Two Brides

New Haven? Atlanta?
February 26, 2009, 10:03 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

If you follow me on facebook or twitter you know Natalie applied to grad schools in the fall for a PhD in English. Well, we have officially heard from everyone and Nat’s top two choices are Yale and Emory. Which means I’m moving. Not yet! But in June or July I will officially leave DC. I have lived here my whole life and never left except for 6 months in Southern Virginia(don’t even ask how bad).


via flickr

New Haven Good:

  • We could get LEGALLY married! Um, hells ya! Say hello to saving $$ on legal forms we were going to draw up.
  • We would be much much closer to most of Natalie’s family who live in NYC
  • I could really meet with and work for many more same-sex couple because 1. I’m in state a lot of couples travel to for their wedding to make it legal 2. I’m so close to NYC. The possibility of doing mostly same-sex weddings has me literally jumping around the house. Film Noir Photography could really become known for catering to gay couples, what my little dream is.
  • Did I mention we could be legally married?????

New Haven Bad

  • Either town we live in, I’m going to be so far from my mom 😦
  • It’s cold!! I hate the cold! And my dreams of a succulent garden would have to wait a long time.
  • It’s a lot smaller than DC. A lot lot. Can I be a small town girl?


via flickr

Atlanta Good

  • Warm weather almost year round. The bunnies and kitties could romp outdoors a lot more. They vote for this.
  • It’s a semi-big city. I love living in a city.
  • I love the people at Emory- they are so warm and inviting.

Atlanta Bad

  • Gay rights in Georgia is pretty much nothing. And it’s not very liberal. Yikes!
  • I would have to rethink Film Noir Photography- I would have to do a lot less same-sex weddings.
  • We would be soooooo far from any family

Readers, have you lived in either city? Or gone to either school as a grad student?? Let me know what you honestly thought or think about it. I don’t know anyone in these areas and don’t know really what they are like.


12 Comments so far
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Congrats to Nathalie — that is SUCH wonderful news!

As the daughter of a professor, I’ll pass along what I know my mother’s advice would be. Mom would say: Yale is ranked #1 in English… because of that, she can’t turn them down. The job market for English professors is so competitive that there’s no saying that she’ll even get hired out of graduate school and if she does it might be at a school in rural Indiana that’s WAY less urban than DC. She is 10,000 times more likely to get a professorship at a university (and in a city) that you both like when she graduates if she chooses Yale over Emory. Even though New Haven is a less desirable city, going to Yale will mean that you two will have much more choice in where you want to live after she graduates (because she will have many more choices about where she would like to teach).

Aside from coming from my mother, this is also coming from me, who played a part in my fiance’s decision to go to a less highly ranked school because of location and have regretted the part I played in that decision for several years. Plus, I went to undergrad in Connecticut and loved it.

Send along my congratulations — what a smarty-pants!! (I in the process of making decisions about graduate school as well and it is CONSUMING my life!)

Comment by Ms. Grrrl

Congrats to her! I think Atlanta is probably on of the best southern cities for same sex couples, which is to say that there are worse places in the south, it’s not exactly a glowing endorsement i’m afraid. Good luck making these tough but exciting decisions.

Comment by Wasabi

I can be of no assistance, but please tell natalie I am so excited for her. and when you shoot my wedding i ge to hear all about how the choice you *do* make worked out!

Comment by Desaray

If you haven’t yet you should check out Sounds like there is some cool stuff happening in the Atlanta wedding world.

Comment by Wasabi

My English professor aunts have just told me that I am full of s&#t and Emory is queer and fabulous and Yale is stogy and yale-esque. So, disregard my previous statement. I’m sure Natalie knows way more about these programs than I do.

My lack of knowledge has quite embarrassed me.

Comment by Ms. Grrrl

I live about 45 minutes south of Atlanta and you are definitely right about it not being very liberal at all here in Georgia….gay rights are pretty non-existent here. BUT Atlanta is awesome because there are certain neighborhoods that are WAY more gay friendly/oriented than others…East Atlanta Village is a great one and also Little Five Points…Piedmont Park area and parts of Grant Park are also pretty cool…I know East Atlanta Village is always doing some radical stuff and have some cool people that live there.

Comment by Melissa

the people in atlanta are so unbelievably friendly. its that southern charm that suckers you in. 😉

there is a section of atlanta, referred to as mid-town, which is more or less a gay oriented community/mini city within atlanta. the small town/suburb just outside of atlanta called decatur, has a very very large lesbian population. not to mention, my favorite restaurant and AMAZING antique shops…

Comment by State of Grace

Atlanta is a great city. Wonderful food, beautiful parks, vibrant gay community, birthplace of the civil rights movement (they are breaking ground on the Center for Civil and Human Rights this fall), great festivals during the summer, very mild weather, though August is often quite hot. We did have about 3 inches of snow on Sunday that was gone by midnight, schools and businesses were of course closed all day Monday!

It is the south however, so the southern baptists have a strong cultural and political influence. The “culture war” is palpable in this city and there is lot of public debate. My spin is that it puts us in the trenches for advancing the gay rights movement and the local gay newspaper does a great job engaging discussion.

Emory is a great institution that is tightly connected to the community and works closely with the CDC to affect serious social change. I work in HIV, so I get to see a lot of the activity of the gay community up close.

Atlanta is a very spread out city with lots of gentrified neighborhoods interspersed with more impoverished communities. Lesbians historically live in Decatur, which is a bedroom community on the east side of the city and has a very cute downtown area. East Atlanta is also very up and coming and is closer to downtown Atlanta. Little 5 Points is the punky part of town – think tattoo parlors and American Apparel. Midtown is the unofficial gay ghetto but is now full of high rises and is pretty integrated with urban dwellers. Stay the hell away from the suburbs. Atlanta is a blue island in the middle of the red sea, going “outside the perimeter” is like going to another country.

Public transit leaves a lot to be desired. We just have a north/south and east/west train, so it’s very much a driving city.

All in all, I really enjoy living here. My partner moved to Chicago recently though, so I may not be here for too much longer unless I can convince him to move back!

Comment by Bryan

having lived in ‘the haves’ and worked at the evil ivy, I think you may be selling Eli a little short. Since New Haven is on the shoreline of CT, it’s not nearly as cold as the northern part of the state. The breeze off the Sound actually keeps it quite temperate. It’s no colder than NY and often feels warmer because there is more sunlight (no skyscrapers to block it).

Yale isn’t stodgy, it’s actually quite open-minded. And let’s face it, it ain’t known as the “gay ivy” for nothin’. The intellectual community is fierce and wide-spread. If you’re ‘in the club’ all doors in the city are open to you, the Rep, the Galleries, the Museums, etc. It’s not a small town by any stretch. Sounds like you just need to get off the town green!

I’m from DC, so I hear what you’re saying about urban-life, but New Haven isn’t small. And quite frankly, DC has always felt way more small town, small minded, and buttoned up than New Haven ever did.

My brother is at Emory now, he graduates in May, and having gone there to see him, on business, and on other occasions, I can say, it ain’t no great shakes in my mind. I think New Haven is WAY more fun.

Bottom line is choose the program that is going to get Natalie the best pot-doc exposure, the best contacts with faculty, and the best future. It’s only a short piece of time in the grand scheme of things and you can suck it up if it’s awful for a bit. No doubt you’ll have to pack up and move again when she’s done in 3-9 years.

The Metro-North into the city is a 90 minute $12 adventure, and you can do a day trip if you need to. The wedding scene on the shoreline is nuts (the girls in Madison & Greenwich know how to blow money like mad!) you’d be able to do things that excite you too.

Just my $0.02, and you don’t even know me, but nobody was speaking up for New Haven, and I think it’s getting short shrift….
Pepe’s Pizza, Libby’s Italian Ice, BookTrader sandwiches, Atticus Soup, Cuban carts on Chapel, Yorkside’s Greek Salads, the food alone is worth moving for!

Comment by Kate

Im sorry, I don’t know you but I read your post and thought: “Please move to New Haven!!!” lol You just got married why not live in an area that accepts your marrige under the law as well,not just socially. Im sure mom will visit or you will visit her. It’s way better to raise your family (with or without children) in New Haven. As for missing being a “city girl” you have to give things up for the people you love, but trust me your sacrafice for their happiness makes a world of difference.
Good Luck and Congrats!!!

Comment by Pink

I’m a former Yale student (undergrad ’03) also chiming in to defend New Haven, for the same reasons as Kate #1. The city’s very cosmopolitan for its size, food and libraries and museums are amazing, proximiity to NY (and everything else on the east coast) is great. And the university is an extraordinarily intellectual community – while I’m sure Emory’s great, too, Yale just has so many people who are passionate about research/ideas/arts/words/literature/politics/etc. (I’m currently a professional student at a public research university in the midwest, and while I’m happy in my program, I definitely miss the feel of excellence across the disciplines that Yale possesses.)

And yeah, the well-deserved ‘gay Ivy’ reputation is nothing to sneeze at, either.

Comment by Kate #2

Just found you. My wife and I just got married in CT on 3/7/09. We live in Hartford — congratulations on coming to Connecticut!

Comment by twoladiesinwaiting

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