May 3, Houston: The big one -- the Inprint reading -- occurs at the Alley Theatre on Monday, May 3. Do not miss it or you'll be sorry. I'm not kidding -- I'm going to say the craziest, most intellectual yet hilarious stuff I can think of, and I'll be sharing the stage with the ultra sexy Oscar Casares, too.
June 24, Houston: I'm one of the peeps scheduled to read at Poison Pen, at Houston's famous Poison Girl bar. Besides me, everyone there will be ultra, *super* sexy. Come see me and drink!
June 26, Washington, DC: I'll be reading at the American Library Association conference. Come on down.
My other blog: Go read my the Houston Chronicle parenting blog (or my ChronMomBlog, as I like to call it) and make sure my kids won't resent me more than other kids resent their own parents.
Buy my new novel, Lone Star Legend. Already did? Well, buy a few more for your friends, then. :)
Thursday, March 12, 2009getting married
Part of the reason I’m marrying my boyfriend Dat is that we share many of the same values and beliefs. Like “Art is a priority” and “You should never do something just because everyone else does it.” We’re no Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre, but I do enjoy the home life we’ve created for ourselves, in which the dining area can become the crafting area and music practice isn’t considered noise and fake birds can populate any space for no other reason than their cuteness.
Some of our values might make the act of getting married seem like an oxymoron. But, as so many of y’all know, there are jillions of reasons to get married other than “because I want a big day that’s all about me just like everyone else gets to have on TV.” So we’re doing it for those other reasons. Of course, we want the wedding to reflect our values. Meaning, mainly, that we don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a ceremony that has no personal meaning for either of us.
I went through the old dilemmas that braver women than me have lived through before I was even born. Like: Are we getting married for ourselves, or for others? and then: Even if we’re getting married for ourselves, what do we owe our families and the people who care about us and feel invested in our relationship?
Even though other couples have answered these questions admirably and come up with workable solutions, it’s really a case-by-case kind of thing, isn’t it? No two couple and no two families are alike, so you have to work with what you have and not stick your star-shaped block into the octagon-shaped hole.
Here’s the solution we came up with. Here is what our “wedding” will be:
1. On a Saturday morning this May, we will get married at the courthouse downtown. This was going to be just us and the kids, but one of my cousins really, really wants to be there, so we’re opening it to anyone who wants to show up.
2. Right after that, we’ll have dim sum. Because dim sum has great cultural significance in Dat’s family’s culture, of course. No, just kidding. It’s only because we like dim sum a lot and use any excuse – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Ash Wednesday – to eat it. Again, we planned it to be Dat, me, and the kids, but we’re imagining that some of my family might want to attend. So we’ll invite Dat’s family, too. Anyone else who wants to attend is free, as we live in America, to show up. But we’re only paying for ourselves and the kids and our parents. :)
3. That night, we’ll have a party at our house. At that party, we’ll have wedding cake and champagne. Maybe appetizers, too. Or brisket, if someone wants to bring a brisket. Maybe some potato salad. Or maybe sushi. The food part hasn’t been worked out yet. But we’ll have a cake and champagne, for sure, and a few more people we know will be invited.
4. In June, we’re going to Hawaii. (Not the kids – just me and Dat.) That’s our honeymoon. In Hawaii, we will eat dim sum again, if they have it. If not, we’ll just eat everything else.
And that’s it. That’s what it’s gonna be. Now that that’s settled, we’re actually looking forward to it. You know? I mean, we were always looking forward to our marriage, but now we’re actually excited about the wedding, too. (I don’t want to be a person who looks forward to her wedding and not her marriage. That’s a commonly used recipe for unhappiness, in my opinion.)
Do I sound defensive? Right now, there’s a message in my Inbox from a certain person. I can’t see it until I get home tonight, but I kind of don’t want to look at it, anyway, because it’s undoubtedly in response to my recent Facebook announcement that I’m planning our wedding. Earlier in our engagement, this person was trying to plan our wedding for us. I love her, but she’s one of the people who comes over to our house and says stuff like, “Why the hell do y’all have fake birds on your bookshelf? I don’t get it.” So I don’t really want to get into a discussion about the wedding with her. If I were rich and wanted a big wedding, I’d hire a planner. But first I’d show that planner a bunch of photographs of random things that we think are cool, and I’d watch his/her face. If s/he made a wtf face, I’d know s/he wasn’t right for us. You know?
something else that’s related to the stuff above, but which I’ll discuss in third person
In case anyone’s curious, here’s a list of possible reasons that a married couple might decide to have separate bedrooms:
1. You both want your own space, not just for sleeping but for other things – fashion, hobbies, decorations – that might occur in your bedrooms.
2. You have completely different sleeping preferences. Maybe one of you needs the door open and the other needs it closed. One of you can tolerate the light on the cable box and the other can’t. Both of you like to sleep with your arm under your head, but you face each other and therefore your elbows are at odds. One of you needs cats posted at the foot of the bed throughout the night, and one of you can’t sleep with cat hair in your lungs. And so on, and so forth.
3. You can’t afford separate houses. :)
4. You see that, often, elderly couples sleep in separate bedrooms, and it’s not only because they’re more comfortable that way, but also because they’re so old that they no longer care what anyone thinks of them. And you think, “Why do I have to wait until I’m older, to stop caring what people think?” And you don’t care what people think, and you want to be comfortable.
5. You realize that sleeping in the same bed is neither proof of romantic love nor a guarantee of a satisfying sex life.
6. You enjoy attention, and therefore you enjoy having people come to your house and say, “Oh my god, WHY do you have separate BEDROOMS? What’s WRONG? Are you guys breaking up? Are you guys secretly gay? I thought you guys liked each other. I don’t understand. What do you mean, you like it better this way? What’s WRONG with you two? That’s not what married people DO. What do you mean, you like your cats to sleep on the bed? That’s DISGUSTING.”
Just kidding on that last one. That one goes on the cons list. But, hey, it’s one of a very few things on the cons list, apart from “can’t yet afford a house with separate bedrooms.”
I’m not telling you guys this because I believe you’re the kind of judgmental that needs an explanation. I’m telling you guys this because maybe some of you want to sleep in separate bedrooms and are going over the rationale, compiling lists of pros and cons. In that case, you’re welcome to my reasons.
… feeling like you’ve created your own space in the world -- you and your partner -- that doesn’t need anyone else’s approval. Or maybe that’s what codependence is? I get those two confused...
Just kidding. Ha. Love is... worth sharing, right? I feel protective of the people and things I really, really care about, which is why you don’t see me posting a lot about my relationships with Dat and my kids. But I know some of y’all have been following this journal for a long, long time, and that some of you identify with the main character in it (heh) in certain ways. So, for the sake of the story and its readers, I’m sharing with y’all that, after careful consideration, I’ve found love worth making into a legal entity, and a relationship that I believe will create long-term, overriding happiness for me, for him, and for our family.
And, in sharing this with y’all, I’m sending out good vibes and hopes that y’all have found or will find the same. 6:27 AM #
Comments:Gwen, your wedding sounds awesome. I'll only offer one thing: you may want to check with City Hall as far as how many people can attend before you throw the offer open to a ton of folks. Here in San Francisco you're only allowed to have 6 people other than the couple at the ceremony. I guess they were having problems with groups of 50 showing up and completely over running the place. Still, have fun on the day and keep your plans, they sound sweet and fun.
As for the separate rooms thing, most of my married theater friends at least have a "guest room" which is actually the room one or the other partner uses when they're working late nights and don't want to mess with the other person's schedule. I think it makes perfect sense myself, having had to share a bed/bedroom with horrible snorers several times.
# posted by lumenatrix : 12:39 PM
OK Gwen, I love you for calling him Tad for all these years in the blog when his name is really Dat. That is so funny to me!
I found that buying a bigger bed solved a lot of the sleeping together issues. I think in an ideal world we'd both have our own bedrooms and offices but we are not yet living in that world.
# posted by : 1:03 PM
I totally know what you mean. A girlfriend of mine got married at 5 in the morning on a Saturday because she and her husband wanted to start their new life together at the beginning of a new day. They also got married in a park because the love the outdoors. Afterwards, they had a small reception where they served breakfast (it was like 7 a.m.) and instead of cake they had cupcakes. It was really cool, but boy did they get flack!
# posted by : 1:04 PM
I agree completely about doing your own thing, especially the bedroom situation. I was in the middle of that argument recently, and even blogged about it. Consistently getting a good night's sleep is way more important than what others think of your arrangement.
# posted by Esmeralda : 1:59 PM
Gwen -- I've been following you since the trailer park days, and I feel obliged to tell you that you deserve every single bit of happiness you can grab. Just tell those naysayers to get over it -- and promise you'll hold your fire when they make their own decisions about their own lives.
I am very happy for you and Dat and wish you all the best life has to offer.
PS -- I hope you'll post pics on your Facebook of the big day.
# posted by divalicias : 2:01 PM
This post made me all tearful. Sniff! It's been such a privilege to watch your story unfold, Gwen. You deserve all the happiness in the world, and it's clear that your family (including Dat) is bringing you a great deal of satisfaction.
Now I will sit back and wait for you to post about what you're wearing for the wedding and dinner, and all the unsolicited opinions you're getting on this topic.
# posted by Jackie D : 2:26 PM
I've been reading your blog since you were just an upset housewife in Texas and have followed through a divorce, finding yourself, and finally finding love and happiness. I'm so happy for you girl!!! Just know that you have a one person cheerleading squad right here in So-Cal.
I feel that you and Dat know what you want and that you guys should totally go for it. Ignore all the haters and do what makes you feel good.
# posted by Cassie B. : 3:42 PM
Long time reader - so glad to hear about your wedding plans! Sounds like you are going about it the perfect way, too.
Also wanted to comment about the 2 bedrooms thing - I've been sleeping in our guest room ever since I got pregnant and became completely unable to sleep except under the absolute perfect circumstances. Circumstances that did not include a less-than-supportive mattress and a husband on shift work coming home at random wee hours in the morning. I love having my own bed so much, I will probably continue long after the baby is born! And if anything, its even better for our sex life since now we are both getting decent amounts of sleep! So don't let anyone hate on you if that's what you want to do. What people do behind closed doors is their own business :)
# posted by Monya R. : 4:01 PM
First off, congratulations! Your wedding sounds like it will be fun and personally meaningful, which is awesome.
Second, thank you for defending the two-bedroom sleeping arrangement. For some people who spent 20+ years having their own bed, shifting to a co-sleeping arrangement just doesn't work. I had to face some negativity about this very topic the other day, and it's so nice to know I'm not the only one out there who values sleep over "traditional" sleeping arrangements.
# posted by : 4:22 PM
I'm another longtime reader and for what it's worth, I think you're planning an awesome wedding. So, congrats, Gwen (and Dat, and the kids)! May you always have fake birds on your bookshelf (as long as they make you happy).
# posted by jam : 5:00 PM
Oh man, that sounds like the best kind of wedding. I also like that your dining table can be the craft table and that you can practice music anytime. That sounds like love's ideal conditions to me. Yay, yay, yay for you and Dat.
# posted by Marigoldie : 8:43 PM
People who hate on you for having separate bed(rooms), are jealous because they wish they could do the same. In fact, I think that sleeping in separate rooms would help out your sex life and keep it fresh. If this is the person you're supposed to "spend the rest of your life with," why does that include sharing the same bed? People weren't meant to sleep together. It's not natural.
The two of you are starting a trend that needs to spread. Being a guy, I'm sure most married men would agree with me on this.
Congrats on the wedding!
# posted by : 9:27 PM
Congrats on the wedding. The husband and I got married where we lived far away from family. His father got nasty because he wanted X-type wedding and we weren't going to do it that way. When we essentially said "you're welcome to come, but this is what is going on" he eventually stopped boycotting and showed up.
Several of my friends have started refusing to tell people the names of their babies until they are born. Their contention is that everyone has an opinion before the baby is born, but everyone has to accept it afterwards. Perhaps an approach like that for a wedding would work... just tell people you aren't discussing the plans because you want them to be a surprise.
Regarding the bedroom... I don't have or want my own bedroom, but one of the deal breakers for me was that I had to have my own office. We have a bedroom and his and hers separate offices in the house. I could put a bed in here if I wanted to, but I have 6 bookcases, my own tv and a sound system. I don't decorate his space and he doesn't decorate mine. The bedroom is negotiated space for decor.
# posted by JTN : 11:12 PM
Gwen, I'm a new reader who has been having a ball going through your archives (just half way through). Can't wait to catch up so I can better see your journey that everyone is talking about. I love your honesty. It has inspired me. Congrats on your wedding and going your own way. After a yucky first marriage my second husband and I have "created our own space in the world" like you say and it is great. I wish you and your family all the very best!
# posted by Carol B. : 6:45 PM
congratulations! your wedding sounds like my wedding--only we had plain old brunch.
gwen i have read you for so many years now (since the olden days at hipmama) and it is SO AWESOME how happy and secure you are. i am so glad you are writing and loving and enjoying your life.
# posted by Smarticus : 7:18 PM
Really hope you have the very best wedding ever and that you share a few pictures with us. Cover your cake in fake birds!
# posted by : 9:56 AM
Ooh, May. "Wantons marry in the month of May," at least according to tradition. It's a fine tradition, I think. Who doesn't want to be a little wanton now and then?
My husband and I went out for dim sum and giant flaming alcoholic drinks after our courthouse wedding, and it was a great experience. Our post-wedding feast was varied, and exotic, and we both got what we wanted, sort of like how we wanted the marriage to go :) Hope it's the same for you.
# posted by Belle Plain : 9:24 PM
Your reasons are valid and sound awfully familiar . We eloped to Lake Charles since the wedding that I was letting my best friend :
1. Wasn't mine
2. Got so out of control the SU and I ended up at Bubba's , him with a bucket of beer and me crying.
The only...only...only regret I have 20 years later is that we didn't think to bring a throw down Kodak camera for a " wedding photo" . That is my only regret.
For what it's worth..the SU and I have seperate bedrooms, we both snore and need a nights sleep...it doesn't mean we llove each other less...in fact some of the stupider arguements dissapeared once we both got sleep and got over it.
Still slaving in 2A
# posted by Aunty Pol : 1:24 PM
Congratulations! Both on your impending nuptials and the superb way you've (both) held your own to create the ceremony and celebration you desire and deserve.
I've been reading your site since the trailer days and just wanted to chip in with my good wishes for you and both of your families. Super cool.
# posted by Anna : 4:36 PM
While I'm taking a quick (ha!) break from reading for my thesis:
I would totally do the second bedroom thing if we had the space, but the next best thing for us is 2 single beds in one frame. The bed is as big as a king, there is a crack in the middle that acts as a border (as in, "Cross this line if you want to lose that limb"), and I don't get thrown out of bed by the tsunami of DH rolling over in the night. Win! Plus we have separate bedding, so there is no cover-hogging. I never would have guessed when we moved to Germany that my favorite part of living here would be our furnished bedroom (new mattresses), but I am *never* going back to a single mattress, even if I have to build the bed with my own 2 hands!
So rock on with your separate rooms!
(I'll be back in a month or so when I have time for another break, ha ha!)
# posted by Nee S. : 9:51 AM
Gwen I'm so proud of you and your Dat for being individuals, being proud of your own tastes and haveing a WONDERFUL wedding full of love and meaning for the two of you and your families. They will see the love and they will be happy, they might not tell you but they will see it and be happy inside.
I'm just so freakin happy for you.
And about the seperate bedroom part. Ppsshh. Whoever makes a fuss is secretly jealous. Or fanatically religious. It sounds HEAVENLY to me. I'd love to go back to having the fun of decorating my own room and having a full nights sleep without out mr. snorer. lol
Hugs and kisses from Pixielyn who you know has been a loyal fan since the beginning.....
I raise my glass of champagne in toast to you and Dat in congrats for starting off on the right foot.
You cant go wrong with love being your motivator.
# posted by Pixielyn : 10:22 AM
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