I am almost thirty*. I’ve spent a good amount of time this past year being horrified by that realization, a greater amount of time trying to convince myself it doesn’t matter and the remainder of my time doing normal things like eating and breathing or going out with friends and doing our (read: my) best to avoid the subject of impending disaster.
(*Note: By “almost thirty” I mean 1 year and 2 months, or 440 days, or 10,575 hours. Not that I’m counting.)
And as I am almost thirty, I have officially reached “that stage” of life where everyone around me appears to be coupled up, or worse yet…Getting Married.
Duh duh DUHHHHHHHHH!!!
It’s true. Alarming, but true. It’s sort of like an epidemic, or an alien drug. You know that scene in ‘Signs’ where the alien’s fingertip opens up and a stream of poison comes out and it threatens to kill the little boy? I imagine the Marry Fairy has something like that up her sleeve, only she specifically targets the boyfriends of marriage-ready females ages 24 – 29 with a can of whoop-ass disguised as beer that when opened emits a tiny Jack Bauer who grows to human size, locks said non-committal male into a half-Nelson and threatens to use his nuts as a practice bag for Chuck Liddell until he buys the ring and pops the question. It’s quite a vision, ain’t it? Not so unrealistic, though. Jack Bauer is everywhere. So is the Marry Fairy, evidently.
The point is (despite the creative ’24’ storyline, which I may or may not expand upon and submit to Fox) that someway, somehow, these women are getting these guys to not only stick around not just for a couple years but until the end of time. Or, you know, death. Depending on what you believe. And while I of course think all my girlfriends are lovely and amazing (uh, hel-LO, they wouldn’t be my friends otherwise) I still think it’s quite a feat to knock these formerly bar-hopping, torn-tee shirt-wearing, honey-I-can’t-do-the-dishes-it’s-game-day!-whining men into marital submission. Funny thing is that I don’t even really want to be married all that badly. Or not at the moment, anyway, as there are no prospects, not even fixer-upper he’d-be-so-great-if-I-could-just-get-him-to-wax-his-back-and-move-out-of-his-mother’s-house prospects. Yikes. It’s a sad state of affairs, ladies. No, it’s just that I can’t figure out how everyone else has done it.
And my friends have no answers. They “just fell in love”. They “just knew”. They’re so happy now, they “can’t remember what it was like without each other”. Thankfully, though, my getting-married friends, in all their sage engaged state of mind, have plenty to share about their single life, getting married and all the things they can’t wait to leave behind:
“That club was so awful; I can’t believe single girls would ever try to pick up guys there. Good thing I don’t have to do that anymore now that I’m getting married!”
Uh, hel-LO? I still have to pick up guys in places like that since I’m not getting married! I’m not in a position to be quite so choosy, okay? And I remember the time you did pick up that guy in a place like that and then we all had to talk about it for 3 months after he broke up with you because at the time you were convinced he was The One. Yeah, take that, Miss High & Mighty.
“Last year I was pissed at my fiance so I made out with a bunch of boys at this party. Ooooh, there’s Dave, he was here last year! He’s cute! C’mon, let me introduce you.”
I’ll pass on your sloppy drunk-revenge leftovers, thanks.
“I don’t know how he puts up with me, but he does! I’m so lucky!”
Me either. Does he have brothers? Because I also have a bunch of emotional baggage and bad behaviors I wouldn’t mind someone putting up with. Oh, did I say that out loud? I totally wasn’t talking about you…
“I totally don’t want to be one of those girls who’s all ‘wedding wedding wedding’ and never asks about you, I want to know what’s going on with YOU! Tell me everything! Oh, by the way, did I tell you I picked chartreuse instead of lime green? I mean I was thinking about it the other night and realized that Sarah doesn’t have the right skin color for lime green and Emily’s pregnant so she’s going to look green anyway, hahahaha and we are going to have foliage around the alter and I don’t want the bridesmaid’s dresses to clash so chartreuse will be a better color, right, like halfway in between, don’t you think? And OH I finally found the cutest little white chocolate favors…”
In my head, to the tune of “Baby Elephant Walk”: Dum, dah dum dah dum dum dum dum dah dah. Duuuuuum dah dum dah dum dum dum dum dummmmmm…
And the mack-daddy of all Girls Getting Married pearls of wisdom…
“Don’t you worry…what I have is out there for you, too. We’ll find you a guy next!”
Did I say I was looking? Oh sure, I’ll be more than happy to be your pet project now that you have nothing better to do.
I’m aware that this kind of dialogue from my friends is born of blissful happiness, a one-track focus on that long walk to the altar and a woman’s desire to make everyone around her equally as excited about her wedding as she is while maintaining all the attention on herself. Females are crafty like that. Or perhaps my friends are cognizant of their literal state of union and my state of singularity and don’t want me to feel left out.
Or there’s the other, hush-hush possibility that seemingly blissful brides never want to voice aloud: that as disjointed as I feel as a single in this stage of life, perhaps my almost-married friends feel equally disjointed about the stage of life they’re leaving behind, and just need someone to go along with them to commiserate and hold their hands as they walk step by step into marriage.
And, that, Girls Getting Married, is something I’ll gladly do for you. Provided you don’t pull me over to your single cousin Jimmy with the toupe and pit stains at your wedding for a slow dance. And I guess even then, I’d probably dance with him anyway, because I know it’s all about you right now, so if it makes you happy I’ll wear your lavender drop-waist dress with bows at the hem and stacked-heel square-toe Barney shoes and smile brilliantly for pictures on your big day.
And one of these days, when you’re able to lift your head out of its bridal fog and you remember what it was like to be single like me? Tell me. Talk with me. Not in a condescending, thank-God-I’m-so-far-past-that kind of way, but in the sharing, I’ve-sooooo-been there, I-hear-ya-sista, Oh-God-remember-that-awful-guy-I-dated-from-that-one-night-at-the-club?! kind of way. Because at the end of the day, all throughout our friendship, we’re gonna need to stick together in whatever stages we’re in.
If not, I’ll open a can of whoop-ass on you. And remember, when you open a can of whoop-ass, Jack Bauer jumps out.