I have been proposed to twice in my life. The first proposal came from Sean, my first real boyfriend and first real love. I was 20 and very ready for a long-term commitment. It didn’t take Sean long to tell me I was perfect for him and that he wanted to marry me. Our relationship progressed rather quickly. We had only been seeing each other for about a week before the topic of marriage came up. We had the same interests, liked the same things, and shared the same dreams for the future – which included a marriage, 2.3 children, and a renovated old Victorian home in Connecticut with a wrap around porch.
Sean was going to be a lawyer and I was going to stay home with the kids and write novels. It all seemed so perfect, and it could have been, save for the fact that Sean turned out to be a lying, cheating bastard. I should have seen it from the beginning when the night before our first date he told he had unwillingly been given a hickey by an all to0 forceful barfly. Later into the relationship, when Sean began to work all the time and never returned any of my calls, I began to get the feeling that something was amiss. This turned out to be true as I discovered he was looking for another boyfriend through on-line personal ads.
I knew things were getting really serious when he asked what my ring size was during one of our regular conversations. These conversations would last hours and would consist of everything from 80’s cartoon shows to architecture. They really ran the gambit. After that, he kept hinting that he had something to ask me the next time we went out. I was sure he was going to pop the question and I was more than ready to say “yes.” We had been talking about marriage for sometime, and I knew it was just a formality that he actually proposed with a ring. Sean had said several times that he had found “the one” – he was done looking; there was no one better.
The ring never materialized, and on date after date neither did a proper proposal. Sean never got down on one knee or hid my Harry Winston Sarah Jessica square cut platinum band ring in a champagne glass, box of chocolates, or bouquet of roses. All the time I waited, anticipating the moment when he would pop the question, but the question was never popped. He later told me that a very good friend of his suggested he wait a while longer before getting down on one knee. It seemed perfectly acceptable to me. The ring and the TLC Wedding Story proposal could wait, the notion was there and, as I thought, Sean wasn’t going anywhere – or so I thought. Eventually, the relationship crashed, and my hopes of a husband were gone.
In time my hopes would be peaked again. This time by another guy, a different guy, who, about a year and half later, would save me from my loss of Sean. My second marriage proposal came from Phil, an older guy, 31, who I met at a club one rainy night. Phil and I hadn’t been dating long either before he broached the subject of marriage. This time I knew better than to get my hopes up so early in the relationship; I told him I wouldn’t give him an answer until we had been seeing each other long enough – the situation with Sean had taught me a few things. He agreed, and instead of marriage, we played house.
While I didn’t move in with Phil, I did spend a lot of time at his place – a great opportunity to see if we were compatible. I discovered that though Phil came with a few flaws, his over eagerness, a serious attachment to his dead mother, and a Friday night bowling league to name a few, I could easily change them. After a while, though, Phil developed issues with my insistence that he get tested for HIV as soon as possible. He made all kinds of excuses: he was busy with work or he would take care of it next week. He never seemed to have time to have some blood drawn. I decided that if Phil couldn’t find time for me, then I wasn’t going to waste time on him. I simply told Phil that we’d no longer be playing together until I knew he was safe. That was the last thing I ever said to him. Our playtime was over.
In both cases I ended up wondering how two very different people could propose marriage one day and never speak to me again the next. Is commitment something to be taken lightly, or is throwing around the idea of marriage not deemed sacred enough because a real marriage between two gay people isn’t realistic? If gay marriage were a real possibility at the time of my two proposals, would things have gone differently?
A civil union, commitment ceremony, or judge presided marriage is not my dream wedding. My vision of marriage always followed along the traditional: a church, a priest, and a bride in white. But how can my new vision of marriage mesh with my traditional view? I may be able to replace the bride in white with a groom in Armani, and cut the guest list down from disapproving family members to accepting friends, but there is no way I’d be able to pull off the Catholic church wedding. With so much controversy surrounding gay marriage now, I have to ask myself if gay marriage is something I can really do?
It might take some time to accept, but if getting the chance to marry the man of my dreams means giving up my fantasy of a church wedding, that’s something I’ll have to deal with. After all, there are certainly other romantic and special settings that a civil union can take place in. Maybe an outdoor wedding wouldn’t be so bad, and I hear the Plaza throws a great ceremony as well. In any case, I’m almost positive it’s going to be along time before I tie the knot or even consider accepting a too speedy proposal from a guy I just started dating. I’ll give it awhile, who knows, by the time I’m ready, maybe I can actually have my traditional wedding. If not, I’ll just have to deal. Oh yeah, and in case you were wondering, my ring size is a 7.