Better late than never! It's just me, crashing the virtual wedding shower arranged by the fabulous Erin. Don't worry, I was invited. It wouldn't be a proper wedding shower without the token gay man in attendance, right? Right. The internet is a fascinating place, and it occurred to me some time ago that it was even an amazing way to meet people. When I met Renee about a year and a half ago, I knew I'd met someone special. We started out exchanging comments on the 20 Something Bloggers network, graduated to reading each other's blogs, then to gchatting and emailing, and finally to meeting in person at an incredible blogger meet-up in Las Vegas. See?

Renee and Phil

I'm convinced we hit it off so well because we have so much in common. Her love of theater, politics, feminism, and sense of humor resonated well with me. I fell in love with her wit and her uncanny observations of the world around us. She made me think, she made me laugh, and most of all, she became my friend.

I've been quite open about my struggles to make sense of my own life through this website, and a quick look at my archives shows that I've come leaps and bounds from where I started. I've made no secret, at times, of aspects of my family and their less-than-ideal take on who I am. (They're coming along, but it takes a great deal of training, and training, of course, takes time.) My oldest brother got married a month ago, and I was naturally very excited for him. Though we talk more now than we did for a while there, my family and me, there are some things that remain off the proverbial discussion topics menu, as it were.

I know that time will work its magic, and with any luck, before long, my own family will start to work their way towards more open support. Until that time, I have friends. They're the people I choose to surround myself with, to get to know, and to share in this thing we call life. This, dear readers, is where Renee comes in.

When I decided to head to Las Vegas to meet twenty-five complete strangers I'd only ever interacted with over the internet, I had an idea that meeting Renee would be amazing. Nothing prepared me, however, for just how amazing it would be. I'm not just talking about how she and I ended up singing and dancing to "All That Jazz" by the Bellagio water fountain, though that was epic, to be sure.

The very first night I met her, we starting chatting and catching up like old friends. I congratulated her again and marveled about how soon she was getting married and how quickly the time had flown by to this point. I'm kinda paraphrasing here, but bear with me.

Phil: I remember reading about your engagement and now look where we are! Renee: I know! I'm so excited! But I also feel so bad. Phil: What? Why?! Renee: I feel guilty being excited to get married because others don't have the right to get married.

I was floored the moment she said this, and so moved. Renee, you are a wonderful soul, and I am so lucky to have you as a friend. And believe me, I am thrilled for you and literally can't wait to see the pictures of your wedding, to read the stories that are yet to come, and to see you in person again so I can congratulate you and give you an enormous hug.

Congratulations, sweetie!

(In case the Beau is reading this, stop scrolling here. This is only for all us girls at the shower, for the picture below may make others gasp in shock, slap me on the back, and say "Phil, you hound!" Okay, here it is.)

Renee on Phil