Alison Berkley: The Princess’s Palate
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
The other day I ran into my friend Lois who is a big, important writer for a big, important publication in New York.
“Hey!” she said, always more excited to see me than I would expect. “I’m working on a story I thought you could help me with!”
She explained she was writing about Prince William’s much-anticipated nuptials and how he’d invited four ex-girlfriends to his wedding. Apparently, the future Princess Catherine herself also has two ex-lovers on the guest list.
“I’m just writing about the etiquette around that, you know, whether or not you should invite exes to your wedding.”
“Oh, that’s easy,” I replied, a little too self-confident than I probably should be. “If someone has been inside me, then they’re not coming to my wedding.”
Looking visibly uncomfortable, she said, “I don’t think they’d publish that.”
Feeling embarrassed for being a little more crude than I’d normally be in casual conversation (and not quite sure where the hell that impulse came from) I said, “What I meant to say was, if someone has woken up beside me, they’re not coming to my wedding.”
“Now that I can probably use,” she said.
It was a timely coincidence she’d bring that up considering I’ve spent the last couple of weeks stressing about how to edit down my guest list to a manageable enough size so I don’t have to spend $20 million so my 5,000 best friends can be there. I definitely thought about that list of ex-boyfriends and ex-lovers who I’d maintained friendships with over the two decades I was a swinging single/globe-trotting journalist looking for a good time in every port. (Did that sound bad? Because sounding like a well-traveled fun girl and not a danger slut was definitely what I was going for).
I decided it was time to say good-bye to my old party pals. I thought, if Ryan knew, if he really knew what had gone on between us, he would not want that person there. I’m not talking about the obvious relationships, the great loves of my life. I’m talking about those friends-with-benefits, those with whom the boundaries were never made very clear, or even the longtime friend I maybe had one drunken night with that I sort of pretended never happened so we could just push right past it.
You know what I’m talking about, right?
When Lois doesn’t call the next day, I’m sure I put my foot in my mouth, again, and don’t think much of it, other than, “Thank god she didn’t give me the opportunity to say something really stupid on the record.”
But she did call the next day.
“You got a minute?” she asked.
I was too stupid, or too foolish, to lie. “Yeah, I’m driving down to Carbondale for acupuncture and just came out of Snowmass Canyon, so I should have good reception from here on out.”
Doing an interview with a big-time writer who is working for a big-time publication when you are driving is as stupid as talking on your cell phone when you’re parking. Then you’re done with your phone call and you’re done with your mindless errand and all of a sudden you can’t for the life of you remember where you parked your car. Kind of makes you feel like you’re going senile, doesn’t it?
I sort of see this as the same thing. I’m driving and I’m talking, so I’m not really thinking about what I’m saying and I’m not really paying attention to where I’m going (both with what I’m saying and which direction I’m steering my car).
I start off pretty well, I think. I’m like, super articulate. I say things like, “I think when you’re entering into a marriage you have to make those sacrifices. You must let go of past relationships to honor the sanctity of marriage and the enormous responsibility you have to this commitment moving forward,” or something along those lines.
Ten minutes later I’m like, “Of course there are exceptions.”
I know I’ve left the realm of media savvy when I start going, “Well, this one guy, you know, we were friends forever and then one night we had one too many shots of tequila at this Mexican place and the next thing you know …”
God, I really hope she doesn’t quote me on that.
But we did talk about a lot of important issues regarding marriage and the wedding itself.
We also talked about Prince William and why he would choose to do that.
“I think in high society, it’s different,” I said. “They move in such small, sheltered circles it’s pretty incestuous because they’re interacting with the same people their whole lives.” Without pausing for too long, it occurred to me just before I said it: “That’s also kind of how it is in a small town.”
In a small town, there is a whole different level of diplomacy than you might need in a city where your past becomes as anonymous as who you sit next to on the subway on the way home from work each day. Here, you have to look your past in the face whether you run into them in line at the gondola, or at the post office, or at the supermarket. As we all know, it’s just easier to foster a healthy relationship with your past, lest you prefer to dive behind bushes without breaking your face on a regular basis.
In the end, there are some men who were very dear to my heart at one time or another who will not be invited on the Big Day. But the reason is simple. Ever since I met Ryan, my heart is so full there is not – and never will be – room for anyone else.
I do agree with Prince William about one thing: Royals should be able to do whatever the hell they want.
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