Op-ed: The Pressure to Walk Down the Aisle
As a gay man at the age of 30, I have never quite felt the pressure to go out and club a potential husband over the head quite like I do now. Sure, I have always thought I would eventually find a man I would want to walk down the aisle with (although I am still not sure who would walk down first), but I’m suddenly finding myself working against the clock.
This year, my mailbox has been flooded with some of the most stylish save-the-date cards, wedding invitations, and engagement announcements a gay man could dream of. From a purely homocentric standpoint, I more than appreciated the perfectly chosen color palettes and subtle yet stylish typography profiles that required so much time and good taste. But I must admit, the gay wedding boom has also brought about a slightly less sunny disposition as I examine an emerging trend.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I couldn’t be happier to take my Grey Goose allowance and blow it at Crate & Barrel for my dearest friends who finally get to take the foolhardy plunge. Two weeks of drinking the cheap stuff won’t kill me. After attending countless weddings (and second weddings) of their hetero counterparts, gay couples who have been together for what seems like eons are overdue for wedding day bliss.
Up until recently, weddings for most gay couples were a way to celebrate years of commitment without the guarantee that their union would ever be legally recognized. It is a dream that no one was ever sure would come true. These weddings are mere symbols of the relationships I hope to one day recognize as my own.
But with the federal recognition of same-sex marriage also comes a new trend among the homo elite: the rush to the altar. And of course, each pair of grooms have to pack more dove-flying, glitter-blasting, Dom-popping gay wedding realness than the couple who got married the week before.
Now, pardon the eye roll, but we’ve seen this play out in the failed first marriages of many of our 20-something girlfriends. You know, the ones who said yes to the wrong guy just so they could finally buy the wedding dress they’d been eyeing. We have all seen our girlfriends who are more in love with the idea of the ceremony than the man she is committing to.
Even though these bridal creatures are easy to see through, they still somehow have the ability to make otherwise smart and single girls everywhere feel the pressure to snag a man before next year’s Christmas party. As a gay man, I have lovingly poked fun at my clever, attractive, successful girlfriends who still somehow feel less than their espoused peers just because they haven’t found a man to put a ring on it. But since the overturning of a major portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, the unnecessary pressure has spilled over to the single homos of the United States (including myself, if I am being honest). And if we aren’t careful, the results of this pressure could be just as ugly as a real housewife’s divorce.
I’ve listened to several of my seemingly defeated single gay friends complain about their last date and how they didn’t understand why their dates never called (or texted) again. Conveniently, they forgot that they had done the exact same thing to another poor soul many times over. Nonetheless, they exclaim that they’ll “never find a husband” and order another drink.
As someone who has both rejected and been rejected by a potential match just shy of a million times, I have become numb to taking it personally. Instead, I have worked to determine what I love about myself and what I want to find in the man I wouldn’t mind still looking at when he’s old and wrinkled. Establishing and accepting your worth and the kind of person you’re seeking eases the pressure to race to the aisle. Sure, I would love to plan the wedding of my dreams, but it would only serve to be an embarrassment if my groom turned out to be a nightmare.
Of course, the legal right to the state and federal benefits of marriage is far overdue. But our culture should know better than to chase after a title in lieu of looking for the right man. If it takes me until 40 to find Mr. Right, at least I didn’t have to divorce Mr. Wrong in the process. Being single and secure is always better than settling for a man who ultimately wasn’t the right fit.
This is about identifying real love versus the desire to look like you are in love. If right now, the only true love you have is for yourself, then that is enough until the real thing comes along. For all of the gay men who are truly in love, I can’t wait to attend your over-the-top two-day, diamond-encrusted wedding extravaganza. You deserve it. But for all you single men out there, take a breath.
After all, you know what is worse than being single? Being married to an asshole.
TYLER CURRY created the Needle Prick Project as an editorial and visual campaign to elicit a candid and open conversation on what it means to be HIV-positive today. To learn more about the Needle Prick Project, visit www.facebook.com/getpricked or follow Tyler Curry on Twitter at @iamtylercurry.