The senior bride | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

In August 2005, our first marriages finally annulled, I and my partner of many years decided to remarry. It was going to be a simple, undramatic affair, undertaken more for its symbolic value to us than for anything else. Definitely more than old enough to deserve to be indulged, we were prepared to walk through it all.

As it happened, neither we nor City Hall was prepared for our case: pne decidedly senior, the other mere months off seniorhood going for it again, two elderlies who, for all the care they have taken with themselves, look their age, or close enough.

My man may be leaner than many men his age, on this day proudly paunchless in jeans and a tucked-in shirt, but the shock of white hair and the lines on his face were not about to fool the lady behind the marriage license window.

My own hair is dyed ash brown—quite fetchingly, if I were to believe compliments—and bouncy, yet with some body. There are few other things age has taken away that allow to be concealed, let alone restored.

“Para kanino po yung marriage license?” asked the lady.

Taking reflex offense at the impertinence, my bridegroom and I looked at each other, but just as quickly conceded we were not the usual applicants at her window. And with one confident voice, we replied that the license was for us. She smiled sheepishly, and before we knew it, usiseros and mirones began to close around, prompting me to ask for some space and privacy.


“Both single,” I said.

The correct answer, I suspect, should have been “unmarried,” since both of us had been married. That little, unintended misrepresentation sent us to the family planning office, thereto be subjected to a lecture illustrated with diagrams of the reproductive systems I hadn’t seen since high school. A closer look at us, however, produced the necessary waivers.

Psychological tests

Still, we could not escape the psychological tests measuring our levels of preparedness for marriage. Some of the questions were unbelievable, but, the recidivists that we were, we already knew the standard right answers.

A further discovery was that more documents were required of second-timers; the apparent suspicion was that, having lived longer, they had done more questionable deeds than the normal never-before married applicants. Which complicated things for us.

The records of my bridegroom’s civil first marriage, for instance, disappeared with the town in which it was performed, which had been absorbed by another municipality. They were found in time, at any rate.

We had just gotten our license when we saw Sr. Christine Tan, a dear friend we were in fact seeing for the last time—she would pass away too soon. She had been fond of us as a couple, unanointed as we were. I broke the happy news to her.

“We’re getting married,” I whispered, bussing her.

She stepped back and, in a somewhat scolding tone, reacted, “What for?”

It took me seconds to recover from that, but got over any sense of disappointment soon. If there was anyone who loved us for what we were, it was Sister Christine.

Another nun friend, one from my own school, St. Theresa’s, was only partly pleased. She would only be fully relieved, she indicated, after we had gotten married in church, thus ending our status as lost souls. As it were, we had merely intended to be legal souls, so proclaimed by an all-too-human presiding judge of the Sandiganbayan, a high school classmate.

In fact, not being married didn’t take away, and could not have taken away at all from the quality of our relationship, but marriage has its decidedly legal and practical benefits.

Marriage will always touch off all sorts of reactions. But a second marriage, by its very nature, will touch a nerve, particularly among family and friends divided by the failure of the first one.

Either too biased for us or too unaffected by the rest of the meddling public, my First Draft friends, a writing group of hopeless romantics collected and led by Gilda, did the most natural romantic thing: they gave me a shower.

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