I like the idea of being able to visibly demonstrate my love for Donna (and for Gracie). Donna and I have not gotten married (it is legal in New York State, but not recognized by the federal government). We don’t wear wedding rings. We have wills, we have medical and legal powers of attorney, and we have made each other beneficiaries on all our accounts. It is a lot of paper (reminder to contact lawyer to update my name on my will). We’ve made our commitments to each other.
My ideal wedding would be to call a couple of friends, go down to City Hall (the Municipal Building), get married by the City Clerk, and be done in time to have Dim Sum for lunch in Chinatown. It is not going to happen.
I would get married but Donna does not believe in marriage. She does not want or need the government to sanction our relationship. She is entitled to her opinion. My reason for getting married is to have Donna legally recognized as my next of kin. This was more important to me when my Mom was alive. I did not want her, or anyone else, to be able to contest my will.
The only part of marriage I have trouble with is thinking of myself as Donna’s “wife”. In Kindergarten I would not play house unless I could play the Daddy. This got me into trouble; I switched to playing with blocks. I can’t picture being referred to as Donna’s “husband” either. Donna refers to me as her partner, Jamie. No implied gender. I’d like to keep it that way.
I work with guys who have tattoos of their wife’s name and their kids’ names and birth dates. The tattoos are adorned with hearts and flowers. It is very sweet. It is not for me. I do not like pain. I do not like needles. I faint when I have to give blood or get a flu shot. It is one of many reasons why taking testosterone is unappealing to me.
I also can not get used to the idea of tattoos as decorative. I can not separate tattoos from the Holocaust. I grew up around men and women who had tattoos from the concentration camps visible on their forearms. I knew what it meant. I didn’t know any Jews who voluntarily got a tattoo. Then all of a sudden everyone I knew was getting tattooed and pierced. All over.
This is the closest that I’ve come to getting a tattoo. I ordered a pair of custom-made New Balance 574 sneakers (look under “Custom USA574”). They are orange. The left one is embroidered with “Donna” and the right one is embroidered with “Gracie”. The sneakers weren’t cheap. They won’t last forever. I feel good when I wear them, heart and sole.