Melissa Williams

Being Queer at a Bridal Shower

Filed By Melissa Williams | November 04, 2006 8:44 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Living

Sigh....I just got back from a bridal shower that I couldn't really get out of attending. I NEVER feel comfortable at such gendered activities, and I literally had a knot in my throat the whole time. I tried to convince my husband to get me invited to the bachelor party, where I would have felt a lot more comfortable, but he just mumbled, "I really don't have control..." What are other queer people's experiences in these gendered spaces? How did you handle it? I always feel so lonely, like I am missing something, like there is no space for me. I never understand what is so good about the bridal games and talking about the dresses, wedding planning, etc. etc. I would rather be drinking beer at the strip club.

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Well, being on the other side of the gender divide, I've never been to a bridal shower. I intensely dislike strip clubs, but thankfully my friends and family seem to as well, so I've been spared my trip to worship the patriarchy at some place with girls named after gemstones. Whenever I get bothered by weddings (which is fairly often) I always remember that it's not about me - it's about other people, who are near and dear to me (if they weren't i certainly wouldn't be going to the bachelor party!) Plus I know that most of my friends will be at mine whenever America decides to catch up with reality.

We all get the invitations, they're being held for people who mean something to us (and if they don't, decline the invitation).

Heterosexuals have odd cultural habits that we need to tolerate. But as same sex unions/marriages/whatever become part of our lives, I would assume bridal showers or whatever will become part of gay culture as well. Why not?

I will say I am usually outrageous at these kinds of events, and have great fun, especially playing those games that have to do with marital questions. I do think it's permissable to decline the invitation and send a gift. And then go to the strip club and drink beer.

I know what you mean about feeling like there's no real space for an outwardly "gay" man (my straight friends from Pittsburgh or even Tampa, both male and female look at me like I have two heads when I try to explain my queerness, so I just keep it as gay), I get invited to all the woman events (showers, both bridal and baby, bachelorette parties, weddings, baptisms, etc.) where at I'm treated like "one of the girls," and to the man events where I'm not asked, but assumed to provide comic relief...Though I feel alone at either, it's most uncomfortable going to the strip clubs with men, because it almost becomes a mockery as they attempt to get women to dance up-on-me. I know there's no maliciousness in their hearts when they do stuff like that, but it's still painful.

Not that I want to close with a joke (though I'm gonna), but honestly, when do I get to register? There's expectations of my participation with either gender at events like that, with no consciousness of my identity issues, and it's like I have to pay to feel uncomfortable.

Marla R. Stevens | November 5, 2006 10:00 PM

It's been a long time since I went to an opposite-sex pre-wedding event -- always the showers and never the bachelor parties.

I, too, have never understood all the fuss over the little games. They seem surrealistically innocent and oddly out of time -- girlish in a way I never was and could only define as across-the-divide het.

It was so strange to see women I knew to be worldly, professionally-minded, and highly capable suddenly reduced to veritable ninnies.

Most of them have subsequently come out, though, and I am usually kind enough not to rat them out at the late summer dyke campfires.

Mostly, though, at such things, I pretend I'm on acid. Then it all makes sense.