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Parting Glances: Snap-on garters

By |2018-01-16T15:02:52-05:00October 31st, 2017|Opinions|

I’m attending my eighth gay wedding – Holy Union – in maybe 10 years. (Always a bridesmaid never a bride. Old tattered Top Hat that I am, I’ll gladly wear any snap-on garters – or best men – that are tossed my way.)
There are 90 guests present this next to last day of beleaguered 2006. And as I check out these celebrants seated at the brightly festooned tables, I gaydar in that most everybody’s straight. Well, at least 75 percent. (To retool an old Jewish saw: “Gays are like everybody else, only more so.”)
Relatives abound. Grown children – fully supportive – of Groom No. 1, with their straight partners. Loving parents and cousins of Groom No. 2. Colleagues. Coworkers. Cohorts. All happy and in a mood to fiddle on the roof, a wholehearted spiritus that befits the joy of this same-sex occasion – perhaps a real first for the Cultural Center.
I am honored to party, and, as a festive touch, I wear my 100-year-old art nouveau silver broach (and my tummy-tuck, Spandex truss). I know both “betrothed”: Dr. Steven Earl Schoeberlein, Wayne State University staff psychologist, and Dr. John Vincent Baugh, child psychiatrist. Steven & John. John & Steven.
I know and appreciate them well enough to hug, to carry on a friendly – occasionally “pastel” – conversation, or to get five-minutes of on-the-go, mini-therapy from either, or both. (Turns out Steven & John, lived as kids, not known to each other, in the same neighborhood.)
This night their wedding vows are said with a becoming buddy-ness, their faith and fidelity pledged with touches of boyish humor, their rings exchanged with manly civility (witnessed, to the delight of everybody present, by the unexpected, wagtails appearance of Steven’s two German shepherds, Evie & Roger – unofficial ring bearers – brought out on leash).
The ceremony is spiritually blessed by good-natured Bible Bear, Rev. Mark Bidwell of the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit (performing his 23rd wedding service, some straight, mostly gay). His partner of eight years, and yoga practitioner, Greg Owen, attends.
The Scarab Club’s Gallery Room setting is filled with art from the current Gold Medal Show, abstract, figurative, surreal. Each piece lends a visually poetic and contemporary cachet to the ceremony. (Five pieces are by Steven, a SC member, and one piece by me – a whirligig of collaged exuberance – smiles in the corner.)
Above the multihued din of eager chatters – conversational threads that cannot be unwoven but spin a humming, seamless cocoon – the Mountain Top Trio plays a light-blue waltz that moves sonically in and out, distant and near. My soft side yields to Kleenex. I think of past loves; the many gays and lesbians now long gone who would have been thrilled – totally amazed, stunned, awed – by an undreamed of occasion like this.
As a Scarab Clubber I’m delighted that John & Steven are welcome to have their unofficial “wedding” here. (They were legally wed this same day in Windsor, Ontario). Many straight couples have rented the SC space, including my friends, Sandra & Michael, who were married here last June.
In spring and summer the walled garden is fragrantly alive and romantically a-blossom for contemplation and ceremony. (Julie Sabit, a friend of many years – present SC Gold Medal Winner – sits left to me at table. She’s turned the garden area into a panorama of landscape art.)
And, now, if I may, I’ll lovingly toss my own lavendar garter to Scarab Club events coordinator Lynn Jovick. Thanks Lynn for making Steven & John’s ceremony picture perfect from all angles. (It takes courage to be avant-garde!)

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.