I’m almost there. I’ve almost gotten to the point where I can’t force myself to watch another friend walk down the aisle to her perfect, happy new life and last name without standing up and screaming “WHEN IS IT MY TURN!?” It’s not because I’m not happy for my friends. I am. But how many times is a girl supposed to dress up, smile, be dateless on the dance floor, and wake up alone in a hotel room before she just stops RSVP’ing? How many times does she have to be asked “Sweetie, why are you single?” Only to have the insensitive question askers answer their own question with some insensitive cliché like “Don’t worry… you’ll find it when you’re not looking.” Really? Because right now the back of my hand is going to find your face sooner than I’m going to find my future husband. …Sorry. I’ll keep the hostility in check.
So yes, I went to another wedding. I spent most of the day with one of my friends’ husbands because she was busy with Matron of Honor duties. It was nice not to feel like a third wheel, but it did get awkward when people assumed I was his wife and started asking about our baby. I followed up that wedding weekend with a bridal shower the following weekend. Which means yet another wedding coming up. (I hear the groom has a cute, single friend though. Can’t blame a girl for looking for a little added incentive). In an effort to keep myself entertained at weddings and related events when there are no prospects, I realized that I’ve developed a pretty random habit. When you attend said occasions as a single person, you have no choice but to be overly social. Not a way I would have ever described myself, but turns out it’s a sort of survival mechanism. In my quest for conversations apparently I’ve turned in to a hopeless romantic. I’m constantly asking things like “How did you meet your husband?” “How did he propose?” “What makes your relationship work?” and of course, “Does he have good-looking single friends?” Again, can’t blame a girl for trying.
So while “Jane,” aka Katherine Heigl collected bridesmaid dresses, apparently I collect stories. Listening to other people share their experiences gives me a sense of hope. And a confirmation that chemistry and romance do actually exist. Maybe hope is dangerous… but I’ve heard some pretty amusing stuff. For example, the couple whose wedding I just attended met while mopping up blood in an ER. (Not voluntarily. It was their job, but still… if you can find your soul mate in a biohazard-ous environment, it’s gotta be the real thing). I met another couple who had broken up for almost a year, and then got in simultaneous biking accidents which ended up bringing them back together. Random, but romantic. Then there was the girl who took a year off to travel around the world and ended up meeting the man of her dreams in France. I met a couple who said they were high school sweethearts and haven’t spent a day apart since. And they still seemed to like each other. And one of my recent favorites: I ran in to an old friend whom I know was very active on the same dating website I was using. He got his fair share of dates that way. He’s a good looking guy, and smart. A rare combination in this city’s online dating forum. Admittedly I viewed him as a player. And a leopard never changes its spots, right? But he told me a story that even I couldn’t roll my eyes at. After all the time and effort he put in to online dating, he was just done. He was giving up and letting his membership expire after years of time consuming searching. And on the very last day he checked his matches one more time and saw a girl who caught his eye, so he said F- it and sent one last desperation email with his number and an explanation that it would be up to her to contact him. And it just so happened that she was at a point with her unsuccessful dating experiences that she decided to say F- it, and call him. And they had a first date. And they’ve been together ever since. Very Nicholas Sparks-esque, right?
I’ve heard great proposal stories too. For example, the guy who brought his fiancé of almost 10 years back to the college dorm where they met to propose, and the guy who surprised his girlfriend with a proposal the day she moved to a new city to be with him, and the guy who proposed using an Easter egg hunt, and the guy who sent a rose for every day they were apart during a relationship-hiatus. I also like to talk to older couples at weddings while I’m wandering around aimlessly. You know, the ones who have been together for 40, 50, 60 years and still dance and hold hands. I ask them what the secret is. The #1 answer? A sense of humor. Or if you ask my 97 year old uncle he’ll tell you, “She’s tried to poison me once, shoot me twice, and leave me a hundred times. But I’m still here.” So… perhaps the secret is – to each their own. I really believe that’s what it comes down to. Whether you meet the love of your life in high school, on the internet, on a plane, in a Vegas casino, in a yoga class, or because he was your boss, the story is meaningful to you. And you get excited to share it with people who ask. Of all the stories I’ve ever heard, from the most cliché to the most outrageous, no one has ever said “well… we just kind of forced it.” So I’ll keep RSVP’ing, hanging out with the bartenders during slow songs, and collecting stories. Hey, at least I’ll get more use out of them then a dress I really have no intention of shortening and wearing again.
But unless that elusive white dress finds its way in to my wardrobe, I’m going to be single forever.