It’s August, which means I’m more than halfway through my deployment. By July I’ve already been shipped to New York, Colorado and Maine. Each time I buy the dress, surf registries, RSVP for one, and long for September, the unofficial end of wedding season.
Last weekend I attended a wedding so beautiful, so intimate and so full of love that it affirmed my belief that it’s always worth the wait. In the short-term, however, it reinforced my conviction that I’ll need to go AWOL for the remainder of this season, lest I have a complete and utter meltdown.
As I get older the gap between “me” [Disaster] and “them” [Happily-Ever-Afterturds] gets wider. Where there used to be a cabin full of single guests, now there are only two of us (and the only reason she’s still single is that she lost a lot of time due to a long stint as a lesbian). And after 30, each wedding season becomes a Darwinian dwindle of single. And at last weekend’s wedding I was one of the few people left, holding my ground in single.
The tide has turned, and I should have known it the moment I arrived. I showed up at the lodge with a grocery bag full of Gatorade, Advil and late night snacks (I’m the ultimate provider where orange carbs are concerned). One of the Happily Ever Afterturds turned to me confused and asked, “What’s that for?”
But it’s not the after party that’s hard for the single guest, or the ceremony. It’s the reception, hands-down. The brutal “All the Married People come to the dance floor please!” song. Followed by the slow songs. Then the bouquet toss. And inevitably, the Disaster Anthem: “All the Single Ladies.” When this comes on, we find ourselves thrust into a sea of 16 year olds, busting dance moves that say “Woohooo! I love being single!” Even married women come to the floor to show their solidarity and we let them dance with us– nod to say “It’s TRUE! Our grass IS greener!”
But of course, we’re faking it. And in a small wedding, the feeling of being “singled out” is even more intensified. Where there used to be 20 single guys, now there were only two, a statistic that had me making out with the cupcake table, and my married friends working overtime.
“Oooh, what about him?” one Happily Ever Afterturd asked me.
“He’s wearing suspenders and a bow tie. And he’s definitely not wearing socks.”
“You’re not supposed to when you’re wearing loafers.”
“You’re not supposed to wear loafers.”
“Please. If you keep this up you’re going to be single forever.”
“I’m not being difficult. Loafer guys don’t like me, either. I’ve just saved us both a lot of angst and awkward dates. He should probably thank me.”
Just as I finished saying this Loafer slid across the dance floor a la Tom Cruise in Risky Business, stopped just short of me, and held out his hand.
My friend pushed me into him before I could even turn around to give her my highly perfected “SOS” look. There was no turning back: before I knew, it, I was dancing.
He was short, shorter than me, which made our dance moves awkward and jerky. He twirled me into a great aunt more than once, and stepped all over my pedicured toes. But he was It. I was surrounded by couples, and I smiled. I danced. I tried to like it. I counted the fish on his bow tie and suspendered my disbelief.
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I'm single in Chicago, and very good at it. I'm highly skilled in awkward flirting, and even more accomplished in the art of attracting sketchy men on online dating sites. I chronicle these disasters on www.disasteronheels.com. If you need dating advice, or tips for improving the nutritional value of Lean Cuisines by inserting multivitamins before serving, email me: [email protected]
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