Alison Berkley: Reality check on all that marital bliss
July 23, 2002
If I get invited to one more wedding, I’m going to be sick.
Don’t get me wrong, I love big fancy parties with lots of free booze and (another) great excuse to buy a dress and shoes and maybe sleep with some old friend I never thought of in that way before. But in Aspen, the dreaded Wedding Season is exacerbated by friends who abandon you by getting hitched and moving downvalley for a quieter, more economically sound existence, which means you are left with one less precious female with whom to frequent the bars. All of a sudden my friends are dropping like flies, reminding me that at some point, I may want to think about living with a man who I consider to be more than “my roommate.”
I know my Daddy hates to hear it, but the whole choosing one guy to have sex with for the rest of your life thing kind of escapes me. How can I be expected to make a major decision like that when my whole life has been dictated by having too many choices? That would be like going to Nordstrom’s and walking out with only one pair of shoes. Besides, it just doesn’t jibe with life here in Aspen. I am not paying a gazillion dollars a month to live in a house that’s falling down with four guys and three dogs so I can “settle down.” It seems to me that when you live around the corner from over 40 bars, your natural inclination is going to be quite the opposite.
My roommate likes to refer to this phenomenon as a “lifestyle,” as if being 33, single, and living in a quasi-frat house were totally normal. He knows he’s good looking and dates actively but seems just as happy to hang out at home with his dog, watch baseball games on Sportscenter and gamble on the Internet. He convincingly justifies the fact that we have absolved ourselves of any major responsibilities so we can continue to play and act like we’re never going to age. We talk about “quality of life” and how many powder days we scored last year or how things might have been different if we hadn’t lost so much money in the stock market. We dish about bad dates, good sex and why the last one didn’t quite make the cut. We feel validated when friends from out of town who have real jobs come to visit and don’t want to leave, even though we made them sleep in the living room all week on a futon littered with dog hair and they didn’t seem to mind.
It’s understandable then that there’s a bit of a rift growing between me and my girlfriends who are tying the knot this summer (three in August and one in October). Suddenly our conversation has shifted from hot guys to wedding dresses and seating arrangements and why she didn’t make me a bridesmaid. They are sickeningly happy and self-absorbed and always seem to hold their hand up so their diamond ring glares right into your eye whenever the sunlight hits it just so. Even though they’re adamant about having “girl time,” their fiance calls them every five minutes on their cell phone. I just want to know, why is it so bloody important to say, “I love you,” at the end of every single conversation, even the ones that appear mundane, like what they want brought home from the grocery store. And as soon as they get engaged, they immediately start calling each other these sickening little pet names like “Baby” or “Hon.” Okay, Hon. I’ll pick up some lima beans on my way home, Hon. I love you. … Or the way they always find a way to throw “my fiance” into every single conversation, like the cashier at the gas station or the guy taking your order at lunch really gives a damn about your marital status. I mean, get over yourself!
What’s worse is all the wedding protocol that’s expected of you, the single friend who feels more inclined to mourn than celebrate because you know those late nights with all the grungy drunks at Cooper Street have all but come to an end. Instead you’re forced to buy them gifts that would normally make you gag (a set of spoons or a cutting board) and expected to attend all those bridal showers and bachelorette parties which usually also require stupid gifts (although chocolate dildos and lingerie are a little more exciting than steak knives). Then you have to befriend their fiance and act like you and his bride-to-be never did experiment in college with (fill in the blank) and that you’re really excited to hang out with them now. The worst part of it is that you usually do end up liking them, which makes you feel guilty for resenting them so much for stealing your friend away.
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The way I see it, I’ve got everything I need right here. Between all my roommates (with the exception of the one who I’ve never seen because he never comes out of the basement), I’ve got looks, personality and brains. Everything I could ever need to get me off is right around the corner, and his name is Ajax. I’m fine with the fact that the only male I’m currently sharing my bed with is an 80 pound black dog named Sebastian. Even if he does snore incessantly, he is quite handsome, and I’m sure that he loves me. Plus, I am willing to accept him despite his faults. I am all about keeping my options open, which at this particular point in my life has more to do with making sure I get to watch my shows on TV (in this house it’s my beloved HBO and the WB vs. ESPN and Comedy Central). So when the only question that’s getting popped around here is “Hey, who has the remote?” you can be sure I am always the first to one to answer: “I do.”
If you have something to talk about besides your upcoming wedding, you can e-mail the Princess at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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