Marriage Makes Me Itchy, But I like Getting Engaged
The idea of me standing at the altar is my worst nightmare.
I had one of those moms who, for the most part, didn’t push the idea of getting married on me when I was little. There were the odd moments though. Like the time I had a friend over. Suzy and I were in my room playing Barbies. My mother opens my bedroom door, looks in from the doorway and states, “I’ve decided on something.”
Suzy and I look up at her. We’re silently waiting for her pronouncement. When you’re 6, you wait a lot for parents.
“I’ve decided,” my mom continues, “that when you and your sister get married, you’re both going to have a champagne brunch at the Pierre.” Then she walked out.
Suzy and I looked at each other and went back to re-dressing the Barbies for the nth time. That’s also something you do a lot when you’re 6.
Mom never brought it up again and I never thought about it. When I was a kid, dating was a very fuzzy concept that older people did. I was 9, then 11. I liked boys, don’t get me wrong. My first friend ever in this world was a boy. Yeah, I and a couple of other second graders did chase the boys around the playground during recess, threatening to kiss them. You have never seen second grade boys run so fast.
However, the idea of settling down with just one guy never crossed my mind. I think when I was a pre-teen, I came across an article about a famous couple in the New York Times. They had never married. The two had lived together almost from the moment they met. The author of the piece called them, “great and good friends.” There was something that just resonated with me when I read that phrase. Later on, when I started dating (hello contact lenses and blow dryers, good-bye braces, glasses and frizzy hair!), my mom sat me down and said, “When you decide to get married, make sure he’s your best friend. Your father was my best friend and if you don’t marry your best friend, it’s just not the same.”
Although I appreciated her advice, I wasn’t thinking that far ahead. I hadn’t dated in high school (see: glasses, braces, frizz; did I mention I was the treasurer of the Science Fiction club?). You don’t get many dates at a Star Trek convention. My teenage dreams consisted of being either a sexy, dashing CIA agent with a guy in every port, or a rock star backed by hot musicians (no, you don’t want to hear me sing). And anything where I was tall, sexy and fancy-free. Sadly, I never did get a growth spurt.
I stumbled around college, learning how to date. Boy did I learn. I also learned about sex. I learned it was a helluva lot of fun. But, did I want to settle down? Umm, not really. I liked having a boyfriend, but I wasn’t looking for my MRS degree. As I hit my early 20s, I got blind-sided. I was proposed to by my then-boyfriend. I said yes and learned the joys of being engaged.
Oh being engaged is fabulous! Everyone fawns over you. You have an excuse to get weekly manicures. People all over want to see the ring. You have parties thrown for you; you’re the belle of the ball. The downside: planning a wedding, placating parents over your choice of a husband, and writing an engagement announcement.
I remember the first time I tried on a wedding gown. It was a spur-of-the moment thing — I was in a mall with a girlfriend, we were wandering around the shops, desultorily debating where to have lunch, when I spotted a wedding salon. Bing! We went in. Bing! I had a gown on! I looked at the mirror and tried to find myself in the dress. It was so big, but I knew I was in there somewhere. My friend was laughing and cracking jokes while I tried to find myself in the mirror.
Flash forward two months: we’re broken up. Ex-fiance number one cheated on me.
After a lot of ice cream, screaming and crying I picked myself up and dated again. I was dating a guy, pretty hot and heavy for quite a few months when he proposed. Unfortunately for him, fortunately for me, I didn’t understand the question he was asking. He let it pass, and a little later on (duh) we broke up.