Ed is my hairstylist, because we don't call them barbers in Beverly Hills. We go all the way back to my first month in Los Angeles, which means we're in our fifteenth year. In that time, I've let exactly one other stylist touch my hair. After that, I learned to wait for Ed to get back. From Las Vegas, from a Hair Show, from Prison, whatever. I wait.
Ed and Larry did their share of waiting too. They're about fifteen years older than myself, so these guys are no springtime brides. They've been through life. Ed lost his partner Steven to the plague early on. He withdrew from the scene until he met Larry, and then something clicked.
Larry is a pragmatic Midwesterner. He knew what he wanted and just hung in there waiting while it evolved. At first, Ed said Larry would just hold him and let him cry over Steven. As time passed, Ed noticed that he had stopped crying and looked over his shoulder to see Larry there holding him. And that's pretty much how it's been this last seventeen years. I can't imagine a more stable couple.
When I saw him in July, I asked Ed if they were thinking of tying the knot. Ed said that he asked Larry, but Larry wasn't sure. Ed was rather hurt by the answer, saying that if he didn't know after seventeen years he wasn't sure when he ever would. I quickly changed the subject back to Lindsey Lohan.
I saw him last week and gingerly asked if there was any more discussion on the subject. "Oh, we did it", he replied. "We got married". "What? How did that happen?" I asked. About a month ago, it seems, Larry casually asked Ed to meet him at City Hall on a Friday afternoon. When Ed asked why, Larry said that he thought they should get their license.
Ed met him on the steps of City Hall, and they were the last couple for the day. While filling out forms, the clerk asked if they were getting married that day. "May we"? Ed asked, and was told that they could indeed. "But we don't have rings" Larry interjected. "Yes, we do". Ed had stopped by the bank and retrieved a pair they had bought on vacation one year, just in case.
Ed looked at Larry. Larry nodded. Ed smiled. And so it was to be. Long time friends Peter and John who happened to be there getting their own license stood as witnesses. "It's the darnedest thing", Ed spoke softly. "When we stood under that gazebo and started saying those vows, we both teared up. It really meant something".
I asked him if it was any different now, and he said "in all honesty, yes". He introduces Larry not as his partner, but as his spouse. Even after the implied stability of all the years, this is now a legal bond that requires a court order to dissolve. One can't just walk out on the other in the heat of an argument. "It's real" he said. "We're married".
To toast the newly minted old married men, here's a live performance of St Vincent's "Marry Me":