A Year Later: Same-Sex Wedding Fatigue?
By Jerry Portwood
A year ago tomorrow, on July 24, New York became the most populated state to legalize same-sex marriage. It was a euphoric occasion for many across the nation. How did the Gray Lady mark the anniversary of that occasion so far? By publishing a big, splashy first-person essay about "gay-wedding fatigue" by staff writer Brooks Barnes (he covers Hollywood for the paper's business section) that, in print, had the headline: "I Do, I Do, I Do."
While news outlets are still trying to figure out what the "effect" of same-sex weddings may have had on the culture as a whole—it turns out it's difficult to even know the number (it's estimated to be in the thousands) since marriage applicants aren't required to identify themselves by gender—the paper of record seems to have taken an insular, ho-hum approach.
I won't harp too much on the use of the perjorative "gay wedding," as if a gay wedding were somehow distinct and different from an opposite-sex wedding, since it is a phrase that seems to slip out of the mouths of even the most PC-minded gay men and women when referring ironically to their friends' nuptials.
Much of the guilt and circumspection is in the mouths of those interviewed, but Barnes, who has attended six same-sex weddings so far and has two more expected soon, expresses the "gay wedding boom" burnout by writing: "It’s just that, at least until the backlog burns off, some of us are starting to feel like 20-something sorority sisters — a wedding a weekend, seemingly for eternity."
I'm not advocating for an earnest marriage equality agenda. In fact, I get what Barnes is trying to get across: it's hard to "just say no" to your friends. But as you learn tact and get a knack for it, you can politely say no to weddings. I learned long ago that not all wedding invites are created equally: whether gay or straight. No, the most annoying part of Brooks' story is that it's full of stereotypes that could apply to ANY wedding—gay or straight.
As Scott Cooke, a principal at GCK Partners, a New York marketing firm, is quoted as saying: “A little goes a long way, and most gay men don’t have any interest in little. They feel a need to make a big show — ta-dah! — and you get burned out on that really quickly, or at least I do.”
Really? Isn't that most heterosexual weddings, too? Has he never watched a Bridezilla show or heard about the over-the-top ceremonies that break the bank of some twentysomething gal's parents? Has he never seen Steel Magnolias?
Isn't it too soon to start whining about too many weddings? Or am I just not mixing in the same crowd? I've attended one simple, sweet, Manhattan rooftop wedding. It was lowkey and elegant. (Thanks, Glenn & Derrick.)
Barnes is obviously sheepish about penning the piece, wary of the reactions of readers, especially those in the LGBT community. As he qualifies:
"Don’t misunderstand. Seeing the look on my friend Tim’s face when he showed off Matt’s ring was a highlight of my life, truly. I am grateful to Jeff and John for the crab claws I gobbled at their postcard-perfect Hollywood Hills reception. I’m in no way making fun of the commitment Melissa and Shari made to each other. (Although I will mock their selection of music: “Love Can Build a Bridge” by the Judds. Really?)"
But then again, we don't think Melissa and Shari, if those are their real names, will ever forgive him. Cuz he just called them out for being tasteless lesbians in one of the most read newspapers in the world. Good going, Brooks. We think your invites MIGHT just dry up after all. Or, rather, a more proper punishment would be an avalanche of invites to arrive in your mailbox, make it overflow, to really prove that the wedding stampede is coming.