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When I was in the UK last week, a waiter in Betty’s Tea Rooms said their little iced cakes, which picture William and Kate, have been selling in vast quantities. Well who wouldn’t devour the fairy tale dream of a prince and princess who live happily ever after? But as many Brits pour an extra cup of Typhoo while cooing at the bridal gown, the rest of us are down the pub with a nudge and a wink. Because we know the wedding night is seldom as white as the dress and that happily-ever-after is a pretty big ask – especially if you’re a royal.

How negative I am!

But seriously, consider: It seems to me that, in many ways, the English wedding ceremony was created to permit hanky-panky, thereby encouraging the birth of kids who would soon be baptized. On the wedding day, the bride’s white dress was the color of virginity and her veil represented her sealed hymen. (In fact, the hymen is often misunderstood – there’s no layer of skin that seals a woman’s vagina like cling film, just a corona or fringe of tissue that can sometimes tear). Yup, when the groom tenderly lifts the veil from his new wife’s face, though he may not be thinking about screwing, he still symbolizes it. Indeed, at an Elizabethan ceremony, the wedding night was on everyone’s minds – for example, if a new husband didn’t wave his blood-stained sheets out of the window next morning as proof that his new wife was a virgin, the town grew suspicious. Back then your wife was your property. What if she wasn’t “fresh produce,” hmm? Irony aside, Elizabethan women were at it left right and centre – and besides, not everyone bleeds when they first have sex – so in true porn-flick fashion, the faking of fluids ensued and the sheets were indeed bloodied. Bravo.

Let’s face it weddings can be pretty extreme affairs, especially where sex and flirtation are concerned. Carl Jung was one of the first to teach us that whatever we try to repress will only appear more strongly. Deny sex enough and you’ll suddenly find it’s everywhere. Lust, it would seem, is hard to bin. At some weddings the purity myth is so intense that everyone’s at it like bunnies – after all, what’s more exciting than breaking the rules? Yet society continues to thirst for the Disney fairy tale in which prince and princess are starry-eyed perfection. Castles in the sky apparently lack bedrooms, and if you know Sleeping Beauty was a minx in the sack, chances are you’ve been reading the Anne Rice version.

But unrealistic as a fairy-tale wedding might seem, we should all own the right to have one. Sadly this isn’t the case. If you fall in love with a same-sex partner in America, the castle doors often slam shut, depending on which state you’re in. Even in Britain, where gay marriage is legal, I can only imagine the hubbub if Prince William had wanted to marry a guy. “Aw,” folks croon, “but the royal family’s so lovely!” And yet, if you’re coming out as a gay prince I doubt it’s a barrel of laughs. See, the problem is that fairy tale castles arise from Victorian tales that are entirely hetero-centric, and if you think that doesn’t impinge on the heterosexual reader, think again. A society where one kind of love or way of being is held above another is a dangerous place. Last month, a transgender woman named Chrissy Polis was beaten by her coworkers while an eyewitness recorded the brutal event and posted it on the internet. Why did they attack her? Because their erroneous notion of gender as a binary construct was shattering in front of their eyes. In 2010 we saw many queer teenagers taking their lives because they couldn’t see a way to be both living and happy. Did anyone ever tell them a gay fairy tale? I hope so, but somehow I doubt it.

Of course, such fairy tales do exist, often in the form of children’s books. And Tango Makes Three (by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell) for instance, is a gay fairy tale based on the true story of two gay, male penguins who cared for an orphaned egg and ended up raising their adopted chick together as fathers. Many homophobic parents flare up when kids have been taught such a tale in school – in fact, the book hit a record number of ban requests in 2006-7. But where there are stories, there’s hope. And hope is good.

What’s more, I’ll fight for it.

So when people say weddings have nothing to do with sex, I’ll continue to ask them why they think gay marriage is often forbidden, and when they tell me there’s no harm in traditional wedded bliss, I’ll agree, but only to a point. While the royal wedding certainly gives us a chance to feel proud, until marriage is an option for everyone – not just legally but socially too – such ceremonies will always be bittersweet, even when the couple seem as deeply in love as William and Kate. That’s why we must continue to harness the power of story by sharing tales of gay romances, weddings and lovemaking. Because happy endings shouldn’t be dependent on sexuality or gender. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m all about the love.

Photo on “Sex” main page – John Pannell

As one of the few British writers at TNB I felt it was my duty to record the historic Royal Wedding for the site. It also helps that we have a Bank Holiday so we can all watch it, and that due to time difference I was able to sit through it without waking up at a ridiculously early time.

What I’ve done is record my observations as they popped into my head whilst watching the coverage on the BBC. Hopefully this will make you feel like you’re watching it with me… get out the good china and pour a hot cup of tea…

Woke up late— started watching just as Kate arrived. My first thoughts are: she looks very grown up, her eyebrows are quite thick, and she looks absolutely amazing. The phrase ‘lie back and think of England’ has never seemed more exciting…

 

A few clips of previous Royal Weddings. Kate is easily the most beautiful bride since the Queen married Phillip back in the 1950s. Incidentally the Queen has lent Kate a Cartier tiara from the 1930s…

 

Jesus, how long does it take to walk down an aisle? We could be done by now if they picked up the pace a bit…

 

The vows: William sounds like a posh actor whose name I can’t remember. This is the first time I’ve heard Kate speak— she’s terribly well spoken for a ‘commoner’…

 

Oh… is the ring going to fit?

 

Only just!

 

This is way better than when Charles and Camilla got married. Prince Harry is wearing more gold than Mr T and William looks like an ostentatious Thunderbird…

 

There are trees inside Westminster Abbey. Everyone is standing and facing the bride and groom. It looks almost exactly like the end of Star Wars.

 

A very young man is talking about good and evil. It sounds like a very posh pep talk…

 

There are far too many hymns. It feels like a Christmas service. I’m not actually sure if they’re married yet or not…

 

The Archbishop of London addressed William and Kate from a high vantage point and talks about setting the world on fire. This is questionable advice.

 

Oh, it’s a metaphor…

 

They’ve exchanged rings so they must be married, surely…

 

Was slightly disappointed no-one had a reason they couldn’t be married…

 

Is the Queen asleep?! She’s definitely asleep! In fairness she’s hosting the reception and there won’t be a time for a nap between now and then…

 

The Archbishop has started talking about starting a family… that’s got to be a bit awkward for Wills and Kate in front of al those people…

 

I’m sure he was expecting more of a response to that ‘Amen’… tough crowd…

 

Interesting selection of guests. William has invited David Beckham and Elton John whilst Kate has invited the Indian couple who run the Spar in her village…

 

A Holy man keeps begging for mercy… ah, the Lord’s Prayer. This is getting a bit sombre…

 

No response for the ‘amen’ again…

 

This is the first time I’ve heard Jerusalem outside of a sporting event. I fucking love Jerusalem.

 

Best. Fanfare. Ever… followed by an epic sweeping shot of Westminster Abbey as everyone launches into the National Anthem… This is fantastic!

God Save the Queen… It’s got be kind of weird for Kate Middleton… it’s her wedding day and everyone is singing a song about her (grand)mother-in-law…

 

They’re definitely married now. They’re going off to sign the register… it’s illegal to film it so everyone is just going to sing hymns until the come back…

 

Getting a montage of previous Royal wedding certificates… and they’re back!

 

There’s a wedding theme. It sounds very John Williams. Everything about this is awesome.

 

Prince Harry is terrible at walking slowly. He’s almost skulking…

 

The William and Kate— no, sorry, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge— step out to the sound of wedding bells. Lovely.

 

A carriage awaits— it’s from 1902 and I think it was the one the Queen used at her wedding…

 

A whole convoy of carriages going down the Mall… it’s like a slow motion chariot race…

 

They’re approaching the finish line… I think William and Kate might just win it…

 

They arrive to the sound of the National Anthem… it seems no-one knows what happens next…

 

The National Anthem plays again… Good lord, Princess Beatrice is wearing a giant pretzel for a hat!

 

 

Apparently it’s a whole hour before the traditional presentation of the bride and groom on the balcony… at least the Queen can sit down for a bit…

 

Now it’s just an hour of talking to people in the crowds… kids… Mexicans… Americans… Aussies… South Africans… but mostly people in plastic hats…

 

We have studio coverage. The historian Simon Schama is acting as a pundit. He liked the trees and the gothic vaulting…

 

Apparently there are five rooms in Buckingham Palace that can be opened up into one super-room. I wish I was rich…

 

There’s an announcement for anyone wanting to watch the snooker. Ding is playing Trump. Seriously.

 

The analysts are talking about the future of the monarchy whilst dancing around the phrase ‘she’s got to die eventually.’

 

An American girl has given one of the presenters her straw hat and is teaching him how to courtsey. This is lovely, they’re really enjoying this— no-one does this stuff better than us… Probably because we have the monopoly on gilded carriages…

 

There’s coverage from Kate Middleton’s home village of Bucklebury. There are about ten people there who didn’t get invited and they’re all incredibly fat.

 

There’s a sixty year old man wearing Kanye-esque shades!

 

Performance artists and incredibly camp Spaniards!

 

This wedding has everything!

 

The crowds marching on the Mall are pretty intimidating… they’re just flowing like water…

 

The place is packed like the front few rows of a Bon Jovi gig… I’m getting kind of bored now… Oh! Someone just peaked out of a window. Is it Princess Catherine?

 

No.

 

There’s going to be an RAF flyover in a minute. It doesn’t get any more British than this…

 

It was Harry at the window apparently…

 

The camera is now just fixed on the window and the shadowy figures behind the net curtains…

 

 

Here they come!

 

The Prince and Princess are on the balcony and waving. This is brilliant, the crowd love it!

 

The Queen looks sooo bored. There are some kids dressed like toy soldiers.

 

We’re still waiting for the traditional kiss…

 

There it is! It’s more of a peck on the cheek, but this is Britain after all… the crowd cheer regardless…

 

The BBC have a presenter in the Lancaster Bomber leading the flyover. There are all kinds of technical difficulties and the presenter looks like he’s about to throw up…

 

There’s a second kiss! A second cheer! The planes fly over right on time… magnificent…

 

A second wave of more modern fighter jets in tribute to Prince William who is a pilot himself…

 

They head back inside, but there might be an encore…

 

No, that’s it. It’s all over!

 

Y’know what? I think these kids are going to be alright…