On March 15, 1995, I married a complete stranger as an art piece.
I got the idea while sitting in psychology 101 my second year of college. The prof was discussing the psychology of love vs marriage + how different cultures deal with the idea of representing that union. By the end of class, I had come up with an idea that I thought was super fucking clever + because of that, I had to commit + follow it through.
The rules were simple:
1. Get legally married.
2. Go back to our lives as if we never met.
3. Get together in one years time + get a divorce.
At the time, my mind was on getting the documents + paperwork as evidence that I could put in black frames, hang on a gallery wall + impress all my collegues with my cleverness at such a bold + innovative act of creative brilliance. I really loved the idea that out in the world this person that I had done this thing with was just living thier lives without a second thought about me outside of this silly piece of paper that said we were something else. Also, it was funny + I love when life is funny.
As I was walking out of class, I noticed a woman. She had a sweet, tender, ease to the way she walked. Like she floated a little. Her smile sat so comfortably on her face. She was wearing some bell bottomish jeans with holes in them + some kind of strpied blouse which all had a hippieish kind of vibe to it. She just seemed nice + easy going for whatever reason + I thought “maybe she’ll say yes”. Also, she was really really cute which added the extra motivation I needed to “pop the question”. So, I approached her, said hello + asked if I could talk to her for a minute. We sat down + I gave her my whole let’s get hitched pitch.
Her name was Rachel. Rachel True. She was surprisingly attentive + even laughed in the right way at every thing I was saying + wouldn’t you know it, she actually said yes! We walked straight to the court house which was just a few block away, to get ourselves married. On the way, one of my friends was sitting on a stoop by the main campus stairs with his camera + it gave me the idea that I should bring him along to take pictures of us getting married because art.
When we got to the courthouse, we had to take a number.
While we waited for our turn to get up to the counter, we had no choice but to get to know a bit about eachother between very long + awkward silences + glances while my friend shot away. It was incredible! There were so many details to every moment that passed that I could write about this for years.
The other couples waiting, the smell of the office, every detail flooding my mind as I write this that I wish I could recount but, this thing would never get written + I want to get to bed. I’ll save it for the feature length movie. I wonder who would play us? We finally get called + fill out all the paperwork, then sat back down to wait for what I thought would be our licence.
There was a machine that sold individual flowers wrapped in cellophane so of course, I bought one for my future wife + awkwardly presented them to her. She blushed + accepted them + after a second, both burst out laughing at how insane this whole experience was which made everyone in the waiting room smile + seemed to fill the room with a little more levity than it had.
After a while, we got called again but, this time, we were taken into a smaller side room which was magically painted with flowering pastel trees in every possible color with, you guessed it, a podium right in the middle of it. The same clerk from behind the counter grudgingly got behind the podium + before either of us had gotten past the shock of it all, she asks to see the rings.
The only ring I had was my old high school ring which I was wearing in irony + all she had was some silver goth ring which had a hinged secret compartment under the red ruby. This was all too much. We exchnged rigns while the clerk did her best impression of someone who cared as she went through her script. “Do you, Do you”, etc. We replied “Yes, Yes etc”.
“You may now kiss the bride”.
I dont know what the fuck my friend was looking at but he failed to get a picture of what could have been the most iconic moment in this whole thing which was was two complete strangers kissing for the first time. Seriously though, we were now actually married! I couldn’t believe it had actually happened.
We got our paperwork + walked out of the courthouse as husband+ wife.