The other day something made me think of a long-lost friend, someone who just faded out of my life and whom I miss. And I remembered a conversation we had early in our relationship that maybe had something to do with why she let the friendship go.
She was telling me about a friend of hers in the neighborhood and said (this is almost a direct quote): "she and her husband have a multi-cultural marriage; it's so cool." Now my friend, too, is in a multi-cultural (bi-cultural?) marriage. So the implication, intended or not, was "your white-bread marriage is not cool."
I should point out that we lived in a very blue area of Oregon then; multi- or bi-cultural marriages were very common. Our circle of mutual friends probably had more "mixed" marriages than mono-cultural ones. So it wasn't like she was in a tiny minority and was thrilled to finally find someone more like her family. There was plenty of "validation" for bi-cultural marriage. I think she suffered from "white guilt" and was just trying too hard to be less white.
Now I didn't take offense at that, really. The conversation moved on. I couldn't think of what to say; I'm just not quick-witted. I should have pointed out that I am in one too: he's a good ol' Georgia boy, and I am a Yankee. We've had our share of bi-cultural struggles too. I almost didn't survive my first exposure to southern hospitality on a multi-state meet-n-greet tour the year before we got married. And I didn't think he'd call me again after the Thanksgiving celebration with my family, when my brother smashed a piece of pie in my niece's face - in the most loving way, of course - followed by a forced viewing of "Cabin Boy" in which people took turns talking over the movie, and turning up the volume to hear the movie.
Anyway, for some reason I was thinking about what makes up a "cool" marriage. And I decided that the coolest marriages I know of are the ones where the spouses love and respect each other, share the same moral, ethical, and religious values, and honor their commitments and obligations. So I guess my marriage is pretty cool. Even if we're just two boring white people.