Together, Mike and I have been to fifteen weddings. Now that Mike is 35-years-old, his single friends are dwindling. Everyone suspected he would be the first to get married. Among several circles of friends, we would be the last.
With each wedding comes more and more people asking when it is going to be our turn. Trying to match their excitement, my response is, “we’ll see” with a forced smile and a shoulder shrug. It’s inevitably awkward. If I try and explain that I’m not sure I’m ready or that I just don’t know if the institution is for me, it’s not received well. Especially, in a wedding ceremony setting. I don’t want to sound negative, but it seems it’s the easiest category for married people to put me in.
Being at a wedding with the majority of the people married, feels like an upper class recruiting event. Maybe it’s the country club feel of the ceremony, but it seems as though it’s just a ploy to get the next couple to join.
It reminds me of when I was a freshman in college and all the girls were deciding whether or not to join a sorority. One of them approached me in the most friendly manner asking what I thought about rushing. I mistakenly responded honestly because I thought she sincerely wanted to know. As I confided in my new friend, her face began to change. I wanted to retract, but it was too late, I said the wrong answer.
It went something like this…
“So, how do you feel about rushing a sorority? Have you given it any thought yet? I really like your shirt!” Says girl who seems like she wants to be my friend. “Well, kind of. I mean, I don’t have any friends. But there are all these rules to follow and I just moved out of my parents to finally not have any rules. And I don’t want to exclude anyone because they aren’t in my sorority. Ya know? I don’t want to be categorized.” Potential friend is starring at me with a confused look. “Oh, okay.” Potential friend drops any interest in me and walks away. (I continue to wear same shirt every day to attract new “potential friend”. I’m wearing it now.)
It seems to be a similar situation when people ask me, “Are you two next?” It’s a simple question. They have good intentions, perhaps just to have a conversation, but I’ve realized not joining in on the romance or the ideology of marriage seems to make people uncomfortable. So, instead, I have to pretend I’m just as excited about it as they are in order not to offend them by once again, giving the wrong answer. Because, the thing is, it’s not just a question with a “yes” or “no” response, it’s a loaded question that has a whole belief system, a way of life, behind it and by not choosing that same way is not choosing them. When really it has nothing to do with them, I actually think they’re lovely. I was just answering the question.
Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution. ~Mae West