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When Are You Guys Getting Married?

Steven PetrowQuestion for Steven: We’re going out of our minds. Ever since New York passed the law allowing same-sex couples to get married there (no matter where they live), every straight person we know wants to know when we’re getting hitched. A lot of our gay friends are asking, too. It’s become oppressive. Help!

Steven Answers: You, too? I’ve joked to some friends that I feel like Mary Richards (from the old Mary Tyler Moore Show, for you young ‘uns). It seemed that the world wouldn’t be quite right until she got married (even though she never did). Like Mary all those years ago, some of us are in no rush to the altar.

So hurray that we’ve won the right to marry in the Empire State, but that doesn’t mean we have the obligation to. Let’s hold on for just a New York minute here and remind our well-intentioned friends, gay and straight, that marriage isn’t the right choice for every couple.

But how do we say it? Oddly, it’s easier to be nasty-nice to a blatantly rude person (not that I recommend that) than to friends or family members with foot-in-mouth disease. Still, there are a number of ways you can answer the call-to-the-altar:

  • “You’ll be the first to know, after we decide who’s going to propose to the other—but don’t hold your breath.”
  • “We’re talking to our accountant to figure out whether this makes sense for us financially. It doesn’t for everyone.”
  • “Believe it or not, we’re philosophically opposed to marriage. It’s a heterosexual rite that hasn’t worked for them – and we don’t want any part of it.” (But then, please do smile to soften your oratory.)
  • “It ain’t broke, so we ain’t fixing it.”

And if you’re one of those who’s a carrier of this particular form of foot-in-mouth disease, take a powder and hold back on the inquisition!

 

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Steven Petrow is the go-to source on contemporary etiquette, as cited by The New York Times, People, Time, and NPR. His sometimes gentle, sometimes snarky, always insightful advice has made him a nationally recognized expert on modern manners. In addition to his three prize-winning etiquette books, Steven writes the “Civil Behavior” column for The New York Times and is a sought-after speaker on all matters of civilized living in the 21st century.