This morning I woke very early. Guido commuted downstairs to the café kitchen and I just lay in our bed between the crumpled sheets thinking about how on earth you are supposed to start planning a wedding. My head was spinning with worry because ours were non-existent. I didn’t even have a date to play with. I have to tell you I had some pretty dark and scary thoughts laying there. They involved men turning up to my wedding who had no actual biological connection with the country known as Scotland, but still thought it was acceptable for them to be wearing kilts. Never before had I considered just how shark infested were the waters of wedding cake or candied pillar content. And, I completely reached the conclusion that the big trouble with gay weddings are the macaroons.
I took stock. Let’s keep things in perspective I told myself. Okay, so it’s taken me years, but along the way I have been subtly ticking a lot of life’s marital tick boxes. I just hadn’t realised it before now. So come to think of it, well done me. 1. Acquired a boyfriend with no interest in having sex whilst wearing armour. Tick. 2. Co-habited with acquired boyfriend for 15 long years. Tick. 3. Acquired boyfriend of 15 long years finally gets down on his knees and asks me the big question. Tick. 4. Acquired a fiancé. Tick. 5. Began to successfully organise fantasy wedding day with acquired fiancé. Hang on a minute, there is no tick. As I left The Spanish Onion on my way to my office I walked through the kitchen and shouted to Guido in a completely subtle and tick box friendly way. “Terrific conversation last night about marriage dates,” I breezed past him and patted him on the back as he fried an egg, “we’ll no doubt pick up where we left off later tonight. I can hardly wait!”
Guido completely ignored me and instead yelled out a food order in his confidential customer naming code, “Toast and jam ready for the “Burnt Bread and Blueberry” on table 5.” There was definitely no tick. One of The Twins – I have no idea which – sauntered past me to collect the toast and the jam. He was wearing his baseball cap backwards.
“Hey Honcho,” he said, “How’s it hangin’?” I had no idea what he was talking about or to what he was referring . I left sensing no other meaningful ticks.
So once at work I decided to bounce some marriage plan ideas around with my assistant Toby. He is not gay and he has never been married but he is my only employee so my choice with whom to bounce was limited. I don’t think he could have been closely checking the tracker he installed on my mobile phone to monitor my movements because he failed to notice me walk through the door. I caught him red handed reading a comic during work time. One of those weird Japanese comics where the pictures of the characters have little bodies but funny shaped heads and large almond eyes. I pretended not to notice even though just 10 minutes earlier I sent strict text instructions for him to urgently identify suppliers of antiqued wall sconces for a very important client.
“I have got this friend,” I said casually, “A very good friend in fact. He just happens to be gay, lives in London, and is also an interior designer. He has incredible taste but let’s just say he’s got a problem.”
“Oh?” said Toby, “How unfortunate.” He closed his comic as a mark of respect. “I mean him having a problem, not that he sounds just incredibly like you.” He had his eyebrow cocked. I was pleased I had him totally fooled.
“Yes,” I said, “And his boyfriend of many, many years has just asked him to marry him.”
“Please ensure you pass on my congratulations to him,” he said completely inscrutably.
“But here’s the rub,” I said chewing the end of my pen. Toby immediately started frowning and staring at my lips. As he is obsessive compulsive he disapproves of any chewing whatsoever and especially so when there is no actual swallowing. “He is getting a bit lost on the detail.”
“What kind of detail?” asked Toby.
“The kind of detail which involves a start or a beginning,” I said, looking for some sort of helpful flicker of understanding in his face. Never before had he looked so like Clark Kent. “Of course my own head is full to burst of amazing detail on where to start and begin, but I don’t want to scare and faze him. I thought I would just ask someone like a regular Joe Public guy from straight off the street where he might think was a good place to start to plan his own wedding.”
“And you thought of me, right?” said Toby even more inscrutably. “Well you could tell him the first practical thing might be to pinup some graph paper and map a timeline starting with the wedding date and then work backwards.” He was being hideously practical as usual and this would have been a great idea if I, I mean my friend, did have an agreed wedding date.
“Trust me my friend is working on a date,” I said. This was going to be more difficult than I had first thought. “Can I ask you Toby,” I said completely inscrutably, “how would you, as a regular Joe Public guy from straight off the street, feel about rainbow coloured macaroons at your wedding?”