let’s tango

Rafi and Phillip never considered getting married. Until they did.


Callie: [00:00:00] Big shout out to Eric, Christie, and Jeff for becoming new patrons this week and to Yarrow for a pledge increase. Thank you, friends. Love you lots. My name is Callie Wright and this is Queersplaining. Straight up. It is a stressful fucking time right now. I’ve always said that in the broadest terms, I think there’s two kinds of activism, right?

There’s the kind where you go out and change people’s hearts and minds push for good policy and those kinds of things. And there’s the kind where you love on and support your community. You make them feel seen, heard, loved, help them find reasons to feel good, give them mutual aid, send them cash, send them food.

Give them rides, that kind of stuff. I’ve always been better at the second kind. I think. So the next two weeks, instead of election or political commentary, where I’m going to try to make some piffy smart political points, I’m going to be sharing wholesome, queer stories with you in hopes that. It makes you smile a little bit and helps make you feel a little bit less bad about all the shit that’s going on in the world right now.

So this week you’re going to hear one of the cutest love slash wedding stories I have ever heard. I know everyone deals with the current state of the world differently. But I also know that like for me, hearing good and wholesome queer stories helps me stay afloat. And I hope this story does that for you.

Rafi: [00:01:26] I’m Rafael Simon or Rafi Simon. I’m almost always Rafi, never Rafael. and, I’m a children’s book author and lived in Pasadena here with my husband, Phillip 

Phillip: [00:01:38] I’m. Phillip DeLeon, husband to Rafi Simon, and, I’m a textile designer by trade. but also a jazz performer, a jazz singer. And, we live in Pasadena with our two daughters, India, and Natalia.

So the first time that we met was at a party above Rafi’s apartment. He was living at this place called the tree, an 

Rafi: [00:02:03] old crumbling, apartment building in Hollywood, upstairs from us. it was a lesbian couple, very groovy young women. They told me that they were going to have a party and that they were inviting somebody.

They wanted me to meet. I was intrigued. But then when the day came around, I was very sick. I, you know, just snot running up, down my nose and I had I think a fever and I really didn’t want to go anywhere, but they live directly upstairs. So I figured I could just go upstairs for, you know, one minute, check this guy out, say hello and.

Come back down. 

Phillip: [00:02:38] The flip side of my invitation, the, of that invitation was mine in which they were casual friends that I essentially just met. And they said, we’re having a party and you should come. And that’s all they said, not to meet anybody. They just said, Oh, we’re going to have a party. It’s going to be really fun.

There’s going to be lots of people. Come. So it was a very casual invitation. And so I went with a few friends. And at that party that night Rafi came up bleary for what was maybe 20 minutes, if that, and made a beeline, essentially for me 

Rafi: [00:03:16] I had business to take care of. 

Phillip: [00:03:20] And so, suddenly I was being engaged by this very handsome, but somewhat bleary, young man. 

Rafi: [00:03:28] And I, and I said, hadn’t we met somewhere before.

Phillip: [00:03:32] Oh, right. And my friends overheard this, you know, they, you know, in the midst of, is very kind of, you know, cool and, and charming banter. He says, you know, haven’t we met before I said, I don’t think so. 

Rafi: [00:03:47] Friends thought it was a really cheesy line. Oh my God. How could you be interested in somebody who would.

You said who would.

Phillip: [00:03:55] Who would use that line, but it actually wasn’t aligned because in truth, what Raffi was recalling was that we had met very briefly at book soup, 

Rafi: [00:04:05] a bookstore in West Hollywood, known to be the bookstore of the rich and famous 

Phillip: [00:04:09] and kind of a pickup hotspot. I was there and was being chatted up by Ralphie’s, friend George Stoll, who, began chatting me up in the art book section.

And then Rafi comes up and says to George, George, we have to leave immediately. And George said to Rafi, before you go meet my new friend Philip, he said, hello, George, we have to go. And I mean, it was brief. 

Rafi: [00:04:41] I remembered it months later! 

Phillip: [00:04:43] And what’s funny is I was there with my sister and I said, I guess we should go. And I guess it’s time to go.

And she said, who were they? And I said, well, that was the sky George, who I just met. And then he had this really cute friend who I met for a millisecond who said, hello? And then they left and I’ll probably never see him again. Because I thought even then Raffi in his kind of Huff, which is really what that’s at the moment of needing to get out of the bookstore.

Okay. Oh, he’s interesting. 

Rafi: [00:05:16] And there we were at this party and yes. 

Phillip: [00:05:19] And so he dropped his line, he was charming. He wiped his nose and he left and the party went on. And I remember just before I left, I said to the lesbian couple, I said, Hey, thank you for inviting me. And by the way, the bleary guy. Where did he go and how do I find him?

And they were thrilled because of course the whole and sole purpose of me being invited was to make that love connection. And so they gave me Rafi’s number and that was the beginning. So I called Rafi and he famously played very hard to get. I’ve never encountered that with a potential potential, in my entire life.

I remember calling him and he was equally charming when I called him. And I said, so I said, and I think it might’ve been a Wednesday or Thursday. And he said, so what are you doing Friday? Do you want to go out Friday? And he said, yes. Well, no, I think I’m busy Friday. And I said, Oh, okay. I said, well, do you want to do Saturday?

And he said, I, I can’t do Saturday. 

Rafi: [00:06:22] It’s true. I was, I was, it was the one, the one week in my life or the one month in my life where I had actually had a real social life and a calendar that was full well.

Phillip: [00:06:31] So I last try. I said, well, how about maybe like a Sunday thing, how about, that Sunday? And he said, okay, This is going to sound awful, but I can’t do Sunday.

And he said, why don’t we do like the following Thursday? And, you know, I was not going to be free no matter what day he said, no matter what month and practically what year I was like, I can’t do that Thursday. I’m so sorry. He said, well, what about the following Saturday? And I was like, Hmm, I don’t know.

And I was just thinking, you know what, maybe I don’t really like this guy. And he said, you know what? Dammit, let’s go out tonight. I think, I think he said, let’s, let’s go out tonight. Let’s meet at the burgundy room, which was this very straight bar on Highland in Hollywood. And he’s like, let’s meet at the burgundy room and let’s just go have a drink.

And I thought, wow. All right. And so we did, he was. After playing so hard to get up. I remember at the end of that date, even despite how charming he really was, he walks me to my car and I said, you know, this was really great. And I really hope we can hang out again. And I just sort of put out my hand like, cause we were, in the middle of Highland.

I think it was. Still daylight and not, I was just like, you know, this was great, you know, let’s hang out again. 

Rafi: [00:07:46] And I, and I knew that I would play it a little cool. And I thought he was cute and I wanted to, you know, tell him I was interested. So, you know. 

Phillip: [00:07:53] He grabs my hand. He pulls me in and proceeds to, I think basically, you know, give my tonsils a kind of tongue massage.

Some kind and then kind of threw me off, you know, did it, and then kind of threw me off, you know, where I think I almost like, you know, hit my car and he said, see ya and walked away. and yeah, no, I think it was, I think it was a brash and bold move. It definitely. May I immediately got into my car and immediately tapped out my sister’s telephone number, you know, and said, I kept, he thinks I’m a slut.

You know, like I can’t believe it. and. I think my sister proceeded to say something like, well, isn’t that what he’s supposed to do? Like, is it after all of that? 

Rafi: [00:08:40] It wasn’t the 1950s. 

Phillip: [00:08:42] It was a tangled web. It was 1994. Yeah. And so, yeah, no, this was pre-internet. So, I mean, this is, this was, this was the way, you know, essentially, I mean, certainly the way we did it, I mean, it was just, we, this was just meeting somebody, going out, hanging out and, you know, and letting the chips fall.

Callie: [00:09:00] And how long did it take you to figure out that it was. Like a real thing? 

Rafi: [00:09:05] It’s hard to say. I mean, we tried to keep it kind of casual for a while and then, we broke up for a while and then we lived, he fill up, you know, lived across. Yeah. You know, I was, we kept moving plate and moving around town and, we didn’t actually move in together for what, like six years or something like that.

Yeah. Yeah, I think so. it’s around the millennium is when we moved, we moved in together. 

Phillip: [00:09:31] He, I remember saying to me, you know, Can we just kind of be, I mean, this was, you know, not just months into a couple of months into dates and that kind of thing. And he said, can we just kind of be friends and. Not have this get too serious or anything.

And I said, great. I said, we can do that. Even though I, I, you know, now I will say moons later that I was disappointed, but I thought, you know, the most important thing is just to be friends with this guy and kind of keep him in the loop and see what happens. So I played super cool and I was like, yes, let’s do that.

But then he decided to invite me to some. Club, what was it called? Jerry? It was cherry. The very, 

Rafi: [00:10:13] it was a brutal, was it, you know, in the era of like fun dance clubs? 

Phillip: [00:10:19] The key to that night was that my. Real secret weapon just happened to be his key weakness.

Rafi: [00:10:30] Phillip is a very good dancer. And I just like, you know, he kind of disrupt me out my. 

Phillip: [00:10:36] Well in terms of our friends status, sort of, you know, I think by the, by the sixth song and the second cocktail, I don’t know where it went, but it, it. Was gone. And we, that was sort of the beginning of, of the real beginning, to be honest, I didn’t really have a fantasy of what it looked like for two men to live together.

I mean, I really didn’t know what that looked like. And I mean, certainly for me,

Rafi: [00:11:06] I didn’t really either. I mean, I think, you know, for me, when I came out in college, one of the hardest things about that was sort of giving up on this fantasy that I’d had of, you know, of a nuclear family with a wife and kids.

And, but once I, once I made peace with the, you know, with being gay and, it never even occurred to me for a long time that I would. Ever have a life like that. 

Phillip: [00:11:30] I will say I loved my single hood. I enjoyed being a single gay man and I loved living alone. And so now that I’d met this person, I didn’t really know what I mean to me, cohabitation equal marriage.

In the queer world in my world 

Rafi: [00:11:48] for the youngsters, this was before, you know, before gay marriage. 

Phillip: [00:11:52] So, he was living in silver Lake and I was living, you know, in sort of mid Wilsher. And I picked up and moved to silver Lake to be closer to him, which I thought was definitely a, that a message saying I I’m I’m in I’m interested.

I’m yours. I’m. I’m coming, you know, and like, you know, like me a Pharaoh, you have your place on one side of the park and I have, you know, my place on the other side and we can just keep traversing the park, but Rappi really wore me down on a few things in life. And that was one of them. I think he actually.

By the time we were about six years or so into, 

Rafi: [00:12:30] I just put my foot down. It was time 

Phillip: [00:12:32] and it was, I mean, it was pretty easy. I mean, once we actually decided to do it, it was just, it was really pretty great and pretty easy. 

Callie: [00:12:39] You had mentioned that, you know, because this was well before the, you know, the, the idea of, of gay folks getting legally married was, was like a realistic thought.

Moving in together was like the highest aspiration for a gay relationship at that point for a long time marriage, wasn’t really a thing that you had wanted or thought about. But knowing that makes me wonder, like, was that a thing that you wanted, but didn’t think you could have, or like talk me through your thinking on that.

Like, after you had moved in together and after, you know, gay folks getting married started to become a little bit more part of the cultural zeitgeist, was that a thing that entered like, Oh yeah. Like maybe we should do this or was it still just not really a thing? 

Rafi: [00:13:22] I, I actually, accompanied friends of mine.

my friends might go one day, Daniel to San Francisco when got when then mayor Gavin Newsome briefly had marriages gay marriages in the, in San Francisco. And that was exciting and fun. And, and I think maybe planted a little bit of a seed for me, but, you know, I would say that. It wasn’t, it really hadn’t been too much part of our thinking.

And to some extent, I mean, that would be, I wouldn’t say that like we were radical counter-cultural queers, but you know, I at least had been queer nation and like he knew it was coming from a slightly more, you know, a place where, you know, marriage wasn’t like that. Cool. That was kind of what, like mainstream straight people did.

And that, I mean, I think part of my sensibility, came from a more, you know, I don’t know, alternative, background or whatever. So marriage, you know, it wasn’t really the focus for awhile.

Phillip: [00:14:24] I would say that, I didn’t have, a fantasy of what it was like to live with another man, but we created that and it was the greatest thing to create that fantasy.

And to me, that was kind of the ultimate like marriage, the idea of marriage. Never entered my mind. And when I heard other queer individuals talk about marriage, I thought, sure, yes, it should be a right, but did I want it? Did I, did I need it? Personally. I really didn’t. I felt once I actually figured out that I was gay, I thought, okay.

You know, all the, all the expectations that I felt as a member of my own family, as a Latino, as a man in, in my family, who is my family’s not very religious, but they’re traditional to a great degree. All that kind of. Was lifted off of me and I thought, okay. So I don’t really have to live by any of that.

I’m going to basically carve my own path and live life the way I want to and I to meet marriage and girlfriends. And children and all that kind of got put over there. And I was really okay with it. I thought, okay, I’m going to do something else. Capital S capital E. And I was, and I was just okay with that.

You know, really. Okay. 

Rafi: [00:15:58] And, you know, I mean, we we’re in love and happy together, but also feel neither Philip or I, that sentimental, I’m going to say most of the time and we have our moments, but generally not that sentimental. And we certainly weren’t that sentimental about the idea of marriage and. And we were going to have one thing we were not going to do was we were not going to have a commitment ceremony.

We were not going to have a wedding that wasn’t also a legal wedding. 

Phillip: [00:16:21] Well, the, the statement was moving in together and saying to the world where two men and we lived together and we lived together. Out in the, Oh, here we are. We are a couple and we’re living together. I mean, to me, it was the ultimate statement to my family, to my friends, to everybody else we were living together.

And I mean, that was, I mean, to, just to me, that was real. That was already the big. 

Rafi: [00:16:46] Right. And then, and then came kids, you know, that off the dogs never had, we actually, we have two dogs now, but that’s, but, but we didn’t, you know, we talked about getting adopting a dog and we never did. And then suddenly the, the kid conversation came up and that suddenly, that took over.

And so any talk of, you know, marriage was, Secondary then do the conversations about what children, whether we were going to have a child, or 

Phillip: [00:17:10] I, I agree with you that I think the concept of marriage really became, it was more politicized as a concept, as a queer individual and a part of the queer community.

And I thought, you know, that it was important to demand it, as a right. but was I just counting the days and, you know, and making my. My my groom book or my wedding book, and, and pasting in my, you know, scrapping in the colors and where it was going to be. And, Oh, absolutely not. In fact, I just, I really, I think just to me, the real hurdle was.

Coming out to my parents. Then the second hurdle was saying, and now that guy that you’ve been seeing a lot, we’re moving in together. 

Rafi: [00:17:54] So then, you know, so anyway, we, we then took the big leap, which was to have a child, which turned out and we, we, which we did through surrogacy. And at that time it was fairly, standard, in, in vitro situations to implant two embryos, which we were.

told was the safe thing to do, but wouldn’t necessarily be the twins, but it did surrogacy in vitro fertilization. As most people know, are very involved, complicated, and costly, you know, processes that that require lawyers and doctors and I, you know, and a lot of time and attention and care. So it’s the opposite of an Oops situation.

But. Nonetheless, the, the twin factor was a bit of an oops.

Phillip: [00:18:40] It’s funny because Rafi kept saying Rafi kept saying two things to me over and over. We used to have. At first it started with was very sort of light sort of joking about, you know, our child. We would make jokes about our child, our imaginary child.

And then Rafi started talking about how, you know, if that imaginary child was real, how it would expand our world and he began. That expand. Our world really became kind of a catchphrase and, and it’s something that he began to repeat less in a kind of joke coarse way and more in a kind of serious way.

And then he began to tell me about, like, imagine we just strap that kid on our back and we’re fleet. We’re going, we’re all, we’re all going all over the planet. It’s just, we were world travelers. Just the three of us and I could see it suddenly in my mind’s eye, I saw it. I thought, wow, he’s right in expanded world.

And we’re in it. And we’re traveling just the three of us. Yeah,

Rafi: [00:19:46] can’t do that with kids.

Phillip: [00:19:47] Just the four of us pretty instantly,

Rafi: [00:19:51] And we weren’t going anywhere 

Eventually our girls. Learn to walk and talk and starting to have opinions of their own, India and Natalia are their names. and I don’t know, when did they first come up? The, the, the certain point they started asking us why we weren’t married. And, and this was around the same time. , the Supreme court, finally, Decided that gay marriage was something that could be supported and, We just, we didn’t really have an answer, right.

I mean, like, that’s sort of, it kind of vaguely that, like I just started with the girls asked more than once. 

Phillip: [00:20:46] I mean, I think they did. 

Rafi: [00:20:47] I think they, and, they, they just didn’t understand why we weren’t going to them. you know, w w just seemed we were their parents. Why weren’t we married? and then eventually we, we just started to feel the same way.

You’re right. And we figured we’d go to city hall and make it legal and, you know, do the deed, but can I tell the story of the proposal? Yeah. 

Phillip: [00:21:11] Okay. Because I do think Rafi is right in that the girls. Planted the seed that they began asking when they became conscious as they’re now attending school and kind of being more conscious of other families. And certainly, 

Rafi: [00:21:24] Oh, I totally forgot about the proposal.

Maybe he’s going to propose now. No. Okay. Go on. 

Phillip: [00:21:38] It’s funny because you know, we weren’t sure. When the girls were very little as they became more conscious of the fact that our family wasn’t a. For lack of a better term, a normal family with a mom and a dad and whatever that they were actually the hiccup in terms of the American family.

We thought that they might have a self-consciousness or they might have issues with it, but. What really? One of the best things about our daughters is that we would be say for example, at the supermarket and the checker would say, and they were maybe at the time, maybe four or five and they would say, hi, how are you doing today?

And one of them would say, Oh, Great. Well, great. This is my dad, but I also have a Papa and we have two dads and we live in Pasadena and we’re twins and they would launch into this. I mean, all they really got was just a, how are you? Or Hey, hun. And the girls. Would launch and we had to start saying, you know, okay, so when people say hello, they’re just saying, hello.

They don’t need to know where we live and you know, our address and the fact that, you know, you have two dads, we, we we, you have to wait for them to actually ask, but they did plant the seed at when they began to ask that. And it was on my 50th birthday. we had a relatively large party. I sang at that party.

I remember, I mean, we had like a jazz group and we had family and friends and it was, it was, it was a festival crowd. It was pretty big. Rafi got up to what I thought was going to be kind of. I usher in the cake and do the happy birthday and whatever 

Rafi: [00:23:22] that microphone it was. I was, it was time for me to do my birthday.

Phillip: [00:23:28] Right. I thought, okay, it’s time for the toast 

Rafi: [00:23:29] home was I hadn’t prepared a toast. I had nothing, you know, I didn’t know what I was gonna say. And then I thought, Oh, I know. 

Phillip: [00:23:36] So he. Takes the mic. And he said, so I’m so happy everybody’s here. I mean, this seems like it’s just sort of the perfect opportunity, you know, to say this.

And I thought, Oh gosh, she’s going to get kind of mushy whenever my dad is there and whatever, like, Oh gosh, okay. I thought he was going to get really sentimental, which is, as Rafi has already said, we generally don’t do. And he gets down on one knee and the crowd just goes goo goo. And he says, you know, We’ve been together a long, long, long time.

And you know, the girls have been asking and I’ve been thinking we’ve been deciding, and I think it’s time, you know, Phillip, will you marry me? And, I mean, everybody is there. And I thought, well, I mean, I guess no matter what I’m thinking, there’s really no saying no. Is there, you know, and, And of course there is no saying no, I was, I was totally charmed.

And .

Rafi: [00:24:33] made your 

Phillip: [00:24:33] demand. I did. So I took the mic and I thought, okay, how do I take back? What do I say? How do I make this? How do I make this memorable? And how do I make him? 

Rafi: [00:24:47] And so 

Phillip: [00:24:49] I said, I will marry you. I said, but on one condition, Because in a tiny little, I will a tiny little digression here every time Rafi said, so can we get married?

Let’s get married. And I would say, ah, Oh, of course, I want to get married. Of course we should get married. But here’s what drives me crazy is the moment. Where the bride and the groom or the groom, the groom, or the bride, and the bride are supposed to have their first dance. And like, we’ve been to some weddings straight and gay where they get it with a bride, the groom, or the groom and the groom.

They get up to their dance and they’re doing some slow and they’re leaning on each other. They look like corpses, they look half dead, you know, forehead to forehead. Oh, God. And I, you know, that’s when I head to the bar to get the, my, my next cocktail, I just can’t. I just can’t do. And I was like, and I don’t want that to be me.

I just, I don’t see that. I don’t want that to be us cut to back at the proposal. I said on one condition, I said that at our wedding, we dance the tango. And the crowd went crazy and Rafi looked at me like you’re out of your mind. I can never learn the tango.

Rafi: [00:26:10] I really, I really had to think about it. I had to think back, is he going a whole week to this?

Could I possibly ever really do this? No, I knew I needed that. Wasn’t right. I, I figured he just wouldn’t hold me to it because suddenly I, by the way, cannot dance. 

Phillip: [00:26:24] Suddenly in my head, I wasn’t marrying Raffi. I was marrying Antonio Banderas and I saw at my wedding, me and Antonio Banderas. Doing the tango.

And I thought, of course, that’s what I want to do at my wedding, the tango. And so I realized moments later as Rafi and I were looking lovingly into each other’s eyes that I really did set a kind of crazy bar and the entire entire family and friend set. Knew what the plan now was for our wedding, that we would be tango dancing at our wedding.

Rafi: [00:26:58] So then, so then when we started to plan an actual wedding and the girls were excited about it, but the more we talked about it, then, you know, the more sort of nonplussed and disappointed they got because they realized that, you know, the wedding was actually going to be about us, not them because we were, I mean, you know, this is.

What about, you know, and we would say, we wouldn’t be like, well, what did we do? We say, well you’re going to be. 

Phillip: [00:27:23] The ring bearers and you’re going to be the flower girls. I mean, 

Rafi: [00:27:26] nothing really quite, it just wasn’t quite right. As far as they were concerned. And, and, and then they finally hit and they said, well, Can it be our birthday and our first reaction was, no,

Phillip: [00:27:42] I think we set it in unison and like immediately we were both like, no total.

Rafi: [00:27:46] Yeah. Immediate reaction was no. And then we kind of looked at each other and we thought, you know what, why the hell not we’re doing this for them anyway. 

Phillip: [00:27:54] So we decided to have the wedding. It wasn’t actually on their birthday. Exactly. I think it was on the day before. Right. It was on the first and they were on the born on the fourth, but essentially it got billed as a birthday wedding.

Rafi: [00:28:09] And that’s where the invitations all said you’re invited to a 

Phillip: [00:28:12] birthday. You’re invited to a birthday wedding. Their seventh birthday, the theme we decided, I mean, and of course we had to everything. Once we actually partnered with our daughters, what we didn’t realize then, but became glaringly clear.

Everything had to be cleared through them that we actually had to have meetings to talk about who. What, where, what to, wear? And of course we 

Rafi: [00:28:41] had to invite their entire class. Cause you know, when you win seven year olds have a birthday, you have to invite their 

Phillip: [00:28:46] classes, you invite the entire class. So on top of everything else we were going to have, not just like, you know, You know, maybe some flower girls, you know, or a ring bearer.

We realized that we were going to have a whole like corral of kids. And so therefore we decided there had to be some kind of like parade of kids. And I thought, how, how am I going to make this all look right? I thought, how am I going to, how am I going to make this whole thing congeal? And I thought, okay.

I think what has to happen is that if everybody at the wedding, children included it, everybody wears either white. Silver or gold, it’s going to look amazing. Well, I think everybody found it fun because all, because the one thing you’re not supposed to wear to a wedding, if you’re a woman. Is white or you’re not supposed to look like the bride, but suddenly all the women at our wedding looked like the bride because especially our daughters.

but, because of course we, we were in white as well, and it looked like we’d all died and gone to heaven. It was really beautiful 

Rafi: [00:29:51] and all the piñatas. 

Phillip: [00:29:52] Oh, right. Because it was a birthday wedding. So what, my mom and I decided that we were going to go down to, a, a part of downtown Los Angeles where they actually make piñatas, I think it’s called piñata row or something like that.

And we. Commissioned all these white piñatas, that we hung from the rafters of our living room because our living room is kind of barn style with a pitch, really high pitch ceiling. And we decided we were going to hang all of these piñatas and people in there with all those flowers that and made paper flowers.

So I did all of our friends over four days before, and we all confected and made until. We were fearful that they would stop liking us paper flowers, huge ones, like the size of like, you know, I don’t know, 

Rafi: [00:30:49] Frisbees. Out here. That’s true, much bigger, bigger .

Phillip: [00:30:53] Trashcan lids, trash can lid, huge paper flowers, best costume, you know, the ceilings and it, I mean, just 

Rafi: [00:31:03] Phillip did all the, all the dirt, all the real flowers on top of the paper flowers getting done.

And you got to the point where our, our caterer looked at us and, you know, 20 minutes before. The guests were supposed to arrive. And she said, aren’t you guys going to take a shower because we would just need, we just weren’t working and working and working, working and working. We were so exhausted. 

Phillip: [00:31:25] Yeah, it was, it was both the best and the worst day, because of course it’s the day that you’re the most photographed, you know, but we were both just shells of our former selves.

I mean, it was just crazy doing all of that work ourselves.

Rafi: [00:31:40] But it, but it really, it didn’t really work out. It was, it was, it was, it was fantastic. And the, and the birthday part of it, which, you know, was chaos was a lot of fun. And we, the girls had birthday cakes that we, we had before the wet, the broke the beginning of right there with the beginning of the ceremony, chefs came in holding the birthday cakes.


Phillip: [00:31:59] right before the wedding actually took place, but everybody was now in place and we had made the procession up to the stage and then. The chefs come in with the cakes lit and sparklers, and everybody sings happy birthday to girls. 

Rafi: [00:32:18] Over the top. Only a little.

Phillip: [00:32:20] Only a little bit. and then the wedding began, but, I think one of my favorite aspects of the actual ceremony itself, and I think it’s the moment.

When I realized I was so happy that we did this and. Not for political reasons or anything else, but for our daughters and for ourselves. 

Rafi: [00:32:47] So it ended up being so meaningful. I mean, I was sobbing the whole time and was totally unprepared for it because we’d been, we’d just been working ourselves to the bone.

So on top of like, you know, being quote unquote unsentimental people, we also were just like completely consumed with party prep. So like we did very little kind of emotional. Me no preparation. Right. And then it just hit us. And then we did our vows and they just like, look at each other’s eyes, you know?

And we were just, I mean, I was just, I was a mess. 

Phillip: [00:33:16] There was a moment during the ceremony where each one of us took a daughter and made seven circles. 

Rafi: [00:33:25] This is sort of an interpretation of a Jewish ritual because my family, my family’s Jewish. 

Phillip: [00:33:30] Right. But I remember there was Rafi and Natalia. Making circles around me and India with India in my arms, and then India and I holding hands made circles around Rafi and Natalia.

And that moment for me, really, really was just because at that point, In our lives. I mean, we were of course, yes, a couple and a very, very established couple. And I, you know, ha had, 

Rafi: [00:34:02] it was a celebration of our, a coupledom in our family, more than, I mean, more than there was a, like a wedding traditionally 

Phillip: [00:34:08] you could see, I think in the crowd too.

I mean, I think that it was just such a moving moment and what I loved about. The, the moments afterwards is so many parents coming to us who had children, because of course we had an entire class of kids and parents there, the parents coming up and saying, you know, after your ceremony, I had my kids coming up to me and saying, why didn’t you guys wait until we were around to get married?

So that we could be a part of it. Like they really had this moment, all of these kids were like, yeah, they were very angry. Like, why did, why didn’t you do this? Like, this is the way to do it. Which I thought was so amazing. I was just like, wow. Okay. Because I mean, for me, that was really just the magical moment for me.

It was almost like time stopped. And I just, just seeing everybody, you know, Kind of blurred in the background, but seeing Rafi and Natalia circling us and holding India and hearing her breath. And it was just, I will never forget it. It was really just a magical moment and suddenly everything the work.

The crazy. Every, it just all didn’t matter what mattered was just that moment. And I was so happy that they were all of these people with eyes on us.

Rafi: [00:35:34] It is sort of extraordinary where I think weddings at their best and certainly our wedding. It, it has this way of like collapsing your entire life into a single moment, you know, and or something like that.

And that’s what I felt there was all the years that we’ve been together. the love we felt for our children, then, you know, the, you know, the years stretching out ahead of us, 

Phillip: [00:35:58] you know, when you’re, when you go to a wedding, the new couple. You know, everyone has, is filled with love and hope as they launch, but we’ve launched in 94 and it was now, you know, 

Rafi: [00:36:11] the Sandra hearing is I was trying to remember what year 

Phillip: [00:36:15] it was, you know, 

Rafi: [00:36:17] it was back then, 

Phillip: [00:36:18] but.

Point being that what you had, what what everybody knew in that room was that there was love here, that there was a foundation of love that had been established so long ago. And everyone been, everyone had been witnessed to so much of our history already. And so for all of us to be here, And gathered to celebrate that history.

And now for this to be kind of a new launch, I mean, it was just really kind of amazing and really lovely and, 

Rafi: [00:36:49] And yes, I did do the tango or something or something like it.

Callie: [00:36:59] Rafi and Philip. Thank you for sharing your story with us and helping lighten the load a bit this week. And thank you. My friend for listening. If you want to help keep these stories coming, please consider heading over to patreon.com/queersplaining and making a donation to help support the show. I’m going to be posting a bit of an aside from this episode as bonus content this week.

If you want to hear some more about how Rafi and Phillips tango went, that’s the place you’re going to find those details. And if you can’t do that, a share or a shout out on social media is genuinely a big help too.

Next week. I want to do another wholesome stories episode. So I want to hear from you. Tell me about the last time someone did something nice for you. Tell me about something nice you did for yourself or someone else. If you’ve been able to find some happiness and comfort and all of this mess, tell me where it’s coming from.

You can record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected] or you can write it out and send it. To [email protected] either way. 

I want to hear from you before I go, I want you to know that if you’re lost, you’re hurting, you’re scared. If you feel like no one cares and no one understands, you need to know there’s a community out here that loves you cares for you knows that you’re capable of amazing things and that you are worthy of love.

If you’re struggling, please, don’t be afraid to reach out until next time friend. My name is Callie Wright and this is Queersplaining. .