Most hacks would agree the best thing about being a journalist is all the free stuff. Whenever I meet young would-be journalists I tell them to channel their energies into areas that will help them get the best stuff, like music writing or travel writing. So I’m not complaining about nice publicity people sending me nice little things every now and again.

But I have to wonder about their brains sometimes. Last week I looked in my intray and found a small book called 25 Essential Things You Should Do Before Getting Married, by Joanne Fedler, an unmarried Buddhist author with an interest in wearing flowers in [her] hair. Right, I thought. This publicist really knows his or her market.

Unmarried Buddhist Joanne Fedler – to her credit – acknowledges there is some pretty shit stuff about marriage, like, how not everyone can do it. By that she means not everyone in a man/woman relationship can do it. Any complete bloody dickhead with a couple of hundred bucks and a willing person of the opposite sex can get married. I once saw a teenage wedding party lining up to celebrate their new lives together at Las Vegas’ Circus Circus $4.95 buffet -“ one of the worst buffets in one of the worst casinos in the strip. That teenage bride and her pimple-faced husband firmed in my mind for good that gettin’ hitched was not like joining some kind of secret society.

It’s easy to scoff at the sanctity of marriage when you’re a big dyke. We don’t have marriages, we don’t have bad weddings at bad casinos or ceremonies at RSL clubs. Sure, we have our cousins’ weddings, our old school mates’ weddings -“ but we don’t have our own.

Yes we do! my inner optimist cries. We have commitment ceremonies, and while they aren’t legal, they’re still an affirmation of two people taking that scary swan dive into forever, aren’t they?

I’ve only ever been to one commitment ceremony, and the groom and groom’s relationship lasted about as long as the crate of cheap champagne we all chipped in to buy them. The stories from other since-broken-up-but-previously-officially-committed people suggest the post commitment ceremony break up is possibly even more common than the straight divorce rate. Maybe with legally binding gay and lesbian marriages becoming a reality -“ at least in countries more tolerant of non-1950s hetero family models than Australia -“ us poofs and dykes can work on achieving an equal divorce rate for all sexual orientations.

Anyway, for those thinking of taking the plunge into the great committed unknown, Joanne Fedler recommends locking the door to one’s secret garden, loosening one’s hold and marrying one’s self first. To be honest it all sounds a bit bloody hard -“ I think I’ll stick to living in sin.

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