Unusual Proposals and Arranged Marriage
“You should marry each other” was the first thing i said to Lucifer and Mermaid when they met almost 15 years ago. And they did. But i am getting ahead of myself, for the story has a curious beginning.
When i married Adela Kubickova (a charming, recently retired bank robber) she comically took a Czech form of my first name as her last name and became Adela Paxova. I decided, somewhat culturally recklessly, to follow her lead and change my name to Paxus Adelova-Calta. She was amused by this choice but did not share me why.
It turns out that in a classic sexist fashion Czech (and some other Slavic) women who get married take their husbands last names with the suffix “ova” or “a”. In it’s worst interpretation this means “property of”. What it also signifies is the person is female.
So without knowing it i had taken a name with a female gender identification. Thus, when i registered for an anti-nuclear conference in Slovakia, i surprisingly found that i had been assigned to a women’s dorm room. Fortunately, the only other person in this room was Mermaid, a French recycled materials artist and anti-nuclear activist.
Lucifer is from Russia. To ge to this same conference he had been harassed by the Czech border control and forced to go around thru Germany and Austria to get to Slovakia costing him time and money, which was why i suggested they get married in the first place. What i did not realize was that this suggestion would catalyze a real romance between these unusual radicals and some months after i did the following completely illegal marriage ceremony for them described below, they fell in love and got married for real and for a while lived together. [i note that the details of the story are different in this speech than in my above story, i like the one above better and it might even be right.]
Mermaid and Vladimir wedding at the Gates of Temelin
6 Redder 1997
Today i am honored to join together in marriage 2 extraordinary people
One old Comrade & One new friend
Here is a small part of their story Vladimir comes from the cold Russian Empire. Mermaid was born and raised in France, but has escaped to Denmark. They have both been fighting nukes for years – one in the east, the other in the west
They met for the first time two weeks ago. In a beautiful Castle in Budmerice Slovakia. Vladimir was explaining to me how he had again trouble with the border police who had pulled him from his train and sent him many miles and many hours in the wrong direction. i suggested he marry a west Europ
Mermaid was sitting beside me and said “i will marry you” i think it was the first words she ever spoke to Vladimir. They have been falling in love ever since.
Everyone loves the idea of this marriage (except Mermaids mother) We all know that east and west must join forces to stop nuclear power And it is especially important to stop the Russians and the French So this marriage has significant symbolic value
In the last two weeks they have developed the following wedding vows for each other:
Do you, Vladimir, promise to tell Mermaid your entire life story as a revolutionary in Russia with all it triumphs and failures ? [Response from Vladimir: Ah oui] And do you Mermaid, promise to testify before the European Parliament, when Vladimir is arrested by the Russian secret police and demand his immediate release wearing this wonderful wedding dress [Response from Katell: Da]
And do both of you, Vladimir and Mermaid promise to joyfully fight nuclear power with all your force until every reactor on the continent is shut down. [Both: Da, ah Oui]
i now pronounce you Lucifer and Mermaid
and wish you a very pleasant honeymoon at the gates of the Temelin Nuclear Power plant.