I became a husband in 2017, and in an otherwise nightmarish year of national reckoning and embarrassment, I held on to my new title like a match flickering against the vortex.
I married Emily on a cloudless afternoon, beneath a pergola and among friends and family. Our friend Jiin officiated, his words deliberate and paced. Everyone complimented him on his range. During my vows, a red-tailed hawk circled overhead. When Emily said, “I do,” passengers in a passing Jeep screamed, “Yaaaassssss.”
My sister—my best ma’am—sang Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me” for the mother-son dance. I looked over my mom’s shoulder at my crying father, who for the first time in probably months was made speechless.
I danced with my new wife as we ate donuts instead of cake. With my thumbs, I pulled on my suspenders and mugged for the crowd. At the end of the night, everyone packed into a trolley. I fell asleep next to Emily, afraid that I wouldn’t remember any of it the next day. But I did. I do.
But all that shit is frivolous and irrelevant because I GOT NEW DISHES. Did you know that when you get married, the people in your life throw gifts at you, and that you get to pick these gifts, and that there are systems in place to protect against duplicate gifts? That you can choose “Stemless Wine Glasses x 4” on the Crate & Barrel website and that weeks later, your aunt and uncle will have sent them to your doorstep?
I washed some good goddamn dishes this year, let me tell you. Wide soup bowls, short tumblers, angular cheese plates, his & hers coffee mugs, and an entirely new set of silverware, each piece with new contours to learn, new fragilities to grasp.
And in this ecstasy of dishwashing, I listened to new music. Constant readers will remember that I spent much of my twenties working at an outdoor education center, and that after each meal, we would bring campers/participants into the industrial dishroom to help wash and clean up. We would play music, framing the experience as a dance party with chores. Thus: the inextricable connection between rinse cycles and pop music.
These are the songs I listened to this year, when I became a husband, when I washed the dishes of my new life.
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