THE GROOM WILL KEEP HIS NAME” AND OTHER VOWS I’VE MADE ABOUT RACE, RESISTANCE, AND ROMANCE BY MATT ORTILE
A debut collection of tender, biting essays on sex, dating, and identity from a gay Filipino immigrant learning to navigate race and resistance in America.When Matt Ortile’s family moved from Manila to Las Vegas, the locals couldn’t pronounce his name. Bullied for his brown skin, accent, and femininity, he couldn’t wait to move to New York, start over, and leave the past behind him – Filipino name included. In The Groom Will Keep His Name, Ortile traces his journey to an awakening of radical self-love.
When we date and mate, we tell stories about ourselves, trying to put our “best foot forward.” Dating apps and social media have encouraged us to further curate the face we show the world. Our personal myths, however true or false, reveal not just who we are, but who we want to be. The Groom Will Keep His Name explores the various fables Ortile has spun for himself: as a Vassar Girl, an American Boy, a card-carrying member of Gay Twitter, and a Filipino immigrant looking to build a home.
With intelligence, wit, and his heart on his sleeve, Matt Ortile examines cruising and one-night stands, DMs and texts, relationships and whateverships that helped him interrogate his queer desire, race, complicity in white supremacy, and solidarity with other marginalized people.
At Filipino weddings, the grooms wear white.
What I appreciate most about The Groom Will Keep His Name is that it introduced me to Matt Ortile. I instantly followed him on social media, and he is so delightful and offers some interesting insights and perspective. I would expect nothing less from him after having read his memoir!
I say that memoirs are my favourite genre because they are often honest, raw, and tackle some heavy and deeply personal topics. That was indeed the case in The Groom Will Keep His Name, but there were also moments of levity that brought a smile to my face and made it feel like I was connecting with Ortile on many levels. I listened to the audiobook, which Ortile narrates, and it felt like we were having a deep one-on-one conversation.
Ortile’s memoir shined a light on the fact that I have very little understanding about the experiences of a Filipino immigrant, or even of the Filipino culture in general. This is definitely a hole in my knowledge that I would like to fill, and this was a great start!
I enjoyed each and every one of the essays included in this memoir, and I even found myself related to some of them. Ortile talks a lot about the experience of loneliness, which is a feeling that I believe is universal. I found myself nodding along with him, which seems to be a common point that I have seen in other reviews of The Groom Will Keep His Name.
The Groom Will Keep His Name is a timely, heartfelt, deeply personal memoir that looks at sex and sexuality as well as at identity and the immigrant experience. I would recommend it to everyone, and I highly suggest listening to the audiobook if possible.