I like the Bismarck the best. That’s the doughnut with the red-flavored jelly on the inside, powdered sugar on the outside. It’s the messiest, most impolite doughnut you can eat. And that’s the doughnut my friends bought and impaled with toothpicks topped with two cutout paper grooms for our reception. Actually, reception might be too fancy a word for what we did, since all there was to eat were those doughnuts.
The pre-doughnut wedding took place at the La Brea Tar Pits. I really love the tar pits. I love the smell. It’s my favorite place in Los Angeles. When I told invitees the location my partner, Alonso, and I had chosen, they all laughed.
“Oh, you guys are so fun.”
“Oh, you guys and your irony.”
“Oh, you guys.”
No one looks at you funny if you sing the praises of inhaling breezy jacaranda. But tell them the stink of tar gives you pleasure — and you want to be married next to it — and suddenly everything out of your mouth has two meanings.
Our group of 50 people trickled into the park at 9:50 on Sunday morning. I kept one eye on the lone security guard. We’d learned that the park likes you to pay for a permit if you’re going to have an “event.” But we had no intention of being eventful. No chairs, no P.A., no stage, no flowers, no booze. We just wanted to stand near the main bubbling pond and the drowning mastodons and get gay-married. So the only remotely ironic gesture of the morning was that our new legal status was about to become low-level guerilla trespassing. If asked to disperse, our plan was to have the wedding on the sidewalk outside the gate, or maybe by those huge concrete Donald Judd cubes.
But the gross 1,000-degree heat was on our side, and the security man stayed planted in the shade. He had no reason to budge. Our come-as-you-are, zero-frills invite meant that people showed up in shorts, with their panting dogs on leashes. The lone expenditure for the gathering was a T-shirt I’d bought the day before in Downey at Dark Realm. We were, visually, unweddingish enough so as to creep around low under his radar. If he was looking for a Barbra Streisand–shaped ice sculpture, he didn’t find one.
At 10 a.m. on the dot, our good friend Aaron, ordained on the Internet for $5 from a church made of air and extremely pliant beliefs, turned his iPhone sideways and read our vows. We I do’d, everyone cheered, and it was over in 60 seconds. We’ve been together for 13 years already; to wait a minute longer for what we came to get would have tried what patience we had left. A family of fanny-pack-wearing tourists stopped to watch. (“We went to those La Brea Tar Pits and saw two fat homosexuals get married and kiss each other right out in the open.”) Then a 5-year-old attendee pelted us with birdseed. Then he got another handful and did it again. Photos were taken between the perpetually sinking prehistoric witnesses, followed by a caravan to Bob’s Coffee & Doughnuts at the Farmers Market.
I don’t know what the employees at Bob’s thought when a huge line formed at their storefront and we cleaned them out of product. Or when people started snapping pictures of two guys coated in powdered sugar after splitting a just-married Bismarck. I didn’t ask, and they seemed not to mind. They just kept shouting, “Next!”