I’d never worn a tiara before. Parading around the West Village with a veil, a garter secured to my leg, a pink sash, and a giant plastic and flashing ring on my finger, I was the image of taken, “till death do us part.”
But I’m not. Single, 20-something, and living in New York, I’m technically still a bachelorette: “a woman who is not married.”
Yet, what separates the bachelorette from The Bachelorette is merely two things: the costume and the story.
Which is why, when one of my best friends overheard on z100 that fake bachelorette parties were becoming “an emerging trend,” it was decided that we must participate.
So last weekend, we did just that. Myself and three of my best girlfriends played the role for a one-night-only affair. We created the night’s itinerary across NYC, set the wedding date, made up the husband’s name, and concocted how we met. But because all of us were wracked with superstition and Catholic/Jewish guilt, we each rotated who The Bachelorette would be at each bar, thus spreading out the karma quite nicely.
So why’d we do it?
To answer one question: How desirable is unavailable?
We all know the allure of a dangling, ripe piece of forbidden fruit, so we set out to explore what happens when you place a woman who is outwardly unavailable (in full bachelorette regalia) into a kingdom of sexual pursuit (a bar late at night) that’s flooded with lustful, drunken animals (single men & women).
And while, yes, there was lots of mouth-to-garter action and I was “twerked on” against a booth, one very surprising thing happened more than any of the above:
Men wanted to talk.
Five hours, three bars, and three bachelorettes later, we realized these men would not shut up.
We’re talking very handsome, funny, smart, kind, high-quality men were swooping over to our tables, talking only to the unavailable bachelorette, and opening up about their lives and their relationships. Asking questions like, “Does the nonstop worrying about the other person every stop?” “You’re a step ahead, how did you get there?” and “Did you have instant chemistry? How did you know?”
With minimum potential for sex, no rejection, and no demands and expectations lassoing them in, these men confidently established that elusive and golden male-to-female emotional connection, throwing our first assumption – that guys would chase after getting “that one last fling” – out the window, which shocked us all.
But we also surprised ourselves. One of my best friends, who professes to wanting to marry as soon as she meets the right guy, refused to be The Bachelorette at all. And my other friend who attests to not believing in marriage, when asked by a guy about her bridesmaids’ dresses, was suddenly able to richly describe “the delicate, sweetheart neckline and lavender silk” of her bridal party. The mere act of becoming the bride-to-be was enough to reveal what we truly wanted and were ready for.
As for me, the gravity of being with one person forever hit hard – and so did the realization that I would totally date one of the guys who thought I was soon-to-be-married. (Hi, Lee!)
And though I felt a bit of ‘ye old guilt when he uttered the words, “You really have it together,” and thanked me for pacifying his relationship concerns with my one-night-only sense of heightened wisdom, I found comfort in one truth: if I was single in his eyes, he wouldn’t have listened to me.
If I was single, chances are, he would have glanced at me from across the bar with his buddy, taken a sip of his hoppy beer, not said a word, and continued his mind’s usual churning, self-flagellating relationship lament. He would have gone to bed his same, anxious self. And where’s the joy and journey in that.
So how desirable is unavailable? Really, not much. Desire isn’t the word.
How about: How welcoming is unavailable? Very.
Being unavailable welcomes a whole handful of stronger, deeper connections than the ones you’d make if lust consistently reared its little head. With sex out of the picture, the only thing left is emotion. Real connection. And, thankfully, that lasts a whole lot longer and feels just as good.
This post originally appeared on This is Why I Love New York.
Bonnie Gleicher lives in NYC, where she edits, writes, sings and loves to stroll. She founded and manages thisiswhyiloveny.com
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