A good six years ago I wrote about being invited to a party with a plus one but being strongly encouraged to come alone. See You Don’t Have To Bring A Date, Come Alone! Come Alone! COME ALONE! The party has become an almost annual thing and I have gone a few times. Always invited with a plus one, always attending alone. See I Went To A Dinner Party Alone
This year was no expection.
I fleetingly considered asking a male acquaintance to come with me, but that may have meant more than I wanted it to and I figured, this is what I do and it is what I have been encouraged — emboldened to do.
I boldly go where no man has gone before — meaning to a public event with me.
So I went. Did my thing, walked in unaccompanied and alone. I confidently approached strangers standing in clumps and joined their conversations. Like a boss. Well, like a politician, more accurately.
The hostess greeted me, the same woman who repeatedly lauded my decision to go alone back in the day. “Come alone!” She’d exclaimed. “No pressure to bring a date I would have to entertain,” she’d reasoned. “I used to do it all the time when I was single,” she’d shared.
But not this time.
This time she hit me with,
“One of these days you are gonna have a date!”
“I want you to come with somebody next time!”
To which I awkwardly, jokingly, painfully responded,
“Oh yes, next year for sure.”
You get the drift.
Apparently coming alone was brave and practical and cool back then. But now? Six years later? Now it’s just getting ridiculous.
Enough is enough.
Adding awkwardness to awkward, when it came time to take our seats for dinner, the hostess loudly pointed out the three tables that had seating for nine, rather than eight or ten like the others. “You can sit here, or there, or, let me see, there.” You know, the ODD numbered tables, for the odd men (or ladies) out. There must have been two other singles there, though I never found them.
I settled at a nine top table, with four other couples I did not know.
Four couples, and me. But this ain’t my first rodeo; I’ve gone to a wedding alone.
Also, I was the only other person of color there, except for the housekeeper who was Hispanic and anyway, she brought her husband. Come to think of it, there was a slightly accented slightly brownish man in one of the clumps of people I invaded. But he blended, and, you know, he had a wife.
I felt as though I did not blend quite as well, though I may have been a touch paranoid.
Also, knowing the family and talking with some of the guests, their net worth was likely substantial. I’d guess that during cocktails they probably earned more in interest than I make all year.
Conspicuous as I felt, everyone was friendly and it was a pleasant evening. I have known the hostess for years and I truly admire her. Though she doesn’t have to think about money (or lack thereof) and is happily married, she has weathered personal challenges that others have literally not survived. To see her smiling and laughing is a gift. I’m happy to have been included in the event, and appreciative of the option to bring a Plus One.
But dang it even if I have to rent one, I will bring a man next year. I will be conspicuously coupled, if only for the night. I will casually drift to a table with even numbered place settings. I will introduce my date by name (if I can remember it) and gently caress his arm. I will ask him to fetch me a drink. I will allow our photo to be taken together and — wait for it — posted on Facebook.
As God as my witness, I’ll never be dateless again. Not to this party.
Just Me With … out a Plus One for this particular event since 2013.
I have written a lot of posts about going out alone. Huh. There are more coming, because I have some thoughts about it . . .
Compared to many women, I haven’t been a bridesmaid that often. I don’t come from a large family and only have a small circle of good friends. So I’ve only done the bridesmaid thing four times: two sisters, one high school friend, one college friend. I was a bride once. Yeah, that one didn’t work out. Took a generation not to work out, but . . . I digress. The hundreds of dollars I spent on pictures for my own wedding, the dress — well , it’s all boxed — like some sort of evil time capsule. Wedding Leftovers.
However, hanging in my house is a picture of me in full bridesmaid regalia from my college friend’s wedding. The gown was lilac colored, off the shoulder. I was having a damn good hair day if I do say so myself. It was one of those good hair days that ironically women usually only have at night while home alone. But I was having a good hair day on a day where my picture was going to be taken. Score!!! The picture is a candid of me laughing at the church, fussing over — whatever — minutes before the ceremony. Behind me is one of the other bridesmaids, now twice divorced, also smiling and happy. It was a good day. My friend was getting married to a guy I really liked (this was before he lost his mind), her other bridesmaids were a hoot and it was a gorgeous Spring day. It was before I swore off weddings and became so cynical (in other words, I was newly married and child-free).
The wedding was beautiful, went off without a hitch. My friend was the kind of girl who always had perfection just happen. Unfortunately, the perfection didn’t last, however, and she and the guy I really liked eventually divorced. For as perfect as things were for her then, they got as bad as it gets — i.e., he knocked up another woman — yeah, that bad. So, the guy I really liked? Well, I don’t like him so much anymore. Nope, nope. See Remote Attendance at Weddings — Royal or Otherwise. But she got through it and last year she married a guy I don’t know at all — but he’s a guy she really likes and loves and that’s all that matters.
Recently she came to my house and saw that picture from her first wedding hanging on my wall. She had framed and given me the picture many, many years ago, but when she saw it she did a little double take and said:
“Wait, is that my wedding?”
Yeah, I responded, “I hope you don’t mind, but I looked good and so happy that day and I always liked that picture.”
“No, it’s fine. You did look good that day. And look there’s Molly behind you . . . “
“Yeah, she looked good, too.” She did.
We both smiled silently and my friend went on to look at the other pictures on my wall. It was okay to hang that picture. She was okay with it. Those were simpler times.
My point is this. For those women who tire of always being the bridesmaid, you do leave with pictures and memories that are completely independent of the success of a marriage. Rejoice in them. Hang them. Show them. Photoshop out the bride and groom in later years if need be. But the fun of the occasion, the stories, the mementos — these are things to savor years — and styles, later.
It’s funny, being a bride can be so fleeting. Sometimes, it can be disastrous, and sometimes all evidence of it just needs to disappear. Being a bridesmaid, though, now that’s forever and that’s a good thing — especially if you were having a good hair day.
Just Me With . . . a lilac off-the-shoulder dress, a really good hair day, and pictures from somebody else’s wedding I can happily hang on my wall — even though the bride can’t . . . . because, you know, the groom ended up being such a schmuck and all.
I heard somewhere that a good lawyer can take two inextricably related concepts — facts that are fused together, if you will — and think of them separately. Yin from the Yang. Well, I’m still a lawyer. When I was practicing, before all the children, depression and heartbreak, I was a good lawyer. I can do this.
So “but for” the kids, how do I feel about my ex-husband’s wedding?
Up until now my concerns about the wedding have been the poor way in which it was announced to me via the kids (unsuccessfully, see How I Found Out that My Ex-Husband Is Getting Married), the kids’ reluctant involvement in it, dealing with one kid’s downright hysteria about it, and the other kids’ unusual silence. Also, I’ve had to deal with the happy couple taking the children shopping to dress them for the event and the changes in the visitation schedules necessitated by the preparation for and the event itself.
On a personal level, I admit that since this will be the first time since they were little that the girls have all gotten dressed up for anything — and it’s for their father’s wedding — and I am not involved –well, that smarts a bit — but again that has to do with the kids. Additionally, I worry that if I do become upset about the wedding, either teary or angry, how will that make the kids feel when they get home? But that’s still about the kids. Plus, I have thought about how it will be to have to deal with this woman with respect to the children going forward once she gets her “Mrs” since there have been some issues. But again, the issues are all related to the kids. It’s all stuff all related — directly or indirectly– to the children.
So I’ll do the lawyerly thing and take the kids completely out of the analysis.
Accordingly, with respect to making a determination as to how I feel regarding my ex-husband’s impending nuptials, I hereby order that for the purposes of this post, and this post only, such determination shall be made without any consideration whatsoever of the minor children born to me and him during our now dissolved union.
It’s a stretch, but . . . okay — be gone– thoughts of children!!!
Now how do I feel about my ex-husband getting married?
F*ck if I know.
Really, sorry for the profanity . . . but I guess I’m a little freaked out by the fact that I don’t feel much about it.
Is this going to be one of those things when I think I’m fine and then I end up in a heap on the floor calling my counseling hotline? I really don’t think so.
I’ve had two friends volunteer to “do something” with me that day. Am I gonna need that? I mean, okay, maybe I shouldn’t do “nothing” that day, but really, I’ve done the nervous breakdown thing before and this doesn’t feel like that. And I’d like to, need to, spend more time with friends, but not necessarily on that day simply because it is his wedding day.
It seems that people are afraid I will fall apart because of all that I’ve been through. But, for once, perhaps because of all that I’ve been through, I don’t think that I will — fall apart.
Again, taking everything else away (and there’s a lot) . . .
I really don’t think that my ex-husband getting married is a matter of my concern.
I don’t care.
Huh. There you have it.
So ordered. Judgment in favor of “I don’t give a f*ck.”
That said, the kids will be gone for a few hours that day. Now that I’ve established that I don’t have feelings about him getting married (again, taking the real crap out of the analysis), what should I do on his wedding day? I don’t feel like planning something particularly special or completely out of the ordinary because that seems so . . . well . . . reactive.
So . . . what to do? What to do? (Or, did I just completely sidestep how I feel by finishing up by talking about what I should do?)
Just Me With . . . no feelings about and no plans for my Ex-Husband’s Wedding Day.
Postscript: His wedding day has come and gone. I Was The Nanny When My Ex-Husband Got Married
Related Posts: He’ll Be Married, I’ll Be Free
Weddings, Weddings, Weddings. They are everywhere this time of year. But don’t feel sorry for me because I am without an intended. I could be married now if I wanted. Really, I could. I could have married the man I now refer to as my stalker. Of course, he hadn’t completely evolved into a true stalker when we were hanging out. The true stalker nature of a person is only realized after the relationship has ended. But I’ll just say that based on the events that transpired since we stopped seeing each other, well, I have reason, good reason, to call him my stalker.
Still, had things gone differently, had I been desperate for matrimony, had I lost my mind, I could be calling him my husband. We talked about it. Well, actually, he talked to me about it. He also talked to a priest about it, and he talked to his invisible friends about it, friends I never met. To be fair, I admit that he didn’t formally get down on one knee and ask me, because I was, at the time, still legally married (little issue), had not expressed any interest in remarrying anyone (bigger issue), and had not professed love for him (the biggest issue of all), but these little complications did not deter him from making plans for our life together, in holy matrimony.
- My house would be clean. Really clean. He had OCD (I believe) and liked to clean. Yes, things would be clean. Really. Clean.
- My dogs would be well-groomed also. What am I saying ? My dogs would be gone. He couldn’t handle such four-legged walking germ festivals.
- I would have sex, often and for prolonged periods of time. Then I’d have to talk about it.
- I’d be clean, hands washed as if for surgery, often and for prolonged periods of time. We wouldn’t have to talk about that — so long as he saw me doing it.
- I would have savings and new clothes. He liked me to look nice. He’d buy me pretty dresses.
- I would have an escort for everything. He’d never let me go anywhere alone.
- I’d be Episcopalian, because I’d have to be. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
- I’d have a storage unit, possibly more than one, because he was incapable of throwing anything out. And we would visit our things stored there, often and for prolonged periods of time.
- I would know I’m loved because he’d tell me, often and for prolonged periods of time. And then I’d have to talk about it.
- I’d be having surgery and/or looking into surrogacy and/or freezing eggs to see if someone could bear a child he could call his own.
- I’d have someone to shop with, since he loved to shop. And no, my would-be-stalker-husband is not gay, but I’d spend a fair amount of time attempting to convince others of that— knowing in my heart of hearts that I could not be successful.
- I’d be on time, because he’d never allow tardiness. To that end, would call me in 15 minute increments to make sure I was ready for whatever we had planned.
- My computer would have the most up-to-date, state of the art, anti-virus software, because, you can never be too careful.
- I may or may not have mother-in-law issues, because I’m not sure whether “mother” is still with us. Don’t ask, it may have been a Norman Bates situation.
- To make him happy, I would have to answer these questions, often and for prolonged periods of time:
“Are you happy”
“Are you thinking of me?”
“Do you love me?”
And, the ever popular question that every girl wants to hear,
“Do you think that’s wise?”
Well, it was wise to end that relationship. Even though it took quite a while and an exchange of letters from lawyers for that ending to take effect. Actually, I only just recently received a post-Rapture text. Sigh.
In conclusion, while weddings are nice, and it’s good to feel loved and partner up, I didn’t want a husband that badly (or not at all, really). I don’t care that Mr. Stalker was good on paper, well endowed with stamina to back it up, wanted to be a provider for me and my brood, and that he really, really, really, really, really . . . loved . . . me. None of that matters, because if I’d married him for the sake of being married, and allowed myself to be swept away (swept, being the operative word), well,
. . . that would have been bad —- clean, but very bad.
And, if you’ve found my blog, Mr. Stalker, and are reading this, I want you to know:
No, I do not love you.
No, I don’t want to be friends.
No, I do not want to know if you are thinking of me.
No, my lack of love for you cannot be explained by alleging that I have lingering feelings for my Ex-Husband. I don’t love him either.
No, I will not be paying you back for any money you spent on me.
and . . .
Are you sure I’m really talking about you?
And, by the by, I just played with my dog and I haven’t washed my hands in like an hour.
Just Me With . . . no rings on my only moderately clean left hand.
Related, sadly, “He Lives With His Mother?”
Weddings are everywhere now. Movies, royals, my ex-husband, . . . everywhere. So I thought I’d write about my own bride story, hopefully not in a “I should have known” way, but just the facts, ma’am.
I was having an evening church wedding. My bridesmaids were my sister, my best friend, and two close friends. The rehearsal dinner was meant to be casual, pizza and soda/wine at my parents’ house. The rehearsal itself had gone pretty well, I’d done the “get someone to stand in for the bride” thing . . . so I watched.
Probably not the best idea.
I got in the car and said to her, simply.
“I’m not going to do it, you know.”
My Bridesmaid was very calm, and, after she’d gotten me to clarify and repeat my confession that I was not going to get married, she replied,
“It’s nerves, it’ll be okay.”
“Oh, I’m not nervous. I’m just not doing it.” As if I was talking about getting on a ride at an amusement park.
What could she say? I think she just said okay. She must have felt horrible. I was so matter-of-fact about this huge statement. I went through our rehearsal dinner, and it was, as I’d wanted it, informal. My husband-to-be looked so veryhappy, I remember. Still, I didn’t say or do anything that revealed my discomfort. I did love him. Something was pissing me off, though. For a fleeting second I felt like he’d won, he “gotten” me, clipped my wings.
The next day, I did the whole wedding day prep thing, got my makeup and hair done, put on the big white dress. I guess I thought I was over it. But I wasn’t excited.
Once we were at the church, we realized that someone forgot to bring the flowers for the flower girls. Silly to have little girls with nothing in their hands. Someone had to run back to the house to get the flowers.
This gave me time. Maybe too much time.
As we all waited in the vestibule at the back of the church, I walked myself and the big white dress into a corner . . . way into the corner . . . facing the corner.
Later, my bridesmaids told me that at first they thought I was praying. But I wasn’t a praying kind of girl, not in a room full of people, anyway. Maybe praying is what I should have been doing. What I was doing was seriously considering making a run for it, big white dress and all. I pictured myself running out of the church, across the busy street, and through town, like in a movie.
Awkward. I heard the bustling around me, wondering if anyone noticed that I had put myself in time-out and that I wasn’t speaking to anyone. Ironically, the big white dress — with a train– created a physical barrier from everyone. I was hard to get to. My body was in the corner, my face was down, the dress fanned out around me. Still, I think I was waiting for somebody to do . . . something.
It started to get uncomfortably quiet.
Finally, my best friend slid herself between the wall and my dress to get close enough to me to say,
“Are you all right?’
“Yes,” I replied, curtly, but I was not a happy bride. I think I might have told her or even waved her to go away. I didn’t speak much.
I was thinking, though. I was thinking that if I did this, got married, I mean, it was for life. I didn’t believe in divorce, not a religious thing, just not an option for me (at the time). I was thinking I didn’t want to hurt or embarrass anyone. I was thinking that if I ran, well, that would be bad.
Someone came back with the flowers for the flower girls.
At the last minute me and my big white dress turned around and got married. And, by the way, he was so nervous, he did not even look at me while we took our vows. I joked later that he really married the minister, not me.
Does anyone remember Charlotte’s first wedding on Sex and the City? Charlotte expressed second thoughts to Carrie at the back of the church (because Trey couldn’t perform). Though Carrie at first responded that it was just nerves, she eventually told Charlotte that she doesn’t have to get married,
“We can go get a cab and everybody will just have to get over it“
Sex and The City, Season Three, Episode 12, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
I have wondered over the years — what if someone had said to me, “You don’t have to do this.” I’m not sure if it would have changed anything. Like Charlotte, even the most ambivalent of brides would probably go through with it anyway.
Still . . . it makes a girl think.
This is in no way a criticism to my bridesmaids for not uttering the Carrie words. We we all so young. None of us knew what we were doing. I was the first of our age group to get married. It takes a very mature person to actively assist a runaway bride. So I know why they didn’t say it.
But what if someone had?
The institution of marriage should not, as the preacher says, be entered into lightly. So for all you bridesmaids out there, who have promised to wear the coordinating dresses and walk ahead of the bride down the aisle — don’t forget to look back to make sure she’s there. Well, actually before that, let her know that, if need be, you will run out to the street and hail a cab for her . . . big white dress and all.
Just Me With . . . a bride story.
Funny, when my now ex-husband got re-married, I was just The Nanny. But I did have dinner with one of my former bridesmaids that day. Perhaps she didn’t know what to say when I got married, but she knew what to say when my divorce was final. My relationship with her has stood the test of time, hopefully, until death do us part. See To My Best Friend On Mother’s Day
Weddings. Ahh weddings. It’s that time of year. Starting off with a bang this year with the Royals William and Kate, but for regular folk some people will be getting invitations to sibling’s, cousin’s, aunt’s and uncle’s, best friend’s and acquaintance’s. Me? I haven’t attended a wedding since my marriage ended. And actually, I’m kind of in between life stages for weddings, anyway. My friends are either already married or simply not going to do that (or if they do, it’ll be somewhere in Vegas). For the most part, second marriages are not in full swing yet. The younger members of my family aren’t old enough or ready. Despite my marrying young, the rest of my family and close friends don’t generally do that. We’re slow that way. So, I’m probably off the hook this year.
Still, I’ve been invited to a few weddings over the years, but I politely decline.
At first I thought it would make me too sad to watch a marriage ceremony when mine didn’t take, but really I’m afraid I’d be one of those drunken hecklers you usually find at comedy clubs.
Officiator: “Do you promise to Love, Honor, and Cherish . . . .?”
Me: Yeah, they say that NOW . . . Everybody SAYS that . . .
Officiator: “Forsaking all others . . .”
Me: HA!!!! Until a juicy young piece of a** asks for a ride home after work . . . Forsaking all others . . . for a while . . .
Yeah, perhaps I am right to politely decline live attendance at weddings.
Still, I struggled with my last decline. A very good friend of mine, who had been my bridesmaid and I, hers, at her first wedding, was remarrying. She was and is deliriously happy. Her first husband turned out to be a complete schmuck. I’d known him from college too, actually longer than I’d known her. I did not expect his bad behavior. Neither did she. He cheated on her. Got some other woman pregnant — twice. First, abortion. Second, well she was six months pregnant when he finally had to come clean. He first complained of depression and suicidal thoughts (to soften her up, I think), then hit her with, oh and by the by, I have a girlfriend and she’s pregnant and having the baby (unlike the first pregnancy) — WHAAAAT?!!!!!!!!. Despite this, my friend tried to save her marriage, something I couldn’t fully comprehend at the time, but I understand now. She got him into counseling, on antidepressants, and did not kick him out. They tried to work out a plan for this child, who was coming, no matter what.
It didn’t work; he left their marital bed to go to this woman’s hospital bedside and watch their child’s birth, giving the baby the same name he and my friend had discussed if they ever had a child. Cruel. You see, the schmuck didn’t want children at all when he and my friend first married but then softened and consented to one, just one. Sadly, my friend could not get pregnant. So his impregnating another woman and giving that baby the name they had decided on . . . well that’s whip worthy.
I remember talking to her over the phone — while her husband was at the hospital shortly after the baby was born. It was unspeakable. That is a pain no one should have to endure. There’s a special place . . . for that man. After the baby was born, he never really came back home, except to change clothes. A couple of days later as she worked from home and thought he was at work — and he thought she was out — he came by and left a note, saying his place was with the baby and the baby’s mother. After 12 years of marriage, she got a break up note. (She found out later it was all preplanned as he had already applied for and was given “parental” leave from work. Ugh.)
My friend talked her way through this with her girlfriends; all we could do was listen. (A favor she returned to me later).
But, my friend met another man, by chance, at an event. He, too, was suffering from the effects of a cheating and also spiteful spouse. They clicked immediately. They fell in love. Some of us girlfriends (original bridesmaids) were worried that it was too soon, that it was a rebound situation, that this guy was also hurting too much – that it was like meeting someone in rehab — you have a lot in common, but is it really a basis for a positive new start? My friend explained, “You know, bad things happen all the time, suddenly — car wrecks, cancer, hurricanes, and we accept that and adjust. Why can’t we accept it when good things happen, suddenly, seemingly ill-timed?” Okay, she’s a genius. And she is a brilliant, talented, quite no-nonsense, kind of woman with a dry sense of humor. She’s not even religious, so it’s not a “God sent him to me” type of thing. They just found each other. After dating for a couple of years, last year, they married at the beach. You see, except for the horrible ordeal with the schmuck, good things tend to happen to this woman. She even sold her old house in this horrible market in a matter of weeks.
She’d found her true love. She won’t have children, and his are almost grown, but they have each other and have been happy, really happy.
I did not attend her wedding. It was a semi-destination wedding small affair and although she would have been thrilled if I’d come, she kind of expected I wouldn’t make it, and was really cool about it. I was in a bad way and couldn’t handle long drives, plus I wasn’t sure what I would do with my kids. Plus, it’s not really good for me to be around for these things. I might have cried — too much. I was in her first wedding, and she in mine and neither one ended well — I dunno – – was I being superstitious? It certainly wasn’t jealousy. I have never been happier for anyone getting married. She deserves happiness, just because she’s cool, let alone all the crap that schmuck put her through. I definitely would not have heckled her.
Sometimes, it’s okay to stay away. I have her back, though, and she mine. We both know that. I may attend William and Kate’s special day, though. And I’ll call/text/email my friend to see what she thinks of it . She loves royal weddings. After all it is thousands of miles away and on television and on delay (I’m not getting up at 4:00am) and I don’t actually know William and Kate. So I think it’s pretty safe for me to be in TV attendance.
I haven’t lost all capacity for romance, damn it.
Just Me With . . . a remote control and well wishes to all the brides . . . from afar.
I did go to a wedding, eventually. See “I Went To A Wedding Alone”
A married woman tends to keep three major things from her wedding: The Rings, The Dress, The Photo Album. Well, I’m not married anymore. Since there are kids I suppose I have to keep the wedding album. The Rings? Well, I recently sold them. Didn’t get much. Told myself I would buy something for myself — not for the house, not for the family or kids –with whatever I could get for them. It felt empowering. Bought myself an iPod. Now the dress. When I moved to a much smaller home, I didn’t feel like making room for the box that holds my dress. Right now it is at my parents’ house. I couldn’t get a local consignment shop to take the veil so it went to Goodwill. The shoes finally got thrown out. They were stained satin, unwearable. I was only keeping them for sentimental reasons. I’m devoid of sentiment these days, so they are gone. But that danged dress! It’s a little harder to get rid of. I looked good in that dress. I was wed long enough ago that the dress is completely out of style, but it’s not old enough that it could be worn as vintage. Even if it was wearable, I guess I’m just superstitious enough that I wouldn’t want someone I know wearing my wedding dress since the marriage ended in divorce. So what to do with it? Halloween? Perhaps. I keep thinking I’ll have one of those parties for women when you wear a wedding or bridesmaid dress just for fun. Yeah, that’ll happen — not! My daughters want to play with it. Maybe I’ll let them — before I get rid of it. But I think I kinda don’t want to see it, ever again. Donating it to a theatre company? Possible. Burn it in the fire pit I built with my own bare hands in the yard of the house I now own by myself (well, with the bank)? hmmmm. I just don’t know. Seems so wasteful, maybe like the wedding, maybe like the marriage. (yeah yeah I know, I got the kids out of the marriage — but for the kids, though, what a freakin waste) . I looked damn good in that dress— a lifetime ago . . .
Divorced Ladies: What have you done with your wedding gown?
Just Me With . . . a big old white dress.
See Also: Wedding Album, Time to Reduce it, Perhaps by Fire