following during a commercial break on the 4400, before it got so intense I had to focus. (That's one reason I love it--it makes me focus, unlike so many other shows.)
...L'Ailee and I decided that the only sensible thing for two women to do would be both of us having engagement rings, or neither of us having it. We both like sparklies. We both have them.
Our diamonds are "upgradeable." They are flanked by both our birthstones, her ruby and my aquamarine. Our wedding rings can be stacked together and interlocked if you do it right; we kept playing with them for the first three months! All were made in platinum by a friend of mine who is a jewelry designer.
It feels amazing to know that we are helping to create new traditions that a new generation of women in love will follow, and amazing that two of the most physically unlike each other short white women ever slapped together by the hands of the Fates could find something that matches. It's not what I envisioned as a little girl, but it's *my* One. And I'm smiling at it now as I look down at my typing hands.
I still wonder where that last paragraph came from. But I felt a need to acknowledge reality. We are creating a new set of traditions. There will be a young girl in L'Ailee's gymnastics classes who falls in love with another girl one day, and remembers that beautiful bald lady who taught her to master the parallel bars, and the lady in bright dresses and glasses who picked her up on Friday, and the rings on both their hands. My little boy who I tutor will remember the day we showed him how our rings are as cool as his puzzle ring, and tell a young woman contemplating marriage to another woman about them years from now. Twenty years from now, the question "Who wears the ring?" won't come up so often...because couples like us will have answered it through our example. We are, in a very small way, pioneers. It is a delightful and inspiring and terrifying thought.
People will be looking at this blog and learning how two women act married, just as we're learning it ourselves. They will be looking at us ITRW. They will see how we divide our chores, and another pair of women will divide them on a "what is important to whom" basis. We learned it from older women who lived together for eons and "may as well have been married." We *are* married, no "may as well" about it. And that, we're quickly learning, is *different*. We legally *belong* to each other. That is an amazing thought, too. We have to take care of ourselves because we belong to each other, and someone else is counting on us, and we are obligated to that someone else. I know that you can have that without calling yourself married or being married. But even though some people would like to yank that out from under us like a rug, we *are*.
When we were seniors in high school, I got a 790 on my SAT verbal and a 510 on my SAT math test. (I know the SAT was retooled this year.) L'Ailee's score was the exact opposite of mine--510 verbal, 790 math. We considered that proof that we belonged together--that together, we make one almost perfect brain--and bought a mizpah, one of those broken coins that best friends wear on two chains, at a jewelry store. Our mizpah was cheap, and we looked longingly at the other sparklies. We spoke our longings for rubies and diamonds and aquamarines. We promised each other these things "one day." We saw the engagement rings, and I whispered, "What if that case in Hawaii works out?" Because that was being tried at the time, in early 1993.
"Then after college, we will buy one of those and go to Hawaii," she whispered back.
How amazing, the way things did and didn't work out according to that plan. How amazing it is that the important things *did* work out. And how amazing that we were among the first generation of same-sex loving Americans (well, she's an American *now*) to actually have that as a possibility. I wonder how it is for the kids coming up. They still have to be sent to ex-gay camps sometimes, or get thrown out sometimes, but many of them are just their parents' sons and daughters. They can really expect this. They have at least three states where they can go, or they can go abroad. They can fall in love with a Spanish exchange student of their own gender, and go back with them. They can go live with our neighbors to the North. And more options will open up, faster than the people who oppose them can slam the doors shut.
I think that this is what our opponents are afraid of, that these kids will see adult couples like us and see possibility. I could develop this thought further, but it's afternoon and I'm thinking "out loud" and the thought seems like enough for the moment. I don't want to waste too much brain space on them anyhow today.
I think that we will combine the best parts of "queerness" and tradition. Some of the women at the MBOL talked about needing rings that were practical for their jobs. My wife needs that too, as she frequently gets into and out of boxing gloves and demonstrates punches at her primary job. But she unhooks the silver hoop earring she wears at the tip of her left ear and stores her wedding and engagement rings onto it during her classes. Straight married instructors are emulating this practice. She's doing exactly what some people fear most. She's being a different kind of married woman, and affecting straight women by example.
I think that we will find that we have more in common with straight married people than gay and bi people who don't care about commitment.
And I think of this commercial that used to piss my brother, the Dorkfish, and I off. They played it on the radio during the winter holidays. It was for 7-Up, I believe, and this snide guy said, "You don't *invent* a new tradition." To which we replied, how the hell did these idiots think traditions happened, anyway? They don't just fall down from the sky, you know? Someone has to do everything first.
It just really hits me sometimes that in this case, "someone" is us.