Neon Lights

this piece was originally written for the NYC Midnight Short Story contest

It’s not exactly an uncommon story. One day you’re an aspiring actress, the next you’re delivering pizzas and attempting to console yourself with your theatre degree while you eat ramen noodles in a tiny studio apartment surrounded by books. Ivy wasn’t surprised by her fate, but that didn’t make it suck any less to be hauling Ricky’s Best Pizza to a nicer neighborhood than she could afford to live in on a rainy night. In the store they had always joked that rain was liquid coupons no one wanted to leave their house in the middle of a monsoon to get food. It wasn’t bad so long as they tipped well, but that didn’t always happen, even when her black converse filled up with water.

She hated when her feet were wet.

But it was this or being a cashier at Walmart and at least if she was delivering pizzas, she could listen to whatever music she wanted to in the car and had a chance to make tips instead of just minimum wage.

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Wedding Planning While Gay

So, I’m pretty freaked out about all of this ‘defense of religion’ First Amendment talk- you know, the legal rulings that could make it legal for my landlord to decide that he doesn’t want lesbians renting one of his apartments, or my doctor not want to practice medicine on a lesbian woman, my baker decide that they don’t want to make a wedding cake for a lesbian wedding- that last bit sound familiar?

I keep hearing people say ‘oh, but would you really want that homophobic doctor to practice medicine on you? or to live where you’re not wanted?’ but my money spends the same regardless and if I’m not asking a vendor to do something outside of the services they provide, why should it matter?

I’m planning my wedding right now and every time I email a vendor, I check their website to see if I can find any same sex weddings featured in their photo gallery- if not and I’m feeling lucky, I email them anyway and make it abundantly clear that I’m a lesbian marrying another woman so they can immediately turn me down if they don’t ‘go for that sort of thing’. I haven’t gotten any nasty responses but I do wonder if the reason that a handful of venues haven’t emailed me back is because they don’t want to bother with a lesbian wedding.

It’s awkward looking at wedding venues and they boast a suite for the bride and bridesmaids to get ready in- but what are you supposed to do when there are two brides? Floral packages assume there will be one bridal bouquet and one groom’s boutonniere- would they be willing to change their package for us? Favors depicted a generic bride and groom. When I went to go try dresses on the first time, I got asked “how did he propose” while the sales assistant buttoned me up into a white gown- she didn’t seem nearly so interested in finding out how I asked her to marry me.

I knew planning a wedding with almost no budget and on my side of the family, no support was going to be hard, but I don’t think I accounted for the weirdness of planning a wedding while gay or for my wedding to be a political issue. I just wanted to wear a white dress and marry her in front of our friends.