Ariel Levy brings some queer to the best essays of this year


Having a lesbian on the inside of any business is always good, but I find it particularly effective in the media (see: Rachel Maddow). When I found out New York Magazine writer Ariel Levy was playing for our team (back when she was an NPR contributor and the new author of Female Chauvinist Pigs), I was thrilled. A woman on the inside!

October has been good to Levy, who had a high-profile interview with Stephen Colbert as part of last week’s New Yorker Festival. Despite his expected wit and jokes (such as referring to the feminist as having “a hot little bod”), Levy was a great interviewer and pulled out a lot of information from the famously funny personality.

An even greater accomplishment, though, is that Levy’s story “The Lesbian Bride’s Handbook” (from New York Magazine, April 23, 2007) is being featured in the newly published The Best American Essays 2008. The essay was a first-person narrative on her wedding to her partner, and how she had several obstacles to overcome, from what to wear (white?) and if it even constituted a “real” wedding. An excerpt from the piece (which can still be found online):

I am not a total idiot. I always had the sense to say no wedding cake, no officiant, no first dance, no here comes the bride, no Times announcement, and absolutely no white dress. Who are we kidding? And why? We just wanted a big, awesome party where everyone could meet and go bananas. It’s a special opportunity, you know: The only other time everyone you love will assemble in one place is at your funeral. (At most weddings, some people you don’t actually love will also be in attendance.But the silver lining of my parents’ being irreverent and Amy’s parents’ being in denial is that we didn’t have to invite anyone we didn’t want to.)

The thing is, though, you have to serve something, and you can’t very well go naked. You can call it a party about love all you want, but you still have to make all the same decisions that every other bride has to make, and you have to make them very carefully unless you want everyone you know to schlep to some crummy party in the middle of nowhere.

The comical piece should strike a chord with any gay woman who ever considered the idea of a ceremony celebrating “till death do us part.” And to the straight people who buy The Best American Essays 2008 and read Levy’s account, take a good look at how non-Bridezilla lesbians are. Seriously, we’re the least of your problems.

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