05 July 2008

and justice for all... (a love story)

the recent ruling by the california supreme court allowing same-sex couples to marry was an incredibly important victory for equal rights, but m21 thought the ruling probably wouldn't have a direct impact on his life or on the lives of those close to him. maison21 ain't the marryin' kind, and he assumed that his friends in committed relationships weren't in any rush to change the status quo, either.

turns out m21 couldn't have been more wrong, and he couldn't be more thrilled or touched about it. you see, m21 recently received an email from two of his oldest friends announcing their recent surprise nuptials. seems that on the morning of their 22nd anniversary, m21's old friend, tony, proposed to m21's even older friend, paul, (older as in length of relationship, not as in age). within hours of tony's proposal, the two were at city hall tying the knot- after 22 years, they are still committed, and still in love, and now it's legal too! maison21 couldn't be happier for the two of them, as they are as much a part m21's family as his actual blood relatives. and m21 is only a little bit miffed that he wasn't invited to the whirlwind ceremony. after knowing those two longer than some of you have been alive, you'd think m21 would've been asked to be best man, or maid of honor, or whatever- i mean after all, m21 was there the night it all began...

here's back story of maison21's relationship with the newlyweds:

m21 met half of the happy couple- his oldest friend in the whole wide world, paul- on the first day of the 3rd grade- many, many, many, years ago. our teacher, mrs. radebaugh, made the mistake of seating the two of us next to each other, and we immediately hit it off, bonding over typical school boy stuff- you know, things like sewing clothes for g.i. joe, and decorating his "command headquarters" with fresh flowers and a custom waterbed (made of lincoln logs and a water-filled ziploc baggie). didn't all 3rd grade boys enjoy that kind of thing?

here's m21 and his buddy paul, a few years later, at our junior high graduation dance- held in a for real disco- we thought we were so sophisticated...
cut to about 10 years after the above photo- a young m21 was showing his visiting san diego friend, paul, a drunken good time at a san francisco nightclub and over a soundtrack of banarama and the pet shop boys, paul met tony's eye. the rest is history- soon after, a simple vacation fling turned serious, and while paul gained a long-distance boyfriend, m21 gained a new bestest buddy.

when tony decided to move to san diego a few years later to live with paul and start their life together, it coincided with m21's own move to los angeles, so he and tony rented a u-haul together for the move down- a u-haul which they packed up, and then proceeded to park it for a week, while having the longest (and funnest) farewell party in history! ah, youth... (we think the below picture is from our week long farewell tour- the memories are very blurry. m21 is on the far right with the totally natural blond hair, and tony is on the far left, in the turtleneck. we hate him, btw- apart from a some gray hair, the eternally youthful tony looks almost exactly the same today, whereas m21 looks, well, less blond, amongst other changes).
in the two decades since, paul and tony have built a beautiful life together in san diego- tony is now dr. tony (a for reals MD, not a fake-ass PHD or anything, like dr. phil), and paul owns a successful business. m21 counts himself fortunate to still be included in their lives, and is looking forward to being included for the next twenty-two years, and hopefully, the next twenty-two after that, if our hearts and livers hold out long enough...

congratulations, kids! i love you both, and feel truly fortunate to have you in my life.

and congratulations to the supreme court of california, for ending a discriminatory and prejudicial practice, and recognizing that ALL couples are equal under the law.

score one for equality and true love.

36 comments:

MaryBeth said...

What a wonderful thing to have such long lasting friends and friendships. I am so glad that your pals were able to legalize their love for each other. Hooray for a government that finally got out of peoples way long enough to let them live a happy life of their own choosing.
By the way, you look soooo cute at the prom.

Anonymous said...

A great post M21....congrats to your dear friends. As a mother of a loving, successful and beautiful daughter who one day may bring home someone elses lovely daughter, I was overjoyed and proud to be a Californian. Ginny

Anonymous said...

This post makes me so sad. Marriage is a sacrament bestowed on a man and a woman. I wish your friends nothing but the best but I just don't agree with the new Calif. law.

maison21 said...

thanks, marybeth!

maison21 said...

anon, your comment makes me sad- your wishing my friends "nothing but the best", yet wanting to deny them the same civil rights freely available to you, is anything but wishing someone the best.

i have no problem if your church doesn't wish extend the sacrament of marriage to a same sex couple- it's called "freedom of religion" and it's one of the things that makes this country great.

but when your religious beliefs impinge upon the civil rights of others, that, dear anon, goes against everything this country was founded upon, and is just plain wrong.

maison21 said...

yay, ginny! i'm so happy there are moms like you out there!

Leah said...

Congrats to Paul and Tony -- and to you, M21, for having such wonderful friends in your life!

I always tell my kids that it's not important who they love, only *that* they love.

Woo hoo for California for finally recognizing this!

Anonymous said...

Maison 21, I shall think about what you have said. Thanks for the reply.

maison21 said...

yay, leah! would that all parents encouraged their children in such a way- because, it may be cliche, but it's true: you can't take it with you. at the end of our lives, it's the love and relationships you have that you *can* take with you- the rest is meaningless.

maison21 said...

anon- thank *you*, for keeping an open mind...

Cote de Texas said...

Anon - you are so rude. Sorry, but this is Maison21's home here - he didn't invite you - you came, hiding your identity, and left your judgemental bigotry here just to make Tony and Paul feel your hatred on what should be a great experience - reading the comments of well wishers. It just floors me how little manners you have. Your arrogance is sickening.

Sorry Maison - what a crock. BUT enough of rude people.

I loved this story!!! I especially liked the part about the gi joe clothes and decorating their home. We would have had such great times as kids together! Aw!! This is the sweetest story ever - Paul and Tony must be just beaming reading this tribute!!!! What a great friend you are. And - I love the
Duran Duran look!!


Joni

Anonymous said...

Cote, this is his home and we were all invited when he posted a public blog. He and I have each had our say without hatred or bitterness and I have agreed to think about his point of view. What is your problem?

maison21 said...

awww joni, thanks for your spirited defense!

you know, i have a meeting with a contractor this week that i think might be a little unpleasant- i don't suppose you would be free to come with me? pleeze? ;-)

you are so right, it would have been nice if it was all well-wishers leaving comments. it's too ironic- i can't tell you the number of weddings i've attended in my life when i['ve thought privately "those two should NOT be getting married- it just ain't right"! but of course, i'd never dream of saying it aloud to them or their families! what gives me the right?

and we probably would have had great times as kids decorating g.i. joe's home. i imagine we'd fight like cat and dogs over our choices for his decor, and then make up by realizing that the only solution would be to add-on to his house, so we could use ALL of our great ideas! (personally, i think debate over decor is always great fun, anyway!)

thanks again, and for your well wishes too-

c.

maison21 said...

anon- you *are* welcome in my "home". if i thought your comment was truly offensive, i wouldn't have published it. i really think it *does* help to talk about this kind of stuff, and if parties can't ever see eye-to-eye, at least we can agree to disagree.

that said, your comment is just as public as my post, and i think joni can respond how she sees fit. just as i think freedom of religion is important, so is freedom of speech, so i believe we can all have our say- you know as they say on a "cote" somewhere- "vive le difference!".

so thanks again to both joni and anon (and everyone else) for visiting!

halcyon said...

I started to leave a post here, but as my mom always taught me, and I'd like to share: There IS such a thing as an UNEXPRESSED thought.

Thanks M21 for the great blog and posts.

Anonymous said...

Maison21, Thank you for not slamming the door in my face. You have class! I really was not trying to offend anyone and I am glad you realized that. I guess I was thinking out loud and should not have posted. I am still considering everything you said , my mind is open.

maison21 said...

halcyon, your mother sounds very wise. the "unexpressed thought" is a lesson i need to remember more often for myself- i can be known for the occasional outbreak of "foot in mouth disease".

maison21 said...

anon- i certainly can't ask for anything more than thinking about an issue and keeping an open mind!

Things That Inspire said...

Congrats to Tony and Paul! M21, you are SO cute. You really do look like your inspiration man, but cuter...who is that again?

She Who Must Be Obeyed said...

I once made a comment which was misinterpreted by another blogger (one whose blog I truly admire). I still feel like the new kid who screwed up, and only rarely do I contribute. Your response, M21, was truly gracious. I agree with Anon - you have class, and lots of it. Mona and Richard are lucky to have you as their person and Tony and Paul to have you as their friend.

Barbara said...

I am such a fan,live in Dallas,but have a place in PD,so really appreciate your sug wonderful places to shop in PS. The pictures are so cute,and I love your smile.We are all so lucky to have old/older friends with fun history!I just had to write to tell you how much I enjoy you and your interesting blog! Thanks always for sharing!

Pigtown-Design said...

Lovely post, M21! Your long friendship with these two really shines through. They should be honoured by this tribute to their love for each other and your love for them.

maison21 said...

thanks, inspire! i was kinda cute back in the day (wish i had realized it more then- i would have worked it more!). adam ant was my big crush from high school, and my blog is neamed after one of his hits: "desperate but not serious".

swmbo- you've made me blush- i wasn't that gracious, but i do believe in being somewhat civil when discussing issues. i think just blindly yelling at one another only makes things worse (though i've done my share of that at times, as well, sometimes it's pretty easy to get heated up).

and you have it backwards- it's *me* who is lucky to have little furry people like mona and richard, and big real people like paul and tony in my life. not to get all maudlin, but as i said earlier to leah, at the end of the day it's the relationships we have that make life meaningful- all the other stuff, is, well, just stuff.

She Who Must Be Obeyed said...

Add "wise" to "gracious". Enough said.

maison21 said...

meg- i honestly never thought of the whole gay marriage thing, except in the abstract- you know just as a wrong that should be righted- so i was shocked at how moved i was to find out about paul and tony's marriage. i guess i knew them for so long, i already thought of them as married in my head...

barbara- thank so much for your kind words and i'm glad you enjoyed the ps tips! isn't it great to have old friends? the shared history is so fun!

marthalena said...

I'm very proud to be a Californian right now.

And I will be very sure to drag my heterosexual butt to the voting booth if they attempt a ballot measure to overturn this human rights victory.

maison21 said...

marthalena- i'm proud too- california has a reputation for being a front runner on issues, so i'm glad we're in the fore on this one too. it actually boggles my mind that it IS an issue, and i'm hoping by november, others will feel the same- as in "why'd we ever gt so worked up about two adults wanting to get married? let and let live".

Cote de Texas said...

Hi- thanks for being so sweet! I won't apologize though because my thoughts were with your friends who really didn't deserve to have their parade rained on, imo.

And we can still argue about decor today as grown ups - like THAT chandelier with the onion tops!!! Have you gone mad????? hahahahah!!!! That belongs in a bad dictator's palace somewhere.

maison21 said...

joni- you have absolutely no need to apologize for anything! no one deserves to have what should be a joyous celebration, disparaged in any way.

and yes, that's what the chandelier post was about- i fear i HAVE gone mad- that chandelier is SOOO bad dictator (good call), yet for some reason, i'm fascinated by it. it's like a really bad car wreck on the side of the road- you don't want to look, because you know it will make you queasy, but somehow you can't stop yourself, and you stare anyway...

Pigtown-Design said...

isn't there a book called dictator decor? i think either style court or peak of chic did a post about it.

tula said...

i love this story so much. thank you for sharing it and congratulations to tony and paul!!!

katiedid said...

Hooray! I have a few frineds too that are tying the knot, and their happiness just gets me all choked up Hallmark card style. I wish all good things for your buddies...you are BOTH very cute! I am sure I would have had a crush.

Hey....I kinda like that chandelier!

mrlfvl said...

LOVE this post! M21..you are such a wonderfully interesting person and I hope I am fortunate enough to meet you in person some day...I always get emotional when I hear a good love story, and this one ranks towards the top of the list...and to Joni...check out the book "Dictator Style"...I agree that the chandelier is Dictato-fabulous...but maybe not fabulous in any other way...

Suzy said...

I couldn't agree with you more M21 - I do wish your friends the best, and I think its amazing that California has finally allowed ALL couples to be legally married. Let's hope its a start that the other 49 states will follow, and be an example to the rest of the world.

Anonymous said...

You looked like a gay Danny Partridge.

Topsy Turvy said...

Christian - I think your friends (and your critters) are very lucky. You are SO cute and quite gracious!

-Lana