Clerestory

On Marriage

March 25, 2019

Today I “gave notice” of marriage, which in the UK requires a period of publicity, during which the public can raise legal objections. The primary concern seemed to be whether either person had lied to the registrar, with the most important question being whether either of us had ever married, followed by whether we were related by blood. First cousins, we were told, can marry, but there’s an additional form. It doesn’t come up often, but it does come up, the registrar reported.

The notice period is twenty-eight days. We’re to be married in thirty-three. The registrar found our delinquency amusing.

The process was strange, two parts quiz and one part thoroughly British bureaucracy. My proof of address was summarily rejected, which necessitated emailing and printing a PDF in order to placate a boorish and maddened mandarin. In the interview itself, my partner ascribed to me a profession from which I do not yet make money, while I struggled to pronounce her patronymic. We at least got each others’ birthdays right, just, and nationalities, though I sort of got my own wrong—I said American, when I should have said British because that’s the passport I gave (I have both).

In other words it was something like our relationship: amusing, unlikely, haphazard, unconventional. And at the same time beautiful in our own insouciance towards even the most important parts of life.

If you’re reading this and it’s the first you’ve heard, don’t despair, we’ve only really told people we’ve seen in person. She takes a somewhat spartan attitude, desirous of symbolism over any ancillary adornment. My attitude of one is complicity in our own dear domesticity, an unknown but promising world, and a kindred kind of kindness that is yet beyond my ken.


I'm Bryan Kam. I'm thinking about complexity and selfhood. Please sign up to my newsletter or see more here.