Or, “Why I’m Keeping My Last Name.”
So. I’m getting married today. (Relax. This post was scheduled, like, a week and a half in advance. I am not actually typing this out on the morning of my wedding.) The ceremony will be in a local city park, and we’ll be picnicking slash barbecuing right after. (Also, we have a beer permit. Or, we will… if I can remember where I put it among all the other stuff.)
Because the total number of guests is smallish and because we enjoy this sort of thing, my partner and I will be doing the cooking ourselves. Partner has an electric smoker as well as a couple of tried and true recipes for pulled pork shoulder and smoked salmon. Originally, the main course options were going to include those along with some — still in its experimental stages — smoked beef brisket.
But then I got difficult.
You see, while I will eat pork and beef, they’re not exactly my favorite foods. As for salmon, well, I firmly believe that the only way to serve it is sushi grade and raw. If it’s not… it’s salmon for someone else.
And — and this is where I start to feel sheepish and apologetic but really shouldn’t — after making a good effort to ensure that the dietary needs and preferences of family and friends would be adequately covered, the next thing I wanted was to serve — and eat — a food that I really, really liked at an event that was really, really important to me. Food is sometimes important for emotional reasons, and this was one of them.
Only, just as I had my heart set on one of my favorites — foil-wrapped whitefish, I was thinking — my partner was set on his. Moreover, there were practical reasons why whitefish — a food that could not really be pre-cooked and re-heated and of which leftovers would not keep well — was not a viable option. To complicate matters, there were some wires crossed, and when I said that the pork — which we’d been eating regularly up to this point (and will likely continue to eat regularly in the future) — was not something I especially enjoyed, it hurt my partner’s feelings. If part of food is emotional, it gets to be emotional for everybody.
Not gonna lie, given our various emotional baggage, this was actually a profoundly uncomfortable sticking point for a couple of days. (Also, food-created discomfort with one’s cohabiting meal partner, both of whom already have their own separate food and eating issues? While it certainly was not tragic for us, it was the discomfort that kept on giving.) But it was never going to be a deal breaker (so I guess this is not, technically, the chicken that saved my marriage — but it was too awesome a title to forgo), and I think it was always in the back of our minds that the solution was to find a third option that worked for both of us.
Which is eventually what we decided to do — We researched online for alternate recipes that fit our respective emotional nooks and crannies. Eventually, we settled on one for crock pot chicken drumsticks (source and our modifications to follow in a later post). We tried it the first time according to the written specifications, agreed that we’d like to tweak it to suit our respective palettes, but also thought that the overall concept was a keeper.
And this is what we do. When something comes along that messes with both of us and ends up with our wants conflicting, it’s never a matter of one of us “getting our way” at the expense of the other. Most often, we come up with something that isn’t a compromise, strictly speaking, but is a promising option that is new to both of us.
On that end, the idea of changing my last name doesn’t seem right in the context of our relationship. (It also doesn’t seem right in the context of me, which is probably a big part of why I’m in the relationship that I am.) One person changing — even names — while the other is immovable just isn’t a thing we do, even — ahem — nominally.