So, we got married a month ago.
Strange, as I’ve had a fairly strong aversion to weddings up until now.
However, last Fall two fabulous lady friends of ours had a stellar celebration that happened to be a pretty sweet wedding, too. Inspired, we began planning a similar reinvention of convention.
We brought our families to Zihuatanejo, drank margaritas, played Rummikub and danced to Beyoncé. My wedding dress was a high-waisted thong bikini, and my vows included a love letter devoted to Richard tearing raw meat apart with his bare hands. We ended by releasing a swarm of butterflies and self-ordaining ourselves Carla & Richard Rza Betts whilst leaping into a huge salt water pool at the edge of the ocean. It all felt like us, and after a lifetime of snarky wedding comments, I finally got why it meant so much.
Yet the most tender expression of commitment between Richard and I actually occurred during the week leading up to the ceremony.
It involved lots of pizza.
We travel for work over 300 days a year, which means that when we do come home to Boulder, the tools that fix all of those travel wrinkles include making our own food and working out plane-jacked muscles at the gym. While on the road we count the days til we can get home and grill a whole fish, served unadorned, save for lemon and great olive oil. After spending cramped time in countless poorly appointed hotel gyms, we eagerly jump at the chance to have our bodies wrecked by Erin, our trainer. It’s the healthy equivalent of a smart little slap to the face. Bam!, and you’re righted.
Therefore, in the month leading up to the wedding, Richard and I embarked on what Erin called Shreddin’ For The Weddin.’
Great! Shredding? I haven’t done that in years. And I do have that thong bikini, and I’m assuming there will be photos… Yes. My ass could use some shredding.
We cut down on drinking spirits, we eliminated the villainous evils of bread, pasta, rice. We got plenty of sleep and drank a ton of water. We did what you are told you should do on a regular basis.
Turns out that shit works.
We were approaching peak fitness! Richard considered running long distances again. I confidently glanced at my ‘wedding dress’ thong, laughing at the lack of backside material. I’ve got this, I stated with panache.
Then it all went weird. One week before the wedding, very suddenly and without warning we found ourselves in this uncharted territory of pizza in bed.
It began the night we saw Bella’s high school music performance. We got out of the show late and everything in Boulder was closing. We’d neglected to pack the fridge with all of those healthy greens; all we wanted was pizza.
In a moment of triumph, buoyed by the pride of a fit physique, I recalled that Safeway would still be open. California Pizza Kitchen BBQ’d Chicken Pizza! Obviously. He recalled that we had a bottle of cheap Chianti. How could one little night of debauchery derail our laser-focused shreddin’? We tossed the puck of a pizza into the oven, poured a chalice of wine, and jumped into bed to watch Game of Thrones.
(Quick Backstory: I enjoy Game of Thrones just like the rest of you. Up until now, Richard has mocked me for it. But we were both so deep into the nether region of breaking agreed-upon rules that I saw my chance. I nonchalantly suggested he give it a whirl and he caved. He asked me not to tell anyone. Sorry, babe.)
We woke up the next morning, two happy little sinners, covered in crumbs.
All very understandable, except that it happened the next night, too. And the next…
We spent the entire week eating pizza and drinking cheap Chianti every single night, moving through the first season of GoT like champions. This is not an exaggeration.
Admittedly, some nights we were forced to eat pizza in a pizzeria because we had guests, some nights we raised the bar and made the pizza ourselves. But most nights we looked at one another and silently nodded, turned the oven to 400 degrees, popped the $17.99 bottle of Chianti, and settled in bed for some soft-core-porn escapism.
Yet the most surprising thing of the entire week leading up to our actual wedding was how intimate our two-top pizza party felt. It was a very safe space of un-masking, even for our selves. We dropped our wedding goals, pushing aside any preciousness concerning the actual event. My accomplice understood as well as I that this moment in time was rare, rich with tenderness.
While single and living in New York, I used to find the same rejuvenating calm watching The Wire and ordering Golden Parcels (aka Crab Rangoon) from the local to-go joint in Chinatown. It gave me reprieve from an ever-encroaching city that always wanted more of me than it felt wise to give.
With Richard, I was reminded that what matters most for me is this stolen space, this secret and intensely personal haven. The ability to reclaim a slice of the planet is very powerful. The coolest thing is that I’ve found another human to sneak off with me! A best friend whom I trust not to make fun of me or judge my opposite-of-shreddin’ choices. He even voted for a second pizza on some nights.
In the most loving and bizarre way, eating pizza in bed was a week-long wedding where we were the sole witnesses. It was our version of committing ourselves to each other: privately, with laughter, Chianti and crumbs in our belly buttons.
-Carla Rza Betts