Last Sunday my boyfriend of two and a half years asked me to marry him. I gratefully accepted his proposal and we quite quickly set a date for next Summer and prepared to tell our families.
Our parents were all delighted: my parents think Tom is great and his parents are impressed with my birthing hips. All in all, we are made for each other, literally: he can earn a better wage than I can and I can merrily have his children until I either die or become too old, at which point we can discuss if he's got enough children or might want to pick someone else.
It's been quite an exhausting week to be honest! Who knew getting engaged would so quickly escalate into such a planning debacle?! Thankfully Tom was quite reasonable about what he was expecting as he's been living with me for a year and a half and so he said that as he'd "tried before he bought" so to speak, he could cut us a good deal. My parents don't have immediate access to livestock (my dad's a builder and my mum's a teacher) so scraping the dowry together (even with Tom being so lenient) has been quite a challenge!
Luckily my parents live in the West Country so we at least have access to farmland and there were a couple of farms nearby that had runts they didn't mind selling and a couple of cows that are on their way out. Tom agreed that those and a PlayStation 4 would be enough to ease the difficulty of agreeing to be my husband and we got them in a lorry.
Obviously, finding somewhere to keep them in our one bedroom flat in Brighton has been the trickiest part. So tough these days to keep marriage values true, isn't it? The goat is in the bathroom and we've sort of pushed the sofa out from the wall to make sure the pigs stay away from the cows as the cows are quite distressed by being tethered to the mantle piece and so they're a bit kicky and anxious. I just don't what we'd have done if Tom wasn't such a modern thinker.
We want quite a traditional ceremony so I'll be carrying a bouquet of garlic and dill to keep the plague away, and I'm thinking of asking my Godfather to check that the marriage has been consummated properly after the wedding night - family is so important to me. I'm not sure what to do about a dress: I guess I want to keep it very traditional wedding style so I'll have a veil to keep the devil out of my head until the last minute when I have a husband to protect me. Man, I really hope Tom is good at keeping evil spirits at bay. I must remember to ask him when he gets back from walking the heifer.
Tom got down on one knee to propose to me, which was INCREDIBLE! I really cried; like, really cried! He had a ring he'd picked out and he opened the box and it was just so beautiful. It's the most beautiful ring I've ever seen. I double checked with him that the diamond has no certification of having been sourced properly. I'd hate to think we'd broken with tradition and not participated in the brutality of the diamond industry in some way. I just think it's so important to keep marriage how it's always been. That's the most important thing for me; not changing. It's a shame that it means Africans are dying and stuff like in Blood Diamond, but marriage is marriage, so... what can you do?
I've been planning my wedding since I started dating Tom. I have known he was the one for me since about 3 months after we started dating. He's perfect for me: patient, caring, loving, so funny, genuine, concerned, tall, strong, optimistic, generous and beautifully spirited. I have been looking forward to being his wife since he started dropping clues that he might like that too. I'd love to spend the rest of my life with him, have his children, paint a house together; just be a grown up set of people that make decisions together. For me, the most magical part of last week was the immediate hour after he'd proposed where only we knew and I felt like it was "us". I felt like I was part of an "us" that did things independently of the rest of the world. It was incredible.
Sadly, it's all over now. On Saturday, barely 6 days after Tom had made me the happiest woman in the world, it all fell apart. What was the point in any of it? All the goats, cows, dead Africans, thousands and thousands of pounds in deposits, promises to obey him no matter what I thought in my silly brain... what did any of it really MEAN any more if the gays could do it too?
It all just felt a bit stupid and unimportant once it was not just men and women that could do it. Why do they need to be able to do it too? I mean, it's not like every single heterosexual couple under the sun since Roman times hasn't played Elton John at the reception? It's not right that he should actually be able to have his own wedding too. He's already a symbol of love, romance, marriage and devotion: why does he need to be able to have the same rights as us to marry too? You were going to be at my reception, Elton, isn't that enough?
Having had all my plans for a marriage and a wedding completely undermined and devalued by the intentions of gays this week, I've taken off my ring and Tom and I have agreed just to keep on living together and loving each other for the rest of our lives instead. I know it's unconventional and it's not at all what marriage is about, but now that being his purchased servant has been ruined for me, it just feels like the right thing to do.