The bad thing about eloping secretly, as Midwestern Man and I did earlier this year is that people don’t seem to take your marriage seriously. To date I have received only one (ONE!) fucking congratulations card from my friends overseas (nevermind any presents!). As much as this annoys me – I bet my friends will be expecting a big present if they get married! Huh! – there is a part of me that’s glad our wedding was somewhat “under the radar”. Since we got married so quickly because of my visa situation, I guess I’m still waiting to see if things will work out. That sounds terrible I know but, well, it’s the truth. If we’d had a big wedding, and people had spent loads of money, and fussed over me, I’d feel terrible if we split up six months later!
Nonetheless, I do still think my wedding could have received a little bit more attention. To that end, I am sending out cool postcards to my friends featuring the courthouse where we got married and the hotel where we stayed. I’m hoping that my postcards will guilt trip them into sending me a card. The other reason why I’m sending postcards is simply because I just love sending proper handwritten “snail mail”.
I derive a great deal of pleasure from writing letters and postcards, so much so that I sometimes wonder if I’m normal. Letter writing for me isn’t a haphazard, random affair – there are certain requirements which must be fulfilled for me to feel happy about the letter. First of all, there’s the pen. I refuse to write with anything other than the “Precise V5 Extra Fine Rolling Ball” in black ink. It absolutely has to be black ink. My worst nightmare would be having to write a letter with a biro (or “ball point” as it is known to you Yanks). That would be vulgar and…just heartbreaking. With the “Precise V5”, I just love the way the ink looks on the paper. If I didn’t write in such a weird way, I would use an old-fashioned quill, but I would smear the ink as I wrote. Sigh.
Due to time constraints, I usually send more postcards or birthday cards than letters these days, so the type of paper isn’t an issue. When I do send letters, though, I spend ages in the stationery shop examining the colour, texture and pattern of each sheet of paper. I probably get more pleasure from looking at, touching, sniffing and imagining my pen stroke on paper than I do when I imagine caressing the body of a man.
Once the letter or postcard is finished, there’s the question of the envelope (I always put my postcards in envelopes because I don’t want the postman reading what I’ve written and, besides, you can write more if you don’t have to leave room for an address). The wedding postcards are an unusual shape and, at first, I sent them out in horrible, brown business envelopes because I couldn’t find an envelope that would fit them perfectly! But then I did!
When the envelope is sealed, I will then write the address on the front of the envelope; stick an address label on the top left-hand corner, and an airmail sticker – if the letter is going abroad – on the bottom-left corner, and then I will add the stamps. It all must happen in this order otherwise I will worry that my letter will somehow be jinxed and will go missing. I have considered measuring the distance between the edge of the envelope and the address label/stamps/airmail sticker to make sure that they are always positioned at the exact same distance each time, but I have resisted doing this because even I can see that’s totally obsessive. I will admit, though, to feeling a pang of sadness if I take the envelope to the post office, and the clerk sticks the stamps on willy-nilly. Worst of all are those awful, ugly stamp labels they use nowadays instead of proper stamps. These are disgusting! I must have stamps! Preferably the most pretty stamps they have. I was particularly gratified to discover that there is currently a forty-four cent stamp with wedding rings on it, which is particularly appropriate for my wedding letters:
If I add two of these stamps, plus a ten cent one, then my letter will find its way back to Europe in no time at all!
I don’t know why writing letters, and their presentation is so important to me. I think perhaps it is because I am actually quite artistic, yet don’t do any art, so the choice of paper, envelope and stamps is like a little art project for me. Also, it makes me happy to think of my wee letter winding its way through the world’s different postal systems, and eventually finding its way to its destination. I wonder about all the different people who touched it, and I wish I knew who they were, and could find out about their lives, their loves, their passions. Then I think about my friends and what they were doing immediately before receiving my letter. Were they having a good day? Are they happy? What do they think about my letter? Do they care that I spent so much time choosing the paper and the stamps?
I’m sure they don’t care, but it just makes me happy that my friends have received something so entirely, well, me, which has been touched by so many people before it reached them. God knows why, but I find all of this unbearably romantic. How could an email ever convey so much humanity?!