Claire Black: Wedding day for ‘civilly partnered’

Couples convert their civil partnerships into marriages at Brighton Town Hall. Picture: PA
Couples convert their civil partnerships into marriages at Brighton Town Hall. Picture: PA
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YOU know that bit in Sex And The City the movie when Carrie and Big finally… Sorry, I don’t mean to impugn your dignity by suggesting you’re a fan of that film. But since I’ve seen it at least six times, let me explain.

Big and Carrie have by this stage been on and off for enough series of the TV show for Sarah Jessica Parker to become a Hollywood power player and Chris Noth, the actor who plays Big (I am taking nothing for granted) to land a role in The Good Wife. Finally, they live together in a ridiculously shiny New York apartment. It’s pretty much domestic bliss. Then one night, as he’s making the tea, she moans about them not being married and he says, as he’s chopping an onion (maybe it was an aubergine, or some basil leaves) “well, why don’t we?”

As proposals go, it might seem to be lacking in the romance department. There was no bended knee, no diamond ring hidden in a fortune cookie, no string quartet. Personally, that’s exactly what I liked about it. But later in the film, when everything goes (temporarily) awry, it’s this proposal that gets the blame. It was too business-like, too casual.

You can probably tell, given I’m still talking about it and the film came out at least five years ago, this troubled me. It rankled because when my partner and I decided to get civilly partnered, we did it in much the same way. It was a practical decision. We were about to embark on trying to have a baby and wanted to ensure that legally we would both be that (fingers crossed) baby’s parents and had to be CPs. Not exactly business-like, but most definitely pragmatic.

But then on the day, in Leith Registry Office, with our sisters in their best togs as witnesses, when the sun came pouring through the windows, it didn’t feel remotely practical. It felt romantic, just a tiny bit ridiculous and also totally, stomach-lurchingly amazing. And so last week, when the pictures started to appear on social media of couples converting their CPs into marriages as the law now allows in England and Wales and will allow in Scotland from Tuesday, as I looked at the happy faces, the kisses, the shy smiles, I felt properly moved. And a little teary.


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And it’s not just because finally, those who want to be, will be rid of the clunker “civilly partnered”. I couldn’t have known how massively significant this was all going to feel. Truth be told, I’ve often felt a little uneasy about the huge attention that equal marriage has commandeered in the gay community. The “we just want to be like you” argument doesn’t always sit easy with me – how about “we’re different and we like it that way”? But when I looked at those photographs I couldn’t find a single thing about which to feel cynical.

Same-sex couples can, in two days, make a commitment to each other in exactly the same way as everyone else – they will be equal in the eyes of the law. I can’t really tell you how good and right that feels. Now I just have to wait for a proposal.

Let me fill you in about felt-tip joy

THERE is a new craze in France. Colouring in for grown-ups. Absolument tout le monde is doing it apparently. Why? Because it helps reduce stress and relaxes. It is a way to zone out of the pressurised adult world and rediscover your inner child. Or perhaps it’s a way to avoid doing the dishes or online banking because this is a really crucial bit which needs total concentration in order to not go over the lines.

I’m not boasting here but this news that doing something creative is cathartic is not news to me. I have long been a fan of a spot of “making” in order to recharge my batteries. For me, this usually includes copious amounts of stationery and sometimes it even gets a bit more ambitious. I have been known to attempt to build a replica of New York’s Chrysler Building out of matches.

I didn’t just do that with a box of Swan Vestas on an unusually tedious Sunday afternoon, Matchitecture is a thing, you can buy the kits. You get a special little tool for chopping them and even a guide for doing mitred edges. It’s amazing. And so, although I usually cynically scoff at these kinds of new fads, I’m gonna get me a colouring book if for no other reason than it will allow me in good faith to buy myself one of those massive tins of felt-tip pens. Happy days.

Jolie bad show for Sony

Have you been feasting your eyes on the leaked Sony e-mails? Of course you haven’t. You are far too upstanding to indulge in the schadenfreude of a bunch of Hollywood heavyweights knocking lumps out of each other. And I am too. But not so much that I haven’t read about them and so I can tell you that in an e-mail exchange between Sony Entertainment big cheese, Amy Pascal, and producer Scott Rudin, Angelina Jolie was described as a “minimally talented spoiled brat”. To see why you should avoid saying something like this behind someone’s back just search for the picture of Pascal bumping into Jolie last week. Awkward doesn’t begin to cover it.


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