marriage or civil partnership

i can’t actually remember the date we got civil partnered…

march.. april…..five maybe six years ago.
but i do have this photograph taken of us after the paperwork,that took all of fifteen minutes.

we’re certainly not gonna subject each other to the pressure of an *anniversary* anyway…
the frilly old word that it is.
avoiding the shrill bollox of christmas is hard enough.


funny story…one day i was passing by that convention centre in islington around the time gay civil partnerships became legal..
they were doing a number on it,so i sauntered in for a nosey… t’was hilarious…
all these chintzy business’s hopping on the gayer bandwagon…
holiday agents for honeymoons…gift tailors..
but the best was this catering company who were touting their finger food for the perfect wedding reception.
they had this big metal cone,and at the top of it was a hole that shat out hot melting chocolate…
you then jabbed a marshmallow on to the end of a poker, and smeared it into the steaming brown molten crap as it flooded down the sides of the metal cone…
how i laughed…..and in my mind it somehow crystalized the whole over egged sickly sweet idea of *the wedding* (gay or straight)


i could never call my partner *husband*… it seems so daft to me…it just doesn’t fly..
why would i want to imitate the template of the heterogeneric way?
that would be a missed opportunity to carve out a whole new road of our own .
equality is one thing…but passed a certain point, i’m more interested in the idea of new possibilities.
for that i need to be free of the fusty old church..i already know jesus fuckin loves me to bits …
and even if he didn’t,as long as me and my buggerluggs partner are happy in our home,we won’t need anyones blessing anyway.


i like the term civil partnership a whole lot more than marriage…
it’s new and’s free of cultural / religious baggage…
it’s wide open for us to carve out a bespoke road ahead for ourselves on our own terms.
so no honeymoons…no weddings…no anniversaries…no pressure…just good times…joy on toast.
i only wish for civil partnerships to be available to any combination of heterosexuals as well…now THAT would be equality.


i love my partner…but more importantly,i actually like him..
i have seen mainstream marriages where they proclaim their never ending love for each other,but they don’t actually *like* each other…
this horrifies me…the very acceptance of that..and there’s a lot of it about readers.
to *like* your partner is the thing… the word *love* is a bit tricky…and in the wrong hands it’s an abstraction used for all sorts of manipulation.
when i say i love my partner,it’s really just another word for empathy..
the deep empathy for him that has gradually grown in my mind over the quarter of a century we’ve been together.
so instead of proclaiming a profound empathy for my partner..i just say i love him…i know exactly what love is.


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8 Responses to marriage or civil partnership

  1. Karen says:

    Ah.. what a good read that was. (smiling) And thinking that we aren’t different at all. Gay or “str8”.. it’s all an eight ball sweetie pie. I think the same as you now, at the ripe age of 56. Like is a much preferred term in my mind. After all..after you’re both spent…… it’s so shitty to not have a damn thing to laugh about and the awkward silences suck. Marriage is something “they” made up, I’m sure of it. It does all the ugly things you suggest.. guilt over “made up days”.. like anniversaries and V-day.. sweetest day,, etc etc.. the drone is long. I say unto you, sweet MC…..Not to mention the MONEY! … I’m happy you found each other. It’s not what everyone gets in life. And for those that do.. love greatly.. kiss often.. and laugh everyday. But always give him a reason to “like” you. Thanks for this one….. you’re such a damn good writer-singer- poet……. you’re a joy to stalk . lol ❤


    • it’s a joy to be stalked by you karen…i’m a stalker too..
      and you’re right..”it’s not what everyone gets in life”…its good to be reminded…i’m never smug about it,and it’s nice that you reminded of it.


  2. Rab says:

    I think marriage should be available to everyone. That seems to me to be fair and equal. Then I’d recommend that everyone reject getting married for all the reasons you eloquently point out – the monstrosity of the ‘big day’, the tedious anniversaries, the bullying imperative of Valentine’s Day. All this strikes me as the commercialisation of people’s affections and it all starts with the stupid and competitive amounts of money spent on the wedding. Of course, there are modest relationships but in the background of the current debate about ‘gay marriage’ I can detect the excitement of retailers and the service industry looking access to that ‘pink pound’.

    I’ve always wonder to what extent the liberation of ‘alternative lifestyles’ has more to do with embracing gay consumers than gay sexuality. All that spending power and disposable income just waiting to be tapped into if only the market could persuade gays that it was safe to present themselves in public. That’s the thing about prejudice, it’s bad for business. So the message is, you don’t have to love ’em… you don’t have to like ’em, just smile and take their money! Not really liberation, merely toleration.

    I don’t like the bigots either who are trying to exclude gay couples from the institution of marriage because their arguments depend upon the assumption that a gay relationship doesn’t quite amount to a straight one. I’m surprised here by the reactions of people I once thought of as very liberal in their opinions who seem to have taken fright at the notion of a same sex couple at the alter. I’m genuinely confused about what it is they think is so bloody special about marriage that some people need to be excluded from it.

    I heard one old dog-collar describe the marriage of gay people as a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”. How can it be a universal human right if some people are denied it. A human right by definition is assumed to be enjoyed (or not) by everyone or else it isn’t a human right at all, it’s a privilege.

    For me this is what is at the core of this debate – the full appreciation of the humanity of gay people and not just the toleration of their money.


    • the pink pound?! hahahahahaha..there’s a myth right there…
      most of my honky tonk friends are stoney broke right now…having to watch their budgets like everyone else.
      i suppose gay culture created that myth for itself….a kind of fingers up to all the school bullies left stranded on the housing estates ,while they left for the bright lights of big cities…but it’s a big old lie.
      many honky tonks are hanging on by the skin of their teeth in these glittery cities…but they do have life,if not the money.
      it’s curious… ALL the interesting/interested folk i know right now(hetero or honky tonk) are fairly broke…they’re flying by the seat of their pants…living life outside comfort zones.
      some will become very rich one day because of that….but this is the lean period.

      as for*marriage*…i’m just disappointed how so many honky tonks have shown themselves up to be such assimilationists…
      what a shame that they’d obsess over a term that heteros could very well shake off for themselves as civil partnerships inevitably become omnipresent somewhere over the next fifty years.
      i thought honky tonks would be groovier than that…but no..many are just hankering to take it right up the aisle.

      but if some god botherer calls honky tonk marriage *grotesque*…well….that can only be a thrill and a giggle…i’m certainly not offended…
      it almost makes me want to book a church and reaffirm those wedding vows….only im a bit strapped for cash right now.

      i like the look of your book on northern ireland..and how media/entertainment contributed to the peace process…
      such a great take on things…it’s watertight and true…comedy for one thing, was never put to better use than in northern ireland…
      it helped folk take the piss out of it all…it showed up the absurdity of things….a mirror on itself.
      it’s the spoonful of sugar that helped the medicine go down.
      no wonder so many people in belfast/derry are so savvy and modern…they know what the uncool looks like,and so they walk in the polar opposite direction.


  3. Rab says:

    It’s the lean times that are always the most dangerous for anyone perceived as an ‘outsider’, when people are looking for someone to scapegoat. That’s why I don’t like the bigots in the church (or anywhere else). They make prejudice look respectable.

    The book is brilliant!!! The last word on Northern Ireland – except, of course, I’m writing another, which definitely will be the last word on Northern Ireland. Part of what the co-author and I were trying to understand was how NI could be going through such an extraordinary period of political transformation, yet the culture was getting more conservative. There are some truly dreadful films made at this time… have you seen The Most Fertile Man in Ireland? Actually when you look back, some of the most interesting culture and arts is produced in the teeth of the ‘troubles’… nothing like adversity (and as you pointed out, horniness is important also!) It’s like everyone gets lazy in the post-conflict period, and thinks they can just jump in the mainstream, no need to innovate or be creative. Just throw yourself in the flow.

    Anyway some interesting things at the moment: one in particular from the BBC, 6 Degrees, a sort of cross between Friends and The Young Ones (if I wanted to be unfair). But it does have the virtue of being one of the few things on screen that I’ve seen that acknowledges that people in Belfast (and beyond) have sex, and not just sex but sometimes sex with people of the same sex. Who’d have thought it? Unfortunately its about 20 years too late since we’ve already had Queer as Folk… but still. Anyway, we have got to get ahead of the curve over here. Somehow. Just once in awhile.


  4. your book makes me think how something like this at the height of the mess is the first nudges towards a peace process ..i’m a huge fan.


  5. Sabiscuit says:

    What an incredibly sweet post. I adore the intense sincerity and openness of feeling expressed. How many people are willing to say they don’t want “love” but would rather receive empathy and compassion from their partner? I was thinking this just yesterday, that there is too much of a sales push for love, romance and steaminess. There is not enough of that hard stuff that keeps people together – loyalty, integrity, respect and kindness.


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