When the Supreme Court overturned DOMA, a friend announced that he would be marrying his partner. When I thought about it later, I started to cry. He'd always told me that even though he supports marriage equality, he didn't want to participate in the institution. I realized how he'd told himself that because he couldn't have it so my tears were of both despair for how he'd lived with that for so many years, but of course, also of happiness that he could finally have it.
We spoke of it recently. They haven't set their plans yet, and he's been joking about eloping in a foreign country. Someone else joined us to talk about the wedding, and I was amused to see how uncomfortable she was talking about it in front of me.
I think she was uncomfortable because she thinks that either (a) I don't support those who choose to get married, or (b) that I somehow feel 'less than' to couples. Both of these are just plain false.
Of course, I'm happy for my friend! Happy is too benign a word; I'm thrilled for him. The girls and I have marched in protests for equal marriage rights, I've written posts and letters and donated money. Now that it's finally here, of course, I want to celebrate with those whose lives are changed for the better!
(Which is not to say that I love weddings, but I would go - if it's local. I like wedding receptions. Those can be fun.)
As for the second, that puts me in one of those awkward positions. Being one less RSVP doesn't make me less than, but there are some who will never be convinced that I really do love being single. I think that just comes with the territory and there's little I can do about that.
Someone told me recently she thinks she's enjoying her job as an assistant because she's single, and this type of work allows her to take care of someone. And maybe that's why I don't feel less than. I take care of my kids, I took care of my actors and production team. And my other activities allow me to feel part of things; part of a Board or committee, part of a classroom, a blogger community.
Bella DePaulo has written many posts about how the single family members usually end up taking care of parents or other relatives in times of need. Maybe some do enjoy the act of nurturing, but of course, it would be presumptuous to assume that all single people are looking to feel that way. And I, for one, would be terrible at that particular task! But I do think that might be a more palatable justification for those who have trouble believing that some out there are really okay with checking the "single" box.
I'm not trying to convince the world that no one should couple; I just want to be a voice out there that says not coupling is also a valid choice.