Let Them Eat Cake

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Let Them Eat Cake

There’s a look I get when I tell friends that my new show is about gay marriage. It’s a lot like the look I think I’d get if I said “I heart Sarah Palin, and oh, by the way, where’s Obama’s birth certificate?” It’s the look that says, "What happened? You were one of us! You were the poster child for the cultural wars, or at least one of them along with Robert Mapplethorpe’s asshole! How could you do this to us?"

“Us” is the group of gays, queers, inverts, perverts, extroverts, and questioning who thought that there were some perks about being a ‘mo: you couldn’t be in the army, you couldn’t have children and you couldn’t get married. Okay, there’s a downside to the adventure, but these are serious perks.

The later two activities seemed to be, as a child of a loveless marriage who grew up surrounded by the products of other loveless marriages, well, something to be avoided, death by casserole. Playing house was a staple activity, but I was half hearted; I didn't want to be the mom or the dad or the kids, I was always the dog. This should have told me something:

I'm at my best on all fours.

But then something happened. Someone SAID I couldn’t get married. I mean it’s one thing to take a pass yourself, but having 31 states saying I couldn’t get married, even though I already couldn’t get married, and finding out that the rules about double negatives don’t apply to legalese, well. The bridezilla in me rose like a tattooed riot grrrl shaking her three chords at the outrage.

First there was 2004. The re-election of George W. Bush, assuming you think he was elected in the first place. Referendums on gay marriage pass in several states, including the state I live in, Michigan. Then various lefty bloggers started blaming the “selfish gays” for Bush’s 2nd term. Okay, there’s no gay marriage in Michigan to take away but there were domestic partnership benefits which were part of the reason I was willing to live in the same area code as Jeff Daniels. So those went away.

I would have gone to a demonstration, if there had been one.

Fast forward to November 2008. It’s the National Day of Protest following the passage of more anti-gay initiatives, and I’m in Chicago. By this time my position on gay marriage has shifted. It’s boiled down to this: I think we should have it, it's a basic civil right and you can put a period at the end of the sentence. Nothing left to say. It’s not the fight I would have picked, but it’s where we are. It’s what’s for dinner.

Whether my position’s shifted because I’m getting older and boring or details like the right to see your partner in the hospital are less abstract or because I’m just a brat and I want to have the right to get married if for no other reason than to see Rush Limbaugh’s head explode, the jury is out.

But at the same time I haven't been able to do it myself, get married. It wouldn't count, but it would count enough so that neither of us really want to go through the motions. We got close. We are really close to Canada. But we couldn't agree on what to wear. Basically, I assumed that I would wear something fabulous, legendary, and not white and she would wear a nice suit. She's butch after all. But she refused... she said she wouldn't wear a suit, it wouldn't be comfortable, because she was a... woman.

What a way to find out!

I came to this argument as someone who's in a long term monogamous relationship. Fifteen years. We’re monogamous not because we think it’s a better way to be, or the most mature form of commitment but because we just suck at erotic multitasking. My experiments in polyamory led me to conclude that in every lesbian threeway, someone cries. A lot. Or maybe we’re just lazy. We are monogamous, yet totally opposed to institutional monogamy. And we are somewhat envious of the way some gay men have managed to have create other ways of being in relationships.

Our straight feminist therapist tells us, “You’ve been together a long time, you’re monogamous, face it, you’re married. You should get married.” So we fire her because although I want the right to get married, I don’t want anyone telling me I should get married.

Comments [12]

Erin Blackwell's picture

true minds

holly hughes, i'm just waking up on the West Coast — we're always just waking up on the West Coast — but thank you for hyperlinking Augusto Boal and Tribe 8 in the same sentence.

ha hughes's picture

jeff daniels

Hi everyone... Jeff Daniels does in fact run a theatre in Chelsea Mi, a few miles away from Ann Arbor.    I'm not thrilled at the work he does there, it's great that there's any theatre going on in five hour radius, but he does schlock, it's straight, it's white...  so I think it's a regional joke, shouldn't be in there.   Love to hear what else you thought on the rest of it.

SMBrown's picture

Thanks for satisfying our

Thanks for satisfying our need to know on Daniels, Holly.  Too bad he's doing schlock--has anyone approached him about doing something a bit more relevant?  

I too am in Camp Ambivalence when it comes to gay marriage--and I live in a state where I could actually marry, so it's not just theoretical ambivalence.  

Julia Watson's picture

Holly Hughes, I think I heart

Holly Hughes, I think I heart you.

ha hughes's picture


i think i heart you back!

Conlite's picture

Love this blog! Let us eat

Love this blog!

Let us eat cake - and have it too!

Lake's picture


'It’s not the fight I would have picked, but it’s where we are. It’s what’s for dinner.'


So true!


SMBrown's picture

We are monogamous, yet

We are monogamous, yet totally opposed to institutional monogamy.

Yes!  Awesome to hear from Holly, and awesome to hear she'll be back in the theatre!  And that there will be cupcakes! 

p.s. did I miss the memo on Jeff Daniels?

minniesota's picture

Jeff D. Michigan

Jeff Daniels lives in Chelsea, Michigan, west of Ann Arbor, MI, and is founder of the Purple Rose Theatre company there.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Robin Rigby's picture

But why is it significant

But why is it significant that Holly shares an area code with him?  What exactly has he done of not done that makes him important in this context? 

SMBrown's picture

Yeah, it sounds like she's

Yeah, it sounds like she's not that thrilled to share an area code with him, and I don't know why.  I mean he's done some crap work, but he's also done some great work, so... Or was it a comment on his politics, which I know nothing about?  Inquiring minds want to know....

minniesota's picture

Don't know

I don't know anything of Jeff Daniel's politics, just that he seems to be a nice guy. Maybe she meant Ted Nugent, but I think he moved from Michigan to Texas now.

EDIT: Oh, I didn't see that Holly had responded above.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.