Milestones

Sep. 30th, 2013 05:07 pm
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[personal profile] liv
One of the earliest posts I wrote when I joined LJ in 2003 was an account of [personal profile] hatam_soferet's wedding. And it seems like it's one of the things I do with this journal, I write about weddings in my social circle. There's been a good number this past decade, which is perhaps not surprising as I was 24 at the start of it, that's the most popular time of life for weddings.

Anyway on Saturday I was present at the wedding of [personal profile] ewt and [personal profile] hairyears. [personal profile] hairyears mentioned to me and [personal profile] jack that attending our wedding was part of what convinced him that a wedding can be personal and meaningful to the couple and doesn't have to be awful. And this wedding most certainly was personalized.

It was a church wedding, which did all the things well that Anglican weddings do, a beautiful old stone building, resonant words, and music from the best of the English sacred musical tradition. As a church wedding, it was informed throughout by [personal profile] ewt's deep Christian commitment and faith. For one thing this is the stuff she actually believes in, it wasn't just a nice olde worlde ritual, and for another, the church is actually her local community church that she attends regularly and is deeply involved in the community, so the complete opposite of just a charming backdrop for the photos. The ceremonial duties were shared by the priest whose church it is and a different priest who is a very close friend of the bride's. At the same time, everything about the ritual was carefully and tactfully presented in a way that included her atheist groom. A wedding where only one half of the couple is religious can leave the other as just an afterthought, but this was as inclusive as possible without watering down the Christian elements. A minor benefit of this carefully constructed liturgy was that I, as a Jewish guest, felt far more comfortable than I usually do at Christian weddings.

Also, [personal profile] ewt is a professional musician and it really showed. One of the amazing things about English churches is that you often find amateur choirs with no formal musical training making beautiful music with complex harmonies. And this church had one of those, yes, but it was augmented by [personal profile] ewt's own more specialist choir, and much of the music was in the West Gallery style they are expert in. Also some music played by [personal profile] ewt's parents and an organ piece by our own wonderful [livejournal.com profile] deborah_c; I felt strangely proud to share a musician with a wedding that set such very high musical standards. There was an anthem composed specially for the wedding with some text from the Song of Songs, which was sublime.

The invitation had specified waistcoats, and waistcoats, well. I don't wear them, habitually, but I've been thinking for a while that I would probably look good in them. And when I mentioned that I was thinking of acquiring some waistcoats for the wedding just about everybody who's ever fancied me commented with some variant of, mm, sexy! So I bought a bunch of waistcoats from eBay, mostly ex-hire stock from wedding companies. It turns out that the waistcoats sold for men are often much nicer and certainly much shinier than those sold for women. So I'm all like, I don't care about gender conventions, I'll get a male-coded waistcoat all shiny and purple and dapper. But in practice it turns out I don't have the physical body to really get away with a waistcoat cut for the shape that clothes marketers assume men to have.

So I had a crisis of gender expression at IRC and they helped me to put together an outfit based on the one waistcoat I'd bought that fits over breasts and hips. Which is a lovely garment but not at all the kind of thing I normally wear, so it doesn't match most of my other clothes. So all the helpful #dreamwidth people sorted me out with a ruffled shirt, a blue-grey skirt, and a hat which made me feel like I was covering my head for shabbat without being in your face JEWISH at a church wedding, and which picks up some of the colours of the waistcoat. And designed me a hairstyle which looked formal but is within my capability to achieve on my own, and [personal profile] kaberett very brilliantly pointed out that the perfect finishing touch would be my Lioness pendant, which is grey-green labradorite with secret hidden purple. So I think that worked, that's a sartorial direction that would bear further experiments, slightly more masculine than I usually go for without looking like drag.

I was in fact slightly disappointed to find how few other people had paid attention to the dress suggestion (to be fair, it wasn't actually a dress code). I think I was the only woman at the wedding wearing a waistcoat and there weren't even that many waistcoated men. But at least [personal profile] jack had the excuse to wear the waistcoat from his wedding outfit, so that was pleasing.

Also, never mind what they were wearing, the wedding was a great opportunity to see lots and lots of people I like, as weddings are. The Enleytonment people, of course, including [personal profile] khalinche whom I hadn't seen in way too long. But also [personal profile] ewt knows loads of other people I like from other social circles, some fandom people and some Cambridge people and the [personal profile] karen2205, whom it was a particularly pleasant surprise to see. And [personal profile] alextiefling and [personal profile] nanaya were there and I finally got to meet their excellent offspring [twitter.com profile] TestSubjectM. So after the very lovely service there was a delightful afternoon of eating lots and lots of food and chatting to a whole bunch of fun and interesting people, so that was about the perfect occasion.

One thing about this wedding is that [personal profile] ewt needs to be married in order to pursue her chosen career (which I find a bit horrifying, honestly, I'm not convinced that employers should get that level of say in people's personal lives), whereas [personal profile] hairyears held strong views against marriage and particularly religious marriage. So for a long time it had seemed like their otherwise wonderful relationship was stuck in an unfixable impasse. I am full of admiration for [personal profile] hairyears for being willing to compromise on this really big deal thing. That's a huge sacrifice to make, even for someone you love very much. I do hope that being married will continue to make the two of them as happy as they visibly were on Saturday!

As it happens, [livejournal.com profile] atreic and [livejournal.com profile] emperor were also celebrating a life transition on Saturday: they were holding a housewarming party for a house that they have actually bought. So we went straight from the wedding to help them celebrate this momentous occasion. They have acquired a most excellent house, which was duly admired, and they have a really excellent crowd of friends who showed up to help them celebrate this. I think I am maybe getting too old for this continuous twelve-hour long party thing (that's a bit of an exaggeration as there was a break in the middle while [personal profile] jack drove up the M11 from the wedding to the housewarming). But by the time it got to 2 am I was attempting to have a big philosophical debate about machine learning with [personal profile] ptc24 and [livejournal.com profile] mister_jack and [livejournal.com profile] fanf at a point in the evening where none of us were really forming coherent sentences.

On Sunday I woke up some time in the afternoon, and groggily reached towards [personal profile] jack. By the time I'd completed the slow thought process of, oh, he's not there... I suppose he must have got up already then... [personal profile] jack had reappeared in the doorway with a big cup of hot, delicious tea. Being guests at someone else's wedding had already reminded me how much I like my husband and how glad I am we got married, but bringing me tea like that was a whole other level of romantic.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-09-30 05:03 pm (UTC)
emperor: (Default)
From: [personal profile] emperor
I appreciate you may not be able to say, but what kind of job /requires/ you to be married???

(no subject)

Date: 2013-09-30 06:30 pm (UTC)
lethargic_man: (reflect)
From: [personal profile] lethargic_man
What I was going to say before I saw you'd already said it.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-09-30 09:08 pm (UTC)
crystalpyramid: crystal pyramid suspended in dimensional abnormality (Default)
From: [personal profile] crystalpyramid
I'm curious about this as well. But I'm assuming it's something a bit stronger than "she plans to have children and her career requires her to be married before she can respectably do that", which is more of my own situation.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-01 10:58 am (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
I'd guess "requires marriage" means "rather than 'shacking up'" not "rather than single" which would be very odd...

But still, I find it odd to contemplate a situation where my employer would say things like "your life outside of work is insufficiently conventional, stop it". None of their beeswax! Besides "shacking up" and "having children without bothering to get married" are really quite usual things these days.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-01 11:21 am (UTC)
crystalpyramid: crystal pyramid suspended in dimensional abnormality (Default)
From: [personal profile] crystalpyramid

It's interesting — I get the impression from my DW friendslist that this is much more socially acceptable in the UK than the US. Of course, I'm a high school teacher in a Catholic school...

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-02 09:17 pm (UTC)
crystalpyramid: crystal pyramid suspended in dimensional abnormality (Default)
From: [personal profile] crystalpyramid
Sure it's legal - it says in my contract that I can be dismissed for not upholding the school's values. Also possibly without cause — schools like to reserve the right to make messy situations go away without having a battle. It was useful a couple years ago when a colleague got dismissed for inappropriate behavior towards a student.

And people who have relationships that aren't formalized in marriage aren't exactly a protected minority in the US. Is it different in the UK?

My school is kind — I might not lose my job. But the narrative of having a kid out of wedlock while teaching at a Catholic school... is not a narrative I want to have to deal with, any more than the school would want to have to deal with it. It would be incredibly socially awkward.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-02 11:03 pm (UTC)
crystalpyramid: crystal pyramid suspended in dimensional abnormality (Default)
From: [personal profile] crystalpyramid
Interesting. I've definitely heard about people having to carefully not ask prying questions about e.g. sexual orientation in interviews here, but I think that's usually due to institution-level nondiscrimination policies or city/state law, not federal. And while I think they're maybe not supposed to ask about marital status too (for the same reasons), I know it does happen — I hear complaints about this in the other direction from women being discriminated against in the academic job market for having something going on besides careers. Mostly in the past, or at least, more egregiously in the past, but it still happens.

I also know that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (who I don't work for) explicitly asked in their application paperwork if I was "married in the eyes of the church", which seems like the kind of thing a law would prohibit, if there was a law. Not being married at all, I figured I was okay — I think they prefer singles shacking up to divorcees. Or at least, that's the implication of the question.

The other piece that makes me think there's a difference is that I really only know one person in my social circle who's had a kid out of wedlock. And it was a big deal for her — she dropped out of law school and life was a huge struggle. (Some mental health issues didn't help.) All of my real peers who are having kids are getting married first. My former roommate's little sister is pregnant, but I get the impression that the family is freaking out substantially. The first person I encountered who spoke casually about having a kid with an unmarried partner was an expatriate on DW living in the UK.

So yeah... this side of the pond, more religiously uptight since 1776? Or something.
lethargic_man: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lethargic_man
But in practice it turns out I don't have the physical body to really get away with a waistcoat cut for the shape that clothes marketers assume men to have.

Hah; I could have told you that. I remember many years ago Assael the then Masorti shaliach turned up to the Marom ball wearing what screamed out to me was a women's waistcoat. I have no idea whether he or anyone else there was aware of this, but I certainly noticed it.

Incidentally, it's just struck me that you won't be aware that I realised a few years ago that the formal gold, black and white waistcoat you got me for my birthday a decade ago, which until then I had only worn on the rare occasions I'm wearing a DJ, would also do nicely for a Yom Kippur variant on my normal Shabbos waistcoat-and-bowtie attire, so I've been wearing it on YK ever since. (I also this last year spotted a white bowtie in a charity shop, and wore that this year as more YK-appropriate than a black one.)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-09-30 10:01 pm (UTC)
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
From: [personal profile] karen2205
Lovely to see you too:) though not sure why my presence would have been a surprise. I was responsible for [personal profile] ewt and [personal profile] hairyears meeting in the first place!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-01 04:26 pm (UTC)
rysmiel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rysmiel
Anyway on Saturday I was present at the wedding of [personal profile] ewt and [personal profile] hairyears. [personal profile] hairyears mentioned to me and [personal profile] jack that attending our wedding was part of what convinced him that a wedding can be personal and meaningful to the couple and doesn't have to be awful.

Yay being a transitive good influence. *hug*

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-02 06:00 pm (UTC)
sunflowerinrain: Singing at the National Railway Museum (Default)
From: [personal profile] sunflowerinrain
Happy sigh :)

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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