Monday, March 16, 2009

THE PRICE OF LOVE

Long before it was fashionable - let alone a socio-political weapon of mass destruction - I had my very first Gay Marriage.

Of course being that we lived in California, which in 2000 still didn't allow gay couples to do that which Elizabeth Taylor has done countless times -
Britney Spears did overnight in Vegas-- and the lower classes do for money on reality television programs, our event was considered a "Civil Union". But regardless of the nomenclature, we were getting married and, as such, we had to throw ourselves a real, live, honest-to-whoever-you-pray-at WEDDING.

It was held at the glamorous Yamashiro restaurant in Los Angeles, an authentically recreated Japanese mansion perched high above Hollywood Boulevard and in keeping with my belief that if you're going to do something, you might as well do it first class, we pulled out all the proverbial stops.

The best food, open bar, bottles of Veuve Clicquot champagne by the truckload; and in keeping with this theme, we had our wedding rings done by Tiffany's. During the fitting at the renowned jeweller's Beverly Hills store, one of those bleached blonde OC housewife types who have lowered the bar at every high end shop in town smiled patronizingly and said "that's so cute. Too bad it's not a real wedding."

At which point the Tiffany clerk gave her a hard stare and said "of course it is. It's recognized by a higher authority than the government. It's recognized by Tiffany's."

For this reason, I have been a devoted Tiffany customer ever since.

With rings in hand, and guests in tow, we stood before my old friend The Duchess of Milton who had procured an online ordination as a minister for the event - which really just supports my belief that religion is nothing more than a game for hucksters and suckers, not necessarily in that order - and spoke our vows...you know, the usual, "love, honor and cherish" and "til death do us part"...

Most of the attendees swear to this day it was the most beautiful wedding they'd ever seen. I would have to agree.

The MARRIAGE however was a disaster.

I won't bore you with all the gory details, but suffice it to say that two years later, upon returning from an extended work trip to Africa, I discovered my husband had packed up his things and left. Took the dog.

But left his ring behind.



For five long, increasingly ridiculous years, that ring - and my matching one - sat in my dresser drawer, moving from a place of dark honor ("there they are - the symbols of my broken heart...") to simply being an annoyance ("Panton! What kind of a houseboy are you?! Where are my silver cufflinks? I can't find anything in here except these stupid wedding rings!") to the point where I finally decided something HAD to be done.

While shooting a movie several years back, one of the stars advised that I should melt the rings down and turn them into a key for my house. The other star suggested, considering how things had ended, a BULLET might make more sense; given that he was once married to a large and rather loudly unpleasant television star himself, he knew of what he spoke.

But I'd kept the rings for all these years, tucked away neatly in their little blue velvet bag, taunting me like one of those cuts you get on the roof of your mouth. "You failed," they kept saying to me. "You were a loser as a husband and you'll never find love again!"

This of course turned out to be false, as several years ago I eventually met the current Boyfriend, a prominent Palm Springs businessman, and while I refused to let the car wreck of the first marriage make me gun shy about getting into another relationship, having those rings around didn't help. They lurked there in the dark, rattling behind my gold Brooks Brothers collar tabs like Jacob Marley's ghost, their voices reminding me that every love has a price, a piece of your heart taken and never returned...a piece as big as two men's wedding bands.

Now if you, dear reader, found that last line to be as nauseating to read as I did to write, you'll understand exactly why I spent Valentine's Day this year sitting in a conference room at a local hotel, waiting my turn among the retirees and widows to find out just how much cold hard cash those damned rings would get me.

The time had finally come to let go.

I'd heard about the "Gold Buy" being run by a group of out-of-state jewelers on the local radio station for several weekends running, but decided to wait until the perfect symbolism of February 14th arrived to make my move. And so, with the Boyfriend beside me - and with visions of the vacation in sunny Mexico that these rings would surely buy us dancing in our heads - we sat down in front of a charmingly overbuilt fellow who weighed both wedding bands, checked his scales and values, viewed the Tiffany markings with a magnifying loop and then finally leaned back and smiled at us.

The rings had originally cost me three thousand dollars. In cash. They had also cost me considerably more in self-worth and hard won life experience, and as such they had come to occupy a huge place in my own personal mythology. I wanted them to be worth every moment I'd felt I'd lost, every single heart ache I'd endured and every last tear I'd shed.

They turned out to be worth two hundred bucks. Flat.

So much for Mexico. That wouldn't buy us a weekend in Banning.

But it did buy the BF and I a couple of great books to read on a rainy day at home, and a bottle of wine and a pizza to enjoy while we do. And frankly, I'd rather have that - and him - than those rings any day.



Even Valentine's Day.

1 Comments:

Blogger Lewis said...

Hi Ron,
So the Tiffany wedding bands had little intrinsic value when you finally decided to close that chapter of your life? But you probably got your money's-worth in the prestige of the famous brand.
Next time, design and create each other's wedding rings with your own hands. The cost will be much less than Tiffany's, the REAL value in terms of the love and devotion that go into creating such a symbol of your affection for one another - as Mastercard commercials are wont to claim - priceless!
A WEDDING RING EXPERIENCE© can be enjoyed in 6 US cities and 3 UK ones - there's even a Wedding Ring Workshop in San Diego just for you.
Check it out.
Ludovic

6:37 PM  

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