Home' LOTL : April 2004 Contents INTERVIEW16
M: I know!
C: No one!
M: After a few months, we felt comfortable enough to say, "Yes,
we're dating." So we thought, okay what are we going to do?
We're going to show up for a friend's premiere. We're going to
show up, we're going to walk down the red carpet hand in hand.
And it was a smaller premiere, it was my friend Alan Cummings'
movie, The Anniversary Party. He was having a premiere in
Hollywood and I kinda thought, "Okay, here we go!" We've
been dating for four months, it was a solid, We're-not-dating-
anyone-else-we're exclusive. And we got out of the limo, I
remember I got out and the photographers were kind of
standing around and they're like, "Oh, there's Melissa." And
then Tammy got out and they were like, "And ... THERE'S
HER GIRLFRIEND TAMMY LYNN!" And we just stood
there and I'm just smiling and laughing. And that actually took
the price off our heads. And I made a choice that yes, after a year
and a half of being together, seeing where we were going and
moving in together and her becoming a step-mother to my
children, after just a complete bonding, yes I wanted to make a
commitment in front of family, friends, community. Yes, I want
to do this, legalities, pieces of paper be damned, I want to
experience this. So I surprised her because she didn't know I
changed my mind, and I asked her to marry me.
C: Where was this?
M: We were in the Hamptons ... it completely surprised her.
And she said yes. And then we sat with it for a few months and
really thought, "What does this look like? What do we want to
do? We are going to have a wedding." And when we started to
plan it, I sat down with my publicist and my planner and all the
people and I said, Okay this is going to get out there because
all these things get out. And my publicist said, "I would suggest
that we have a press release, announcing that you are engaged."
And we talked about it and we thought, you know what? That's
just all we're going to say. And each publication can tell their
stories, either it's not legal or this or that or whatever but just
... we're engaged. And I remember the day it came out, it was
on the crawl on the bottom of the screen on CNN: "Melissa
Etheridge Engaged". And there it was! And I remember
strangers coming up to me, "Congratulations!"
C: How did that feel?
M: My experience of that was a lot of joy. And a lot of good
wishes. I think a lot of Americans don't understand that our
civil rights are compromised in the arena of marriage. They
don't understand. They're like, "Can't you get married in
Hawaii?" They don't understand the restrictions. The day
before the wedding was the day that Governor Davis signed the
Domestic Partnership Bill in California. And even though it
won't go into effect until 2005, we had had this amazing
wedding. Truly it was even more important to me than I
thought it would be. I mean, I knew I wanted to get up and do
this but it just ... completely blew me away. The next day we
were just ... shocked at how amazing and wonderful it was.
C: Had you ever done any sort of ceremony with Julie?
M: No ceremony whatsoever.
C: Why not?
M: It didn't feel right. No matter how much I tried to make it
right, it wasn't there. I would say that I'm not going to get
married until it was legal but I knew on the opposite side of my
heart that it was years and years of trying to make it right but
there wasn't that commitment there.
C: So Julie did want to?
M: No. No, no, no.
C: Do you feel a difference in the social climate if you had done
it 10 years ago vs. doing it now?
M: I think because our world, our society, is moving closer to
same sex marriage, I think it IS different now. I had a wedding,
I didn't have a commitment ceremony, I had a wedding and
you ask anyone who was there, that was a wedding and we are
married. The country, the state, has yet to draw up the
documents, but we are.
C: What about the gays and lesbians who say I don't need it, I
don't want it, it's a heterosexual institution, I have Power of
Attorney privileges, it's not necessary?
M: Then don't get married. There are straight people who
aren't married because they don't believe in the institution.
C: What was the hardest part dating another public person?
M: No hard part at all. What was nice was that she came into
the relationship understanding the whole social/public world
completely, had already had it on her own. And I remember
when we were dating, we'd go somewhere and oh my God, the
teenagers would go WILD over her! She would call me,
"Melissa-Hold-My-Bag", I'd hold her purse and she'd sign
autographs in the mall and they didn't know who I was at all.
And so she had this understanding of knowing what fame was,
and was completely comfortable enough in it.
At this point Tammy walks in.
M: Ladies and gentlemen there she is!
Tammy: (To me) Do you want some water?
C: Thank you, I have one.
M: She's good. (To Tammy) Is Charles here yet?
T: I don't think so ... what do you need?
M: I just wanted some wood.
T: I'll go get you wood.
M: This is Carson, we were just taking about you!
T: Stop it! Do you guys want anything to eat? We've got chips,
peanuts ... I could make a sandwich ... pancakes?
Melissa cracks up ... Tammy keeps listing foods, including bacon.
T: Can you tell who has PMS?
Melissa can't stop laughing.
C: Now what if I said bacon?
T: I would totally split a sandwich with you. I make a bacon,
mayonnaise, white bread sandwich.
C: Oh my God.
M: Do we have any turkey bacon, babe?
M: Because I haven't had any lunch. No, you know what, I'll
make a tuna sandwich. I'll have a tuna sandwich before we go.
T: I'm going to get you wood.
Tammy leaves. Both Melissa and I contemplate the little blonde
whirlwind that just blew through, offering everything from bacon
to firewood ... and smiling throughout.
M: That is just a millisecond of what life is like with her. I laugh,
every single day. I have joy in my life, every single day.
C: How lucky!
M: (Smugly) That's the name of my album!
C: So how lucky can lucky be?
M: It gets luckier every day. It's infinite, infinite!
Melissa Etheridge's Lucky (Universal Music) is in stores now. This
inter view is continued at www.lotl.com Log on to read what
Melissa has to say about September 11, Britney and Madonna ...
and to find out what kind of sandwich Tammy Lynn makes.
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