Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What Recession?

Good god, if I didn't know any better I would think it was the gay 90's again...

Apparently, Wedding masters The Knot are launching 75 new wedding websites " to offer the most robust local resources available for today's couples tying the knot. "

According to their announcement:

"At a time when the economy is pinching all advertising budgets, The Knot is focused on adding value for our local advertisers by maximizing their exposure online," said David Liu, CEO of The Knot Inc.

I checked the list, and naturally, Winnipeg is not on it. (sigh.)

I guess the idea is to help people keep their budgets down by giving more detailed, local oriented feedback and planning, but I have been looking at wedding photos online for 3 months now, and the more pictures I look at, the more directions I feel pulled in. Now The Knot is adding more than 1,700 real wedding photos, and I shudder to think how long it will take me to look through them, and how many new ideas will crop up in the process!

I feel like I went from not-even-interested-in-getting-married to bridezilla in under a minute. This vortex has a strong pull. Feminists, beware.

Monday, March 30, 2009

If I could marry my cat...I would think about it

You know that ridiculous argument against same sex marriage, that if we allow people of the same sex to marry each other, then the next step is bestiality? Well, sometimes I look at my big orange fella blinking at me lazily through eye buggers, and I think, "Hell yeah!"

OK, not really. (But sort of). But I use this jovial opening to introduce an issue that is a thorn in the side of my wedding. Same sex marriage, and the lack of legality. Now, I live in Canada, and same sex marriage is legal here, so it is honestly less of an issue. But I have guilt about living in Canada and what I am getting in general (free health care, regulated banks, etc.) and as an American, I do still care about the rights of my fellow Americans.

Even in Canada, the thrilling victory of Obama was dampened by the Prop 8 debacle in California, and there was this exasperated sense of "Come the hell on, America! Get with the program." In Canada same-sex marriage has been legal since 2005, and guess what? People are still getting married (HELLO?), people are still having babies, families are staying together, and guess what else? We have had an influx of wonderful homosexuals wanting to get married and live in a country that fully accepts them and extends them all the rights that they deserve. So suck on that Dobson and co!

There has been a lot of talk in New York, my home state, of legalizing same-sex marriage but the fact remains that in most of the United States, there are people who are not legally allowed to marry the people they choose. I have issues getting married knowing that the same rights are not available to other people. I have come to terms with the fact that there are other many compelling reasons to get married, but that is definitely a hang up that I have.

We have decided to create a special wedding book for our guests that highlights both the reasons we are getting married, and some of the reasons we hesitated before making that decision (I know, incredibly romantic, but more on that later.) We are definitely including the limited legality of same-sex marriage in the world as one of the reasons we hesitated.

And as far as my cat is concerned...there is no need to worry. He let me know that he really likes me as a friend, but turns out I'm not really his type.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Belle You Can't Un-ring

Don't hate me for my blog title! I know its terrible, but I happen to be working on a play about diamond rings right now that I have been desperately trying to come up with a title. I needed a place to deposit at least one of the hilarious rejects, hence the title of this blog "A Belle You Can't Un-ring".

So here it is, my first post about the dreaded engagement ring. I say "dreaded" ironically, not to be ironic. I did dread this post, and in some ways, the whole "ring question" because I really struggle with this issue on a lot of levels. I am interested to hear responses from other women and men on what they think. I expect this will be an ongoing discussion.

Full disclosure, I wear an engagement ring. I would like to say I wear ring on my left ring finger that is full of other meanings, but to the world, it's an engagement ring like any other, so let's call a spade a spade (or in this case, a diamond.) Here's what happened. I had come to terms with the fact that although I really like diamonds as jewellery, I was not going to get an engagement ring. My partner and I just didn't believe in them for several reasons:

  1. Buying a new diamond is difficult if you are trying to avoid blood diamonds. It can certainly be done, but it's harder.

  2. They're expensive! Duh. OK, so maybe you don't wear a diamond, but you can have another kind of engagement ring. Yes but...

  3. Why should he buy me something and not vice-versa. And OK, let say I get him something really nice too, like an expensive watch. Its still not the same. No one is looking at his watch and saying, "Nice watch, you must be engaged to a real nice lady." (Plus it just so happens my partner won't wear a watch, so my options are so limited)

  4. I don't want to feel like I am wearing a symbol of ownership.

There are more reasons, but you get the idea, and maybe you have your own. It's certainly not uncommon anymore to go sans ring. When we got engaged we had just planned a big trip to Belize. We kind of said that we were spending the money some couples spend on engagement rings on this big trip together that we can both enjoy and that can mark the new stage in our relationship.

But like I said, I am wearing an engagement ring. So here's how it happened.

My mother died five years ago from cancer. I will admit that her absence may have delayed my willingness to get married. I inherited her jewellery after she died, but I didn't really pay any attention until recently. When I came across her engagement ring, I really got choked up. My mother wore it every day of her life, she was never without that ring. It was somewhat unusual shape and cut for nowadays, and it was so uniquely her, I was just so drawn to it. Also, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that inheriting a ring takes away half the problem; I don't have to spend any money, and I don't have to worry about contributing to the bloodshed.

But the symbol of sexism still remains, and that is what I struggle with now. I wear it because it is a way of remembering my mother, involving her in my wedding and life in a way. But if I am being honest, I also just love the look of it at this point. I don't like being instantly recognized as "an engaged person" but the ring itself is beautiful and carries so much meaning.

I know the truth; I didn't spend an exorbitant amount on an engagement ring, nobody got on his knee with a jewellery box to pop the question. I came about my ring in the most painful of ways, and I would give it back in a second if it meant my mother would be alive. But she's not, and I carry this little piece of her with me in this way. But I now face an age old question, does the truth matter, when it appears to the world differently? I can know the truth until the cows come home, but what kind of a feminist am I if I am perpetuating an image that sets us back decades?

Look forward to your thoughts.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Coming soon to a Feminist Wedding near you

Jason and I were thinking about doing a fake movie poster for our save the date, and I came across this cute thing on the interwebs.

Would love to hear suggestions for possible movies that would be recognizable to our "audience". So far all I've gotten was "Dumb and Dumber."

Thursday, March 19, 2009


OK, I just couldn't help it. I had to post this. Here is just a sampling. Check out the link above for more.

Officially officiating

We have picked a date and place for our wedding. Exciting!

We knew we wanted to have the ceremony and party in the same place, and we wanted a "Jewish-style" wedding where the dancing and dinner happen simultaneously (I have been to a few where you eat, have speeches etc. and then dance afterwards, and its not for me) so we chose the Winnipeg Art Gallery. (Oh, yeah, and we are getting married in Winnipeg, which is limiting in itself.) So big thanks in advance to my dear family and friends who are schlepping their generous asses from NY to the 'Peg just to watch me marry a guy I've been living with for five years.

So, we have our non-religious location and date chosen (its more than a year away, so there will be lots of posting between now and then, I am sure.)

So, the next step was to figure out who is actually going to marry us. We are both non- religious people (and very consciously non-religious, not just lazy) so we knew we weren't going to have any clergy. We also knew we wanted a friend to perform the wedding, someone who knew us as people and as a couple. But choosing a friend is not easy, it has to be someone who speaks well, writes well, knows us well...

Actually for us it was easy. The right person came to mind immediately. Not only was he a great friend and a great mind, he has done it before, and he knows what it means to make this kind of commitment. He is married to one of the smartest, loveliest, people I know. They themselves have a wonderful relationship and great senses of humor and...wait a sec...

I have never been to a wedding where a couple performs the ceremony, and my partner loved the idea when I suggested it. Technically only one person can sign the papers, and we haven't discussed which one of them will actually be the legal officiator, but we don't care. Who ever does not can serve as a witness. As far as we are concerned we are being married by a couple, a man and a woman, which in our case, reflects our commitment to an equal partnership, friendship and love.

Feminist wedding victory #1!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The F list

Look, its Sunday night, and if you can believe it I worked all day (yes in my pajamas, yes lying in bed, yes with the t.v. on mute intermittently, but it was work dammit!) so maybe now is not the time to be posting at all, but I have been thinking all day (between work and Law & Order reruns) about the many issues I want to discuss here, and rather than just pick one at a time, I decided I need to have a list going forward of the main things I want to address so I don't forget. So here are some of the things I am either sure about/struggling with/clueless about with regards to my wedding. Meanings behind things, whether I can reassign them meanings, or whether that is total bullshit anyway. OK, the list, then bed, brain cells preserved for more writing tomorrow.

1) Engagement rings (blech) - I hate even thinking about what a hypocrite I am (might be)
2) White wedding dress (laugh, then sigh. I totally want to wear one.)
3) Being walked down the aisle
4) writing our own vows
5) wedding cake? and then cutting the wedding cake?
6) invitations addressed from parents (no, on so many levels, but still want to talk about it)
7) Engagement parties
8) Flowers? In our global warming, diminishing resources world?
9) Religious elements in the service...yikes. I'm a Jew. He's a Mennonite. That's going to be a long post. Or several long posts.
10) Band or DJ (OK that is less of a feminist question, but seriously band or DJ?)

I can't think of any more tonight. These should be enough to get us started. Open to your suggestions to peeps.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Maiden voyage

Initial thoughts.

OK, I am a writer, but I have never blogged before. The whole enterprise intimidates me, as I am on the tail end of a generation whose worst nightmare was having their diary read by anyone. I know, I know, this is a not a diary, and these days, my worst nightmare is not that my diary might be read, but how boring people would find it. But, I procrastinate.

This is a blog about my impending (ahem), upcoming nuptials. My wedding is planned for a little over a year from now, and the stress has begun.

Here's the thing, it is not the bridezilla-stress made iconic by shows like, uh, lets see Bridezillas, for starters. Its not the idea of a perfect wedding, or a perfect space like in Bride Wars, and it is certainly not a worry about the guy and whether he's the one for me, like in the...oh god, there is not enough time in the day.

No for me the stress is getting behind the idea of a wedding in a way that is not a total compromise of my feminist ideals. My partner and I are adults who been together for 7 years, lived together for four, and we are entering into a legal and romantic contract with our eyes open, our expectations realistic, and despite this clinical explanation, we are very, very in love.

He wanted to get married. And so did I, in a way. But we put it off. And off. And off. There were lots of reasons, I could fill 10 more blogs. But one of the reasons is the fear of becoming part of the consumer wedding machine, of losing my identity and, perhaps worst of all, compromising my feminist ideals in pursuit of some fairy tale wedding, which I don't really believe in, and I know will have no bearing on my actual marriage. (Marriage? What does that have to do with a wedding.)

I gotta tell you, I am don't see myself tripping down that particular rabbit hole, at least, not consciously. But I have decided to keep this blog as a way of tracking my research (yeah, I'm doing research about it) and share my pro-feminist wedding plans with anyone who is interested.

And also as practice with this whole "blog" thing. I figure I should give it a try. Since it really seems to be catching on.