So I spent the last few days out-of-town for the wedding of The Preppies. It went wonderfully! Mrs. Preppy was an absolutely gorgeous bride and Mr. Preppy had a blast showing off his wicked dance moves at the reception. They both looked absolutely elated and I am truly thrilled for them. All in all, everything was great and I had a really good time. But….
Of course, I knew the weekend would have some uncomfortable/awkward/sad moments for me. I was the only unmarried bridesmaid and the only person from our law school group who is single — everyone else is married or coupled. Most of Mr. & Mrs. Preppy’s other friends are married or coupled too. (Seriously, there were like 4 people on the dance floor for the bouquet toss…) I thought that I was mentally and emotionally prepared for this. I am used to being the 3rd, 5th, or 11th wheel. Under most circumstances, it doesn’t bother me. But there were several moments over the course of the weekend that were unbearably uncomfortable — further highlighting my singleness:
1) At the Bridemaids Luncheon, everyone wrote down a piece of advice about marriage for the bride and groom. Since I know next to nothing about marriage, I made something up, but I made light of the situation and it wasn’t that bad. After all, this was the first of many wedding events and the chip on my shoulder was still relatively small.
2) At the rehearsal dinner, the room was arranged in tables of 8. I sat with 3 couples and we used the extra chair for the Matron-of-Honor’s laptop to run the slide show. Not that bad…Still a little sad to sit there as the three couples mentioned things about their own nuptials.
3) When the DJ started playing the real dance music at the wedding, I hit the floor with the other b-maids and it was really fun, until their husbands joined us. Everyone paired off and I was clearly putting on a one-woman show. I tried to casually but quickly dance my way back to our table… and to my drink.
4) After the Preppies cut the cake, the best man and MOH gave their toasts. I was sitting at our table, you know, the one with the 3 couples and me. After each speech, the couples would turn and clink glasses with their spouses. I uncomfortably raised my glass by itself and then asked one of the bmaids, who was facing completely way from me, to turn around and toast me so I didn’t look like a loser. She gave me a you-are-being-so-ridiculous look.
5) Lastly, the bouquet toss. I hit the dance floor with the 3 (that’s right 3) other single ladies and the 2 elementary school aged flower girls…. Going out there so that everyone can see that no one wants me is humiliating enough and to add insult to injury, I didn’t even catch the damn thing. The girl who caught it wanted it though — bad.
Okay, so I’m sure reading these little moments individually, the don’t sound so bad. But add to each moment alcohol, sleep deprivation, disliking your appearance (I had some serious hair issues and an eye infection) and feeling like you have to smile endlessly, and maybe you’ll understand why it made for a long and some what painful weekend. To be completely honest, after the bridesmaid gave me the you-are-so-ridiculous look, I thought about going to the bathroom and crying. How pathetic is that?
Don’t get me wrong, I really did have a great time at the wedding and I am really happy for the Preppies, but I was also sad and jealous and lonely. It’s overwhelming to feel so many contradictory emotions at the same time. And let me tell you, SOME people who are coupled/married just don’t get it, i.e. you-are-so-ridiculous bridesmaid. At one point she said to me (when I was really in the throes of my personal pity party, which for the record only lasted 10 minutes) “Weddings just aren’t your thing, like at all, are they?” WHAT?! Weddings are SO my thing! Feeling left out/lonely isn’t my thing. She really, genuinely did not understand where I was coming from at all. Or she didn’t want to.
So to the coupled/married people out there, please, for the love of god, have some compassion. Try to think back to your single days…Believe me when I tell you, they weren’t quite as glorious as you remember them to be. (I’m sure you’ll be quick to tell me that being married isn’t as amazing as I have imagined it to be either, to which I say, fair enough) Remember what it felt like when all of your friends were dating/married and you weren’t or how silly you felt trying to catch that bouquet/garter or how embarrassing it was to ask a friend to help you find a date for a date party. And after you remember all that, include us. Take some time to turn away from your spouse and talk to the single girl at your table who is trying her darndest to keep her chin up, a smile on her face and the conversation going. She’s busting her ass to look single and fabulous even when she doesn’t feel it so give her a little support.
And to all the coupled/married people out there who are considerate of their single friends, thank you. Thank you for not thinking we’re ridiculous and for having your husbands open doors for us and letting your wives come out to play for girls night out. Thank you for making us feel like it’s okay to be where we are — not like we are pariahs.
After all, single isn’t a lifestyle choice or a disease, it’s just who I am right now.