Cruising New York Magazine’sWedding Convention
With spring right around the corner and Facebook getting lit up with little, pink marriage equality icons—it’s clear that ~true love~ is in the air. So when I found out that this “boring” and “irrelevant” little rag called New York was throwing a big, fancy wedding convention, where hundreds of gay and straight couples stroll around planning their rosy, monogamous futures together—I decided to seize the opportunity. I attended the event last Thursday at the Metropolitan Pavilion to find out two specific things:
A) Why do people want to get married so fucking bad anyway?
And (more importantly),
B) How easy would it be to tempt someone to break those stupid vows?
Porn and Free Sashimi and My Wedding in Las Vegas
First we got our wedding out of the way. The AVN convention was in town and we were on the lookout for porn stars. We’d checked into the hotel at noon, eaten the sorry brunch, and now we took a cab to the Las Vegas Weddings Bureau. It was 30 minutes from the hotel. We each filled out a one-sided form. A sign above the forms said they would not marry people who were “overly intoxicated.” Three clerks were operating at five windows, and two other couples were getting married. We went to the open window and showed our IDs.
“Your name is Clancy W. William Martin?” the woman behind the counter said.
“It’s William,” Clancy said, and I added, “They made a mistake on the ID.”
“Do you have another form of ID?”
“My name is Clancy W. William Martin,” Clancy said.
The woman rolled her eyes and typed it in. She read my form. “Your father’s legal name is Mike?” she asked.
I shrugged and nodded.
I shook my head. She typed.
“Have you been married before?” she asked, and I told her no.
“Then where’s Barrodale come from?”
“It was my mother’s first husband. She and my father weren’t married.”
She typed it in and gave us our license. We’d already been married in India, in a ceremony that I thought was beautiful and perfect for me, because it was simple. We didn’t have vows or any of that nonsense. But to make the wedding legal, we needed to go through this process, so we went to the chapel of the third tout to approach us on the street outside the Weddings Bureau. He offered us a $60 package that included a limo ride back to the hotel. That cut $30 off the price. “Sold,” Clancy said.
The chapel was small and grimy. A Hispanic couple was being married before us. The man used a walker and the woman wore a traditional white wedding dress. They had about 30 guests. One of them turned to us and said, “They wanted to elope, but we found out about it. We just surprised them.”
We said those traditional vows and went back to the casino. By this time, Las Vegas was having an effect on me. I’m a grifter by nature, and I was going comp crazy. When I was younger this part of myself was expressed through stealing. I went to school at Barnard, where I never paid for a single course book or meal. Once, when my luck started to run out, I was leaving Whole Foods with food piled in my arms above my head (I used “The Purloined Letter” method) when the siren went off. I stopped, resigned to the inevitable, and turned to face the cashier. Bored, she waved me through, saying, “It always does that.”
So, what I mean is that on the day of our so-called wedding—because it was not our wedding, it was the formalities—I was dedicated to securing comps. We intend to have a reception for friends in about a year, when I am out of grad school and we live in one place, but I felt we’d had two beautiful weddings—one in a thousand-year-old Shiva temple on the Ganges and one in the Himalayas—and so it seemed to me like it was comp time. While we waited for the couple before us to complete their wedding, I emailed press departments at the casinos, introduced myself as a VICE writer, and asked for free things.
Clancy asked, “Roupus, what are you doing?”
He was resigned.
It was 4 PM when we got back to the hotel. Two heavily made-up blonds with tight ponytails and bodies were standing in the valet line. I nudged Clancy and whispered, “Porn stars.” At 5 PM, I got an email from the press director at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. She offered the buffet and drinks at their bar, the Chandelier. I had insanely told her we were in town getting married, hoping for sympathy.