Second Wedding, Different Stress

By the time you read this, I will be married.  At that time, I will no longer care about the frustrations of a second wedding because it’ll be the proverbial moot point.  For now, though …

I am taking a break from the incessant work to write this.  My feet are black (and, I fear, stained permanently) from landscaping the yard.  My back hurts from moving furniture (and landscaping the yard).  I am strung out about everything from getting my dress hemmed to whether we have planned enough hors d’oeuvres.  There are pansies soaking in my bathtub, and the guy at the dump knows me by name.

There were stars in my eyes for my first wedding, and as a result we went all out.  While there was no wedding planner or anything like that, we had personalized napkins.  Our invitations were gorgeous.  My dress cost over $2,000, and we agonized over the perfect bridesmaid dresses and what the groomsmen would wear.  The cake was pretty darn fancy.

I barely remember that day.

The wedding that is transpiring on July 20, 2013 is about as different as it’s possible to be.

We sent out Evites (I don’t think my mother will ever forgive me for the tackiness of that).  It’s going to be in my mother’s backyard.  My dress is not white, and it cost under $60.  My shoes are flip flops from Old Navy.  My older daughter is making cupcakes (which is not as terrible as it sounds … cooking is her favorite hobby, and cupcakes are her specialty).  The “theme”, if you will is Backyard Barbeque in July.

I am tremendously excited.

Why?

Because my fiance and I have spent most of the time since school got out landscaping my mother’s backyard (which is both big and beautiful).  We also rebricked a walkway, which I never thought I’d be able to do … it’s gorgeous, though.  My father is performing the ceremony (he’s a lawyer), and my kids have been involved with all aspects of planning and implementation.

The irony is, it’s not like we’re doing it this way to necessarily save money.  Backyard barbeques in July aren’t cheap, particularly when you consider that my fiance’s coterie is a conglomeration of beer snobs (I’m hoping there’s going to be Sam Adams Utopia, which is the best man’s specialty).  We have both a DJ and an acoustic guitarist.  It’s going to be a hell of a party.

And, really, isn’t that what it’s all about?

I am doing what makes me happy this time around.  Screw tradition.  Forget about people saying, “This doesn’t sound like much of a wedding to  me.”  Never mind not having a fancy-schmancy dress from David’s Bridal.

I have chosen a wonderful man to marry, and we have–together–chosen a wedding that suits us both.

That the stress is not any less than the more traditional debacle that was my first wedding surprises me a bit.  However, it’s stress that I have, at least pretty much, chosen myself, and that makes it better somehow.



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Openly Gay And Bi Men Are Happier, No One Surprised

I mean, one meaning for “gay” is “happy.” No but seriously.

Researchers at the University of Montreal found that, for gay and bisexual men, “coming out” has actual health benefits, reducing the stress and anxiety that the men in question experience.

You guys, I can totally see this. I was not exactly “closeted” in high school (I mean, you can’t really fool around with a guy at an afterschool club and be like: “What? Interested in guys? A slanderous lie!”). But I wasn’t always honest about it, either. Like, I may have slightly agreed to go to a dance with a female friend of mine who asked me out because I have crippling anxiety, a fear of confrontation, and she was a lovely person and so I wanted to be nice.

Like, remember when Bree Van De Kamp accepted a marriage proposal on Desperate Housewives because she did not want to be rude? Sometimes being polite has its drawbacks.

Anyway, high school was pleasant and so was college. I’m not one for going around and telling everyone that you’re gay or bisexual when you meet them (like you’re a registered sex-offender or something). I kind of expect for friends to figure out that I’m gay the same way that they figure out that I’m white—because it’s obvious. That can sometimes mean that a few people basically have to walk into your dorm room while your All-Hot-Dudes screensaver (I call mine “Mantage,” like a montage, but of men) is up. Or if they ask.

The only time that I will lie about my sexual orientation is if A) it’s an uncomfortable situation (like, one guy says: “gay guys make me uncomfortable,” and another guy says: “No, gay guys are awesome. Hey, Simon, you’re gay, right?” And that is a paraphrased quote from my life (the first guy is very nice and openly has a boyfriend now; don’t worry). Scenario B) is if my family is involved. Because no one does “embarrassing” like my family does.

I mean, now, if my mother meets one of my female friends, she just about always assumes that I am sleeping with the lady in question. This is something that my female friends and I can laugh off—it’s goofy, like getting drunk and making out at a party. I’m not worried about telling my elderly Republican relatives—my eighty-three-year-old Republican grandmother voted for Chaz Bono on Dancing With The Stars because she couldn’t stand the fuss that people made over him being transgender, she voted against Amendment One in our state (an anti-marriage-equality amendment here in North Carolina), and she “secretly” voted for Obama in this past election. It’s just that, literally, my mother would be embarrassing if she officially knew and I would prefer to avoid that. It’s not like I have “relationships” that I hide from her or anyone else. There’s never pressure to tell your family about hook-ups.

That said, I have watched Fashion Police with my mother on multiple occasions, so I would say that she at least suspects.

Am I happier than most people? I would say so. Content, at least. There are people who better exemplify this story. One friend of mine used certain recreational pharmaceuticals as an escape rather than simply for recreation for a while. He came out to his mother and she was not exactly accepting. After she did become supportive, he became much happier and less self-destructive.

So, no one is really surprised, at all, that stopping yourself from living a lie makes you happier. Freeing yourself from that might even let you be happier than people who have never lived a lie. What do you think?



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College is Becoming Cooler

Colleges are finally taking note and taking care of their students. Several studies have been done about the mindset of college students and how stress impacts the body. Think back to when you were in college—when were the most stressful times for you? No, not waiting the three minutes for your pregnancy test to register a “negative” result, or stepping on the scale freshman year—its finals week!

Students hunker down in libraries and pull all-nighters studying for the ever-looming “finals.” The stress is immense. There are always stories of binge drinking, Adderall-popping, and stress eating around these times. Colleges have now started implementing things that will help mentally relax students.

Cornell University installed grass. Doesn’t sound very impressive except they didn’t install it on the quad—they put it in two libraries. Gilad Meron is a recent graduate of Cornell and the “indoor lawn” is his idea. It’s based off the Attention Restoration Theory, “… which says that direct exposure to nature, viewing nature through windows, and even viewing images of nature are restorative.” That’s pretty cool … but it’s nothing compared to Occidental College.

Occidental College designates a room during finals week and fills it with puppies. From 6 pm to 8 pm, stressed out students can take a break and roll around a room filled with little puppies. If that’s not your cup of tea (HOW DARE YOU!) than you can head over and get a massage from 7 pm to 11 pm.

Puppies, grass, massages? Why weren’t these implemented when I was in college? I think it’s a good idea that the puppy time is limited otherwise I think we’d see a higher flunk out rate. I know I’d spend all my time in a puppy-filled room instead of in Psych.



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Big Surprise: Sexual Harassment Leads to Health Woes

Cartoon of Man Slapped After Sexually Abusing a Woman

I suppose we owe a debt of gratitude to Herman Cain, in some strange way.  The seriousness of sexual harassment has come once more into the forefront, and that means that conversations are happening.

Important ones.

I realize that sometimes the line gets blurred, that people take things the wrong way, and so on … but the fact remains that sexual harassment is a problem.  A big one.

And Fox News recently ran a piece pointing out that there are medical repercussions of suffering sexual harassment.

Serious ones.

And the truth of the matter is, virtually all of these areas of concern are made …

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