Because your ol’ pal Jean is an extremely sensitive person with a not inconsiderable amount of ESP, I had begun, a while back, to pick up a distinct vibe that wedding bells would soon ding-dong for a lucky someone in my life! Natch, the top candidate was Patti, who’s still going strong with her squeeze Barry. A close second was the worker at the 24-hour Taco Bell near our place who sometimes has her baby strapped to her in the drive-thru booth. But no mistaking it, love was in the air! (And no, it wasn’t the nail-polish-remover odor from that recent chemical spill a few miles away!)

Turns out I was 100 percent right! (Cue the Twilight Zone theme!) A person I knew was putting a ring on it! But I couldn’t have been more off on who it was: my buddy Fulgencio! (Cue some Spanish-sounding music!)

The nutty thing is, I never suspected Fulgencio even dated! I always figured he never had the time, since he’s always crazy busy with one thing or another, whether it’s managing his consignment-clothing boutique or creating costumes and makeup for his zany dress-up friends. He’s grown so busy lately that I’ve virtually been running his ¡Basura Fabulosa! flea market stall all by myself. (Incidentally, we’ve now expanded to cassette tapes and Happy Meal toys, so be sure to come on down!)

So thrilled to pieces was I to receive Fulgencio’s beautiful invitation in the mail that I had a hard time picking myself up afterwards! I couldn’t wait to meet the woman who was making an honest man of him after all these years. According to the invitation, her name was Louise, and the marriage celebration would be held that upcoming Saturday at the converted old church where those friends of Fulgencio practice wearing dresses and lip-syncing to Beyoncé!

The next morning, before heading to the flea market, I swung by Fulgencio’s consignment boutique. He was at a loss for words. Literally—because I had given the little guy the warmest, most personal space-violating hug you could imagine! “I am soooo happy for you!” I squealed. Fulgencio seemed really touched, once he caught his breath. “Girrrl,” he said (that’s his funny little nickname for me!), “that is so sweet. I’m really happy, too. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how you’d react.” Whatchu talkin’ about, Willis? He was worried about whether a gal who sits at the mall food court pretend-matchmaking shoppers with one another approved of his upcoming nuptials? “Fiddle-dee-dee!” I said. “Life is soooo much better when you have someone to share it with!” (Exhibit A: me and the hubby!)

I got the invitation a mere two days before the event, so I used what little time I had to hunt down a gift and an outfit. Succeeded with flying colors on both accounts (a Crock-Pot and a perfectly timed Catherines sale!), but in my whirl, I had hardly paid any mind to Hubby Rick. The only thing that Rick hates more than weddings is me having something over him, so it didn’t surprise me that he was madly jealous over not being invited. And jealousy was obviously talking when, as I was about to make my exit, he said, “Enjoy your gay wedding.”

Sheesh to the tenth power! I mean, way to put a vulgar spin on the true meaning of the word “gay” when you’re talking about such a beautiful, romantic event! But it’s exactly the type of thing Rick is capable of when he’s not getting the upper hand. No worries, though, for I was quick to fire a great comeback at him: “Thank you, Rick. I do hope to have a gay time.” Then I sailed out the door. (Pure class: Take note, Jeanketeers!) His usual scornful guffaw echoed through the hallway, but clearly he was trying to hide the giant, shiny silver platter he had just been served on!

I was glad I had remembered to grab the invitation at the last second, because I couldn’t recall the address of the old church. When I arrived, the place was thick with Fulgencio’s friends, a few of whom I recognized. A couple of them wore dresses, but most wore boy clothes. I finally found Fulgencio, dapper in a beautifully tailored white jacket and black bow tie and pants! At his side was a guy I recognized as his roommate Louis, who wore a black tuxedo. I congratulated Fulgencio again with another she-bear hug.

“Girrrl, aren’t you going to crush the new Mr. Ivey-Moreno, too?” said Fulgencio, pointing to Louis.

Say what? I was totes confused. Moreno is Fulgencio’s last name, so why would Louis go by Moreno…

Oopsy.

Jeanketeers, you could have knocked me over with one of the feathers Fulgencio hot-glue guns to his friends’ costumes. Trying to collect my wits, I gave Louis a quick hug, and by the grace of God, I managed to dream up an artful excuse to escape into the crowd (I said I had to spit out my gum). When I reached a secluded corner, I dug the invitation out of my purse. I guess I had misread an “e” in Louis’ name. Well, the thing had been done in this fancy cursive, and I’d been more focused on the address anyhow.

I’m glad no one saw me, because it took me a while to gather my jaw off the ground. Fulgencio likes men?!? This I learn after nearly 15 years of friendship? That he truly is gay in the other, lesser-known meaning?

Okay, okay, looking back, maybe it shouldn’t have been too surprising. But isn’t it stereotyping to assume that a guy who is really outgoing and flamboyant, loves fashion, worships Madonna, talks kind of like a girl, and has mostly gay friends is gay himself? And isn’t stereotyping bad and mean?

Yeah, believe me, I’m just as confused as you.

Wow. And Louis was gay, too. I’d only met him a couple times: a nice, quiet, unassuming background guy. Who knew he and Fulgencio were boyfriends? Well, absolutely everyone but me, as I found out at the reception.

In truth, the celebration was taking place a couple days after Fulgencio and Louis had been married in the state next door, which allows same-sex weddings. Several of their closest friends had accompanied them, and this celebration was meant to include those who hadn’t. I have to say, between the loud, exotic Spanish music and the unfamiliar food (not to mention the guys close-dancing with each other), I felt a tad out of my comfort zone. (I was also a little disappointed to discover I wasn’t the only person Fulgencio called “girrrl.”) I tried to center myself by studying the hundreds of old plastic doll heads and body parts decorating the walls, but even that was starting to freak me out.

After the first hour (and a couple brandy Alexanders), I finally began to feel at ease, though. It was good to see Fulgencio so delighted and happy. This had to be the best day of his life. I’ve never really understood why some people want to make whoopee with others of their same sex. But that’s no real reason to begrudge anyone the opportunity to be with someone they love who loves them back. If it works for them, well, why not? (I still shut my eyes tight whenever they went in for a kiss. But every time they did, I heard thunderous applause and “awwwws,” so nobody got hurt, right?)

The rest of the night was tons of fun. Each guest found bottles of bubble solution, fake diamond rings, and magic wands at their table setting! Fulgencio’s nice friend who wears the eyeliner recognized me and danced with me a couple times. I gorged myself on slices of their amazing, multi-tiered wedding cake, not to mention quite a few of the brightly colored frosting butterflies that completely covered it! In other words, it was as joyous as any other wedding reception I’ve been to. And just about as typical, too: The only thing missing was the priest and many family members. (Now that I think about it, another thing that was missing was the shotgun!)

Now that this life-changing event is just a memory and I’ve had more time to reflect, I’m mighty proud of my buddy Fulgencio for taking the big plunge with his new Hubby Louis. I only wish he hadn’t hidden away in the closet for so long!