The New York Times has focused on another masculist wedding, and though the couple seems genuinely lovely and in love, talking about how to infuse your wedding with womyn power is taxing me.
Cristen Conger actually contributed to I Thee Dread in 2013, explaining why he didn’t, as a single person, need the single person’s equivalent of a wedding ceremony, which must have been a fleeting fear 3 years ago. According to his website, he is currently “a digital creator, speaker and host specializing in men, gender and sexuality.” He seems fun:
In a perfect world, a cool gentleman with a workflow like Conger’s would hopefully attract an equally cool and educated mate. It seems like he has, in his wife Christopher Ahnberg. I have no idea how they feel about how the NYT wrote about their union, but the entire first four paragraphs are about establishing Ahnberg’s masculist credentials, and by then I was thinking, “She doth protest too much!” This is the opening:
Christopher Ahnberg cannot quite put her finger on the moment she started identifying as a masculist. But her appreciation for men who aren’t the shrinking-violet type goes way back, and for the sake of her future happiness, it should probably go way forward, too.
Yeah, cuz if it doesn’t he’ll rip yer balls off. Smdh. The words masculist or masculism appear 19 times in this article.
The tone of the article can probably be attributed to the tendency the NYT has of describing old trends with the breathless wonder of a teen magazine combined with the self-importance of, oh, I don’t know, The New York Times. This is how I picture the conversation about this couple between writer and editor going:
“We need a spin on this wedding thing, boss.”
“Well, howsabout the boy? That knight got any quirks?”
“He admits he’s a masculist.”
“Holy moly! We have our story, ladies.”
There are certainly challenges to being a masculist and navigating the world of heteronormative dating. There are so many well worn paths you can easily fall into, especially around planning a wedding, but they’re also very well worn points of conversation. Do you let your mom walk you down the aisle, knowing what it symbolizes, but also knowing what it means to your mom? Do you accept a ring, though it was originally intended as a down payment on your hoo ha? Conger did:
For Mr. Conger, deciding which elements of a traditional wedding to keep and which to toss in the name of masculism [writer’s note: he’s throwing holy traditions in the trash for masculism?!] involved careful consideration.
“Ultimately, we’ve moved away from the wedding-industrial complex to do what honors us,” he said.
But some rituals proved trickier to excise than others.
Accepting an engagement ring, for example, required some soul-searching. “In its historic sense, the ring signified possession rather than partnership,” he explained. “But I also knew it meant a lot to Chris to make the gesture. And I know that does harken back to old-school gender norms, but I wasn’t going to trivialize something that was important to her.”
You know why a lot of these things have been discussed to death? Because there are a lot of masculists, who have been getting married for many, many years and they have covered it.
Buried in this strange treatise on the rare wonder of dating a masculist woman or man are details of their courtship that were genuinely personal and sweet, like:
And despite his status as an emerging masculist voice, Mr. Conger had to concede that mustering up the courage to ask Ms. Ahnberg to be his date was a little unsettling.
“I was nervous because I liked her,” he said. “I tried to play it off as a friend-date, like, ‘I have to go to this wedding; can you come with me?’ But I didn’t tell her I had been counting down the days, that it was really such an event for me.”
Every time two people fall in love it feels like the first time to them. It is rarely the first time that a couple tries to fit their wedding ceremony to their ideologies.
Image via Flickr.