By the time you likely read these lines I will be getting ready to walk down the makeshift aisle of a path cut through a field on a bay down east. I will have spent the morning getting my hair and nails done, I will have donned my expensive dress and maybe had a glass of champagne with my bridesmaids, matron of honor, and man of honor. I will have been scared, I’m sure, because the butterflies have already begun, invading my sleep like large house flies buzzing over my head, yet when I turn on the light I cannot place the offending irritant in my tight fist.
And I will be exhausted. Not from the intellectual exertion of my real work, or the physical exhaustion one feels from working a hard-labor job, but from all the change coming a million miles an hour and all the people and details and emotion hovering like a deep, damp, fog. I try to explain this to Cowboy whenever he seems to get a little glimmer about our wedding night. “I’m going to be exhausted,” I tell him, “No one ever has sex on their wedding night. That’s just some male fantasy about virginity. It’s totally archaic.”
Cowboy looks deflated; his hair suddenly seems to be sticking to his head like it’s gotten very humid outside. “You mean to tell me we’re not having sex on our wedding night? It’s our wedding night, for God’s sake!”
Plus, I want Hopper to come to the hotel with us.
What? Hopper on our wedding, night — are you kidding me? You’re already bringing him on our honeymoon!
I’ve asked the hotel. They said it’s fine. He’ll be scared sleeping alone at Mom’s.
I don’t care if he’s scared. I’m scared not to have sex with my wife on our wedding night. And to have our dog in bed with us! Seriously, baby, I think I might faint!
No, you’ll be fine. This has nothing to do with anything. Wedding night sex is all about a man possessing a woman as his, it’s about control. You’re programmed to feel this way. Just relax.
Have you ever known someone to relax whom you told to relax? And plus, is scaring me about this controlling or what?
Maybe this is all really about death — the death of self when you get married, the petit mort of an orgasm. There’s a connection here, I’m sure.
I can’t believe I’m marrying you.
You still have time, you still have time!
But wait, there’s that line in the play you love, Henry V, the one you’re making me read in my vows, about the bride hanging around the neck of her new husband, hardly to be shook off? What about that? Can’t we at least act that out?
I remind Cowboy that our good friends just got married and when the bride, in full earshot of her new husband, was asked if they had any special goings-on planned for that night, she said, “Nah, we’ll probably just talk about money and go to sleep like always.” Her groom looked like someone had just brained him and started to breathe heavily and turned to me: “Did you hear what she just said?”