In April 2017, I attempted to record a cover of my second favorite Magnetic Fields song, “The Book of Love.” I’ve always loved singing “I Don’t Want to Get Over You” because it feels exactly like a song I would write (or try desperately in vain to write.) “The Book of Love” is lyrically, thornier. And it was especially thorny in 2017. Stacy and I were on the precipice of deciding if we were going to try to start a family together. It was a decision that forced us to consider other ones, like, in which country would we raise a baby? And the answer to that question forced us to contemplate our status as a couple.
I’ve always had a complicated relationship with the institution of marriage. If we didn’t live in a world that privileged married people over the unmarried (legally and culturally), I would have never married Stacy. Our unmarried status was a quiet protest and deciding to become legally bound was an unsentimental decision that helped us make a home and family together in Canada.
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It was four years later, after Sid was born, that we began outing ourselves as “wives” in public and disclosing our relationship status as “married” more frequently. This had everything to do with Sid, and ensuring that those around us understood (and respected) our family structure. It was a way of saying, “no, we are not sisters, friends, cousins, the nanny, or sister-in-laws.” It was a way of saying, “we are both his mother.” I fucking hate the truth of it, how much weight that ridiculous word (wife) carries in our lame, wedding/marriage-loving society. I never cared what people thought before having a child so why do I care so much about it now? I suppose I never want Sid to encounter doubt or confusion about what other people think about us. Just another reason to hate marriage (and heteronormative culture), if you ask me!
I never wanted to get married but I do love weddings. I am often undone by emotional strangers. I also like wine and dancing. Weddings remind me of funerals, how if we’re lucky we will all find someone who will mourn important losses with us. Who we may ourselves have to mourn, and of course, who might have to one day mourn us.
If there is a song that can cover all of that, then this is it.
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