...and comes in second. They were competing against 9000 other couples, so... it's a victory for our side, culturally speaking, and lots of folks are writing in asking me to post something about this on Slog. Here's your post. Best wishes to all the couples who entered—the couple who won the $100,000 dream wedding, the first-runners-up (our boys, who won a $7500 C&B gift card), the second-runners-up (who won a $2500 C&B gift card, and... um... the couple with "the most votes." The top vote getters won a $500 C&B gift card. Which seems a little unfair.
Now let's handicap these upcoming marriages, shall we?
From the second-runners-up's profile:
I can’t wait to live in the same state, city, and house as Karl for the first time. I look forward to waking up next to him, eating 3 meals a day with him, shopping, relaxing… enjoying life’s simple pleasures that we’ve had to enjoy apart for the past 3 years. We love the outdoors, college football, and cooking out. We can’t wait to enjoy these things in person and kiss Skype goodbye! I cannot wait to take care of Karl and allow him to do the same; wedding bells can’t ring soon enough!
These two have been in a long-distance relationship the entire time they've been together? Divorced within a year.
From the first-runners-up's profile:
Boy meets boy, boy falls for boy, and boys get engaged. The pure existence of our love is not always accepted. We had to deal with hatred from outsiders and support one another in recovery.... A perfect day for us is a day that is very similar to our wedding day. It is a day that we are free to spend together and to enjoy the company of our friends and family. One of our favorite weekend pastimes is venturing out to the vineyards in Virginia with a small group for a wine tasting and picnic.
Recovered drunks don't have their weddings at vineyards. So whatever these boys were addicted to (besides hair product), it wasn't booze. Moving on: leading with your recovery status/story seems like a bad sign. "Recovery queens"—that title doesn't refer to all people in recovery, but only those who won't shut up about being in recovery—tend to be "processy" types. I've watched a lot recovery queens process themselves right out of otherwise decent relationships. Also, your actual wedding day is a high-stress nightmare that you'll barely remember. Saying that you want every day to be like your wedding day smacks of high-to-unrealistic expectations. Relapse within two years, divorce within three, will share custody of dog, re-recover, remain friends.
From the profile of the $100,000 wedding winners:
Finding a roommate in San Francisco can be daunting so I was relieved when my friend Jen recommended her co-worker look at my apartment. Jaclyn arrived on my doorstep double-parked, tired and defeated from her roommate search. I thought she was perfect. We talked, we laughed, we awkwardly flirted. I was sold. The following day I sent Jen an email saying: "Next time you send my future wife by, please give me notice so I can buy an engagement ring!" I was only half joking. After 5 incredible years—each one better than the last—the engagement is a reality!
These two have potential. Their profile is all about how much they enjoy spending time together biking, riding, surfing. So long as neither regards the ring as license to turn into a fatcouchpotatoso, they may make it. But all bets are off if they have children. Children will seriously cut into the biking, riding, and surfing. Childless: they make it. Children: divorced within seven years, both remarry quickly, both come to regret divorcing original partner.
And from the profile of the couple who got the most votes:
On May 27, 2009, my fiancé Densey, a Chicago Police Officer, was paralyzed in a head-on collision while responding to a burglary call. He was in a coma for four weeks, but we were married in the hospital when he awoke. Almost a year later, Densey grows stronger daily, but our lives are forever changed. With mounting medical bills, we can¹t think about our dream wedding on a beach in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Densey has a machine that helps him stand for 30 minutes. To see him waiting for me, words cannot describe the feeling that would give me.
Um... seriously, C&B? You gave these two—the ones with the most heartbreaking story, the ones WHO GOT THE MOST VOTES—the $500 gift certificate? WTF?
UPDATE: I made a mistake. Here's the gay couple's entire profile from the Crate & Barrel website:
Gregory and Jonathan: A Love That Beat the Odds
Our love story.
Boy meets boy, boy falls for boy, and boys get engaged. The pure existence of our love is not always accepted. We had to deal with hatred from outsiders and support one another in recovery. Our love story involves the evolution of the meaning of love and the perseverance that allowed two people such as us to openly experience happiness. We knew that we were right for each other from the start, we knew that we would always be by one another’s sides and that as best friends we could truly experience our love openly.
Three important details about our Ultimate Wedding.
The three key things for our wedding are simply friends, family, and fun. We want a simple, but elegant affair at an outdoor vineyard in the DC area with our family and friends from across the country. Our family and friends are very important to us and our dream day would not be complete unless we were surrounded by all of them. And we want all of these people to be able to celebrate our love for each other and enjoy a memorable occasion.
Our everyday dream day.
Beauty, tranquility, and love characterize our perfect day. A perfect day for us is a day that is very similar to our wedding day. It is a day that we are free to spend together and to enjoy the company of our friends and family. One of our favorite weekend pastimes is venturing out to the vineyards in Virginia with a small group for a wine tasting and picnic. It gives us the opportunity to enjoy each others company, be absorbed by our surroundings and get away from the hectic lives we lead in the city.
That's all they wrote, or all Crate & Barrel posted on their website, and that's all I had to go on. I read "support one another in recovery" and "perseverance" and the suggestion that it was unlikely for "two people such as us" to "beat the odds" and "experience happiness" to mean that the guys had been, you know, in recovery—that they had gotten off drugs and or alcohol, like so many other Americans. I was wrong. It turns out that one of the men had been pretty brutally gay bashed... and that's what they were referring to when they wrote that both men had been in recovery. Maybe I'm craaaaazy, but that seemed like a pretty unambiguous reference to substance abuse recovery to me. Do people who've been bashed refer to themselves and their partners as "being in recovery" after the bashing? Anyway, they have a pretty harrowing/inspiring story. You can read more about Gregory and Jonathan here. My apologies for getting it wrong, but... sheesh, people. Who reads about two people supporting each other "in recovery" and doesn't think "12-step program"?
And if you read the comments thread—enjoy—you'll learn why the cop and his wife didn't get the top prize despite getting the most votes. They have no one to blame for losing this thing but their gay-bashing asshole friends.