I've been a longtime reader of the Dan Savage advice columns--the readers write in with questions about sexual issues, relationship problems, and in some cases political issues related to sex and relationships. What I've liked about Savage is his gruff and blunt approach to readers problems and a willingness to tell you what you don't want to hear.
I have to say, though, this week's advice to a gay man whose boyfriend isn't invited to his sister's wedding misses the mark (it's the second item in the column). Apparently, the writer's family hasn't accepted his homosexuality and doesn't approve of his boyfriend (it isn't clear how long they've been dating, though Savage's answer suggests 2 years, which info might have been edited out of the writer's question in print). The invite to the sister's wedding was to the brother only, without a "guest" or "plus one" on the invite. Savage's response focused on the assumption that it was the family's homophobia that was behind this, and he advised telling the sister that he (the brother) plans on bringing the boyfriend to the wedding, or otherwise won't attend.
Now, I'm all in favor of a confrontation over the family's homophobia, if that is in fact the issue here. Clearing the air sooner rather than later would be if nothing else cathartic. But it's not entirely clear that the lack of "plus one" on the invite wasn't due to other factors--maybe this is a very small wedding and guests (even long term boyfriends) are discouraged, or maybe this boyfriend is an offensive brute and the sister would prefer him not being at the wedding.
But there's also the issue of basic wedding etiquette. Weddings are expensive, and space is often limited, and each additional "plus one" makes an impact. Letting an invitee bring a guest often means not being able to invite an old friend or relative. Sure, it's tacky to invite a person and not their spouse, but on the other extreme is the single dude (or dudette) who simply wants to bring along company to the event and invites someone they just started seeing or is just casual friends with. Anyone wanting to do that should approach it with the host(ess) tactfully and be willing to take "no" for an answer.
Dan Savage in this case seems to have hooked onto a family's need to accept their son's sexual orientation but has overlooked the difficulties of managing a wedding guest list and the need to handle it reasonably.
Of course, if the sister is just bowing to the family's homophobia, then screw that.
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