Ellen De Generes on a recent show said a trick thing about rounding things to the nearest million. I’m in favour of that, with my blog viewer numbers. And I love Ellen, fair, honest, happy, funny, considerate gal.
HOWEVER. Yesterday, I accompanied a friend, my long term companion and house mate, won’t say husband, we can explore that qualification later. We had to use 4 modes of transport each way [2 trains, 2 buses] to visit his mum in a retirement village on the occasion of her birthday. We stopped at the nearest large town to change buses, there we bought a quiche Lorraine and a Gateau St Honore [custard filling, profiteroles, chocolate shavings, sliced strawberries. As a child I spent the first 2 years of secondary school at a college nearby. This is sandstone country, dry, hard ground punctured with bull ants nests and riddled with snakes. The local river sidles, itself like a snake, through sandstone gorges where the first nation people painted with ochre on the low ceilings of riverside caves.
But the town was a historical precinct, after scrutiny you might have decided that the buildings were colonial, yet everything had been polished to within, as they say, an inch of life. The only protest against compulsory order that I could discern came from young guys inserting large plugs into their ears, discs the size of a 20 cent coin. I was unusually horrified, picturing the flap of skin on your cheek all nightlong in bed, and surely one could not sleep comfortably with the plug in place?!
The party went well, my friend’s mum had improved in health, she was swimming, she ate more protein. This gladdened us both.
Now, about same sex union. My reservations are as follows. A recent religion-based discussion show on the national broadcaster was held on this topic; the presenter complained that there was no historical or liturgical precedent. Sadly, nobody, guest or presenter, had done their homework. The relevant text is Same Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe by John Boswell, his argument was that from the christian church in Constantinople, eastern Europe had a ceremony that consecrated the relationship of two people of the same gender. The ceremony was solemn and elaborate, but fell into disuse in modern times. Its rich liturgy was plundered to provide an impressive ceremony for heterosexul union. Since Roman times only the richest unions were blessed by church and state, they were recognised as business mergers, as property and hereditary titles were at stake. All other couplings fell under the radar, they were prosaic and inferior. In recent times, when authoritarian institutions attempted to discourage promiscuity, a ceremony was needed to restrict and confine, rather that express true inner love.
I still prefer the French definition: in a true relationship the ring and all else are irrelevant, in any other situation they are restrictions. Gay and lesbian communities have always been innovative. Here, we have stooped to an outworn institution, yes it gives our people a recognised structure, the right to raise children etc. I hope it brings much happiness, rather than the all too ubiquitous divorce.