Tomorrow is January 8, one calendar month from the day Australia finally came into line with the rest of the modern world and passed the Marriage Amendment Act.
In real terms that means we're less than a day away from actual gay weddings happening and I couldn't be more excited. As we've heard so many times over the past few months, allowing same sex marriage is a slippery slope and now that we've started down it, I have my fingers crossed that I'll soon be allowed to marry my cat.
However, before we get around to passing any such Slippery Slope Amendments to the Marriage Act, I'd like to suggest an amendment to the wedding celebration itself. I am on a one-woman mission to whip up support for the abolition of gift registries.
Apart from the fact that many of us already have enough stuff, it never seems particularly gracious to send out an invitation to your special day, accompanied by an extensive wishlist of gifts. Reading between the gilt edged lines, it's hard not to interpret the invitation as follows:
"Dear Friend, you are invited to attend our wedding, a wondrous celebration of our love for one another. Attached please find an inventory of products we'd like from this particular store. We ask that you respect the fact that we spent an entire afternoon walking around the shop pointing at stuff we wanted with a barcode gun, so please do not inflict your own taste upon us by buying something that is not on the list. The aforementioned store will also wrap your gift and have it sent over, so if you wish to save yourself the trouble of deciding which of these pre-selected, pre-wrapped gifts you'd like us to have, you could simply send us your credit card details. Please don't forget to include the three digit CCV number on the back with your RSVP. Blessings."
I have heard people justify the need for a gift registry by saying it makes things easier for guests.
But if we are close enough friends that you have invited me to your wedding then I am more than happy to put some thought into finding you a gift.
Yes we're all busy people but hey, it's your big day and I don't mind taking a bit of time to waft around a shop (or the internet) to find you a present.
And if I really can't think of anything, then I can always call your mother or your sister or your best friend and ask them if they have any suggestions for things you really need. If I happen to choose something you don't particularly like, well that's just how it goes I'm afraid.
On the upside, you will have an excellent conversation starter. Every time you pull out that hand painted platter featuring a beagle in a suit wearing sunglasses that is unquestionably awful but also a really handy size so you do actually use it quite often, you can roll your eyes and say: "Kitty Flanagan gave us this, apparently she's got a weird thing about gift registries, I don't even know why we invited her to the wedding, she must have been on the second or third round of invites."
I think gift registries also rob you of a good time when you open your presents.
Opening registry gifts has all the excitement of unpacking a box of crockery when you move house. How much more fun would it be not knowing what you were going to get.
You and your new husband or wife can spend the day unwrapping gifts playing, "Guess who gave us this?" It's a simple game played by opening the present first and the card second, it's a great way to find out who knows your friends and relatives best.
After that, you get to have more good times writing thank-you cards. The trick is trying to sound genuine as you say things like, "Dear cousin Layla, thank you so much for the benchtop spit roaster rotisserie oven. This is going to come in so handy as Jim has always dreamed of operating a BBQ chicken franchise from our living room! At the moment, it's sitting in pride of place, taking up most of the kitchen bench but we have a carpenter coming first thing Monday to build us a special cabinet to accommodate it. Thanks again!"
I understand that my idea of abolishing gift registries is not the most timely proposition for any newly engaged, same-sex couple.
Those who have spent decades dutifully purchasing registry gifts for heterosexual friends' weddings could be forgiven for wanting to write up one of those grabby, Veruca-Salt-style wishlists for themselves.
To that end, I'd like to send my heartiest congratulations to any gay couple getting married tomorrow or in the near future and say that if you are willing to get on board and eschew the gift registry, then I will make sure you are rewarded with one of those fabulous hand-painted platters featuring a beagle in a suit wearing sunglasses.
Kitty Flanagan is on tour with her new show Smashing. Go to kittyflanagan.com for all tour details
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