I’ve had the “summer of six weddings.” The “spring of seven baby showers.” The “year with nine bachelorette weekends” — not parties, but whole weekends for some reason. And while I could tell tales of the financial strain imposed when a single person celebrates other people for their entire adulthood — and I do serve that tea boiling — instead I want to talk about feelings.
So there was financial strain. Apparently she wishes for a husband to pay. Supposedly she has fun at these events. But reading the subtext, she doesn’t. Maybe she shouldn’t go to these shin-digs. The modern versions are all about rubbing it in. It is understandable that she is less than enamored. She does kinda have a clue here, but she can’t quite bring herself to say it.
Celebrating other people as a single adult is one of the most conflicting emotional states I believe I’m capable of. On one hand, I’m overjoyed. Someone I love just got engaged, married, pregnant, or whatever. These are joyous occasions! I might write like I’m Oscar the Grouch but I have a Big Bird heart. I love when people I love are happy. And as you can tell by the current volume of invitations under magnets on your fridge, engagements and weddings and babies make people happy, otherwise why celebrate these moments? It’s a lot, but I’m genuinely happy and full of gratitude that my friends and family are experiencing these things.
But is she. Probably sort of. But really not. We all have a sense as to where this is going to (or do we?)
On the other hand, I’m deeply sad. I don’t have that happiness. And for a very, very long time, I’ve been trying to find it, to no avail. All I can do is watch other people get it, no matter what I do, how hard I try, or what I change. There’s no greater reminder that you’re single and unsuccessfully trying not to be than watching a couple’s first dance as wife and husband. I’m sorry, but that is a fucking trigger. And I keep living that trigger, over and over and over again.
She is triggered. Just using the word triggered is a tell. So, it is about her. No surprise here. She apparently has had dates and stuff, but things have not worked out. There seems to be little sympathy for the large swath of the 18-35 year old fellas that she and her friends have ignored. In fact, they are invisible to her. Just not sexy/confident/successful enough.
Sometimes I listen to myself at these events, as I cautiously approach conversations with people and beg the universe to prevent them from asking me, “So…are you seeing anybody?” at an actual goddamned wedding because I honestly have a breaking point. I hear myself discussing my life in its most positive light possible, shoving my career to the forefront. Sometimes I wonder if I have the professional drive that I do because it’s the one area of my life where I’ve seen effort match outcome. I’m not actually trying to inform people of what’s going on with me during these moments, I’m just trying to make myself feel less like shit.
So she buries herself in work. Lets face it, a woman in her 20’s, even if they are overweight, can get married to a competent enough fella. And as we see above, women do want to get married, just not to a competent enough guy (only the best will do)
I wonder if I would feel less sadness and exhaustion, and be capable of even greater levels of joy, if there were epic celebrations for single women, too. Let’s be real: There are no celebrations to congratulate single women for their life accomplishments. I didn’t throw a massive weekend event and invite 100 people I know when I crossed the “Single For Ten Years” milestone. I didn’t have a weekend in Nashville with eight of my best girlfriends when I achieved my greatest salary and professional role to-date. Would anyone have shown up for either? Taken either one seriously?
No they would not have. Everybody deep down knows that women are supposed to be Mom’s. That is what makes them special. She is on the cusp of seeing reality, but she can’t quite make the jump.
I think we’ve made weddings and babies over-celebrated affairs. There, I said it. The engagement, the engagement party, the bridal shower, the bachelorette weekend, the actual wedding weekend including a rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception, some kind of group event like kickball, the goodbye brunch, and the gifts. The pregnancy announcement, the gender reveal, the baby shower, the pregnancy photo shoot, the birth photo shoot, the post-birth photo shoot, the sip-n-see. And every “this is how many months I am” photo thereafter
She does have a point. Weddings used to be about the community witnessing the fact that a couple was now getting married; with the emphasis on witnessing, as in witnessing for what is effectively legal purposes.
Now we have attention whore galore. Not a good scene. Perhaps she should have said as much. But I suppose she needs to keep her audience. She needs to get paid.
I don’t think I can celebrate other people anymore. Not until life starts celebrating single women the same way.
Not gonna happen.
Short answer — by reading between the lines, one can learn a lot.