“You want to marry everyone,” my friend said, not without judgment, in response to my latest time-untested infatuation. She wasn’t wrong; not too long ago I’ve received a text from a random number: “If you ever want to discuss engagement rings again, let’s grab a drink”. I have completely embraced the cliché of falling in love in Vegas and I have on my every trip there – by the hour. The truth is that, unlike my savvy, jaded, realistic friends, I never learned to compartmentalize, peg types, consider the situation and accept that the chances of meeting my soul mate at a 4th of July Deadmaus party are slim. In my tipsy mind, you and I will beat the odds – at least until the next weekend.
One of my recent husbands-to-be was tall, blonde and handsome. We danced and we kissed, there was a pool and a DJ and pretty lights and we were young. He graduated from the Naval Academy and told me he is really good on the grill. I impressed him with my knowledge of “crossing the line”. My husband-to-be also turned out to be the bachelor of the bachelor party – as I would learn when he shamelessly accepted my friend request (and continued to sext). He became someone else’s husband the following week but, by then, I’ve had my fix of An Officer and a Gentleman fantasies. Like clockwork.
For me, a chemistry-charged 2+ hour conversation with a stranger is enough to warrant a lake house-and-yellow-lab-filled daydream. Upon first review, of course, this is massively creepy, but (at least a little) less so when you consider how quickly the protagonists are replaced. What does it say about my subconscious attitude toward commitment if my wedding dreams per capita expire when the alarm goes off or, at most, by the next meet cute? The actual idea of marriage – shared finances, shared laundry, shared decisions – the tangible, mundane, repetitive concept of cohabitation day in day out bewilders me – and I’ve done it.
My family has coined my rotating love affairs “sparkler love”– incandescent and in eminent threat of burnout. My friends just say I am “like a dude” (although I’d venture to say that these alleged “dudes” probably wouldn’t stop to muse over why they can’t sustain interest). If I could afford a therapist, she’d probably site my parents’ divorce. Whatever it is, as I sit in my bed and write this, eating (per usual) – a runaway crumb here and there – I imagine the life that comes after the big day, where this kind of sloppy hedonism would put a bullet through any semblance of mystery and romance. I fear for my marital sex life with my affinity for unwashed hair. I know that some would say that marriage means letting go of these inhibitions but, instead of the presumed comfort, this notion gives me anxiety. An, undoubtedly insecure, but unyielding part of me doesn’t want to see what comes next. Therein lies the appeal of the perpetual and perpetually changing crush – never threatening heartbreak, always frozen in time as “we could’ve been”.
Let me make it clear that I am not proud of this. Paradoxically, the big picture philosophy of my transient affections is completely at odds with the values I hold dear and a future I envision, or at least envisioned when I had the luxury of thinking of it only in the abstract. But as I get older, I feel internal pressure to choose a side. And, like so many adult decisions, the ones in love are being edged in the direction of the practical (read: serious boyfriends don’t grow in nightclubs). Of course, there is always a chance that I’m just not made for monogamy – something to entertain as I Google the latest Reem Acra wedding collection. Fuck, I love those cap sleeves.
Maria Melnik is a writers’ assistant on cable show about pirates, which has had a profound effect on her understanding of the morality spectrum. When not pillaging, she enjoys long, immobile, hours on her couch with her televised and fictional love affairs, punctuated by some (more narratively-disjointed and wine-fueled) real ones. You can follow her shamefully recent Twitter debut at @_mariamelnik.
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