Today, August 5th, is my wedding anniversary!
My Facebook relationship status is “married” and I’ve been surprised that no one has ever inquired about this. After all, most people who are married list their spouse on FB and show off couple pics at least every once in a while, but my profile doesn’t name anyone I haven’t posted any “here’s my husband/wife” shots. Maybe people just assume that my spouse is not on FB, or that they’re a very private person.
But that’s not the case, because I myself am on FB and I’m a fairly public person, and the person I’m married to is… me!
(For the record, when I first signed up for FB, I tried to enter my own profile as my spouse, but FB wouldn’t let me, so I left it blank.)
My main justification for marrying myself was that the only person I could truly and honestly promise to spend the rest of my life with was myself.
I described my wedding in my book, “Adventures in Urban Bike Farming” and that excerpt follows. To set the scene, the summer of 2006 was a period when my lifestyle was moving rapidly out of the mainstream. It was the first season I tried to support myself as an urban farmer in Portland, Oregon. I’d been fired from my job at a food co-op that spring but had simultaneously gained access to a quarter acre plot that I named, “Lemon Balm Garden.”
On August 5, 2006, I staged a public prank at Lemon Balm Garden that was intended to push me out further still, but in a more personal way. That was the day I got married. I had made preparations for months beforehand, sending out invitations, registering for gifts, lining up a reception hall and band, picking the principals for the wedding party, lining up the services of an ordained minister, etc.
To say that marriage is a major component of U.S. culture is like saying that bedrock is a major component of the earth’s crust: Neither the nation nor the planet could exist in their current forms without these underlying masses. I had been raised by church-goers and attended sixteen years of private religious schools, so I felt that I needed to address the issue of marriage for myself somehow. The answer—which was suggested by, of all people, my girlfriend at the time—was to marry myself.
The prank proved popular. A crowd of people showed up and together we all “played wedding.” The occasion was half-costume party, half-theater improv. People took on stereotypical roles and made jokes of them that they played to the hilt: the annoying uncle telling racist jokes; the pregnant bridesmaid drinking like a fish; the jealous father-of-the-groom lustily claiming, “I saw her first!” There was even a live rendition of a Carpenter’s song (“On Top of the World”).
Strange as it might sound, the event had real reverberations for me for years afterwards, even up to the present day. I actually did feel like I had dispensed with the institution of marriage for myself and that felt liberating. Publicly, I had made a declaration of my position “outside the box.” Tellingly, most women were not interested in me after that, which helped keep life free of some particular flavors of heartbreak. And finally, since I was no longer looking for “that special someone,” I could focus more intently on my own path.
That was 2006, so this year is my/our 13th Wedding Anniversary. (Appropriate gifts for #13 are lace, textiles or furs, btw; feel free to email me/us for a mailing address, lol.)
Astrologers may take note that a) my sun sign is Gemini, and this is some conspicuous Twin energy and b) the wedding took place in the time of my Saturn-squares-Saturn, when new pushes away old.
I’ve kept the narrative alive this whole time. Anyone who has spent more than a few hours with me has heard me refer to “my wife” or “my husband” (depending on which one I feel like in a given moment). The running joke has been that my wife does all the cooking but nothing else, so my husband is responsible for cleaning, mending, making money, etc.
The marriage was never intended to be monogamous, and my wife has fooled around with guys while my husband has taken on mistresses. I have even claimed that my marriage is a totally traditional one, between one man and one woman, both heterosexual, although both also me. (Okay, that’s a stretch, especially these days when I’ve owned up to “gay” and won’t even call myself “bi” anymore.)
I’ve often said that the best thing about marriage is being out of the dating world, and hell yeah that’s true. I have actually felt cleanly removed from that wretched scene since August 5th, 2006, and that’s been an immense relief. All the games and all the posing–ugh! Not that I haven’t experienced some heartbreak anyway, but I’ve never lost “the one.” Since that’s me, I can’t. So anyone else is just a lover, unburdened from those expectations, which are utterly unrealistic anyway. That’s not just good for me/us but also for any boy/girlfriend; they get to just be themselves and don’t have to be perfect.
Am I super gullible that I’ve been falling for my own prank for this long? Maybe. If that’s the case, I hope I don’t smarten up any time soon. I’d like at least another 13 years of this bliss. (In case you’d like to plan ahead, the 26th Anniversary gift is a portrait of the couple. Any medium is fine, photography, painting, etc. )