Thursday, January 8, 2009

Take A Vow

"though we've changed in our endeavors/i find we still have some things in common/ain't it strange but wonderful/that we're still friends..."--Donny Hathaway

I've always known that one day, Dave would get married. I first had an inkling when he announced that his girlfriend was moving in a couple years ago. I was intrigued by this woman he never spoke of when we talked that was clearly the focal point of his life outside of our
conversations. He and I were just reconnecting after some years of not speaking and frankly thinking the worst of one another, and it was refreshing to find through our reconnection that the core of the two people that we'd once felt so warmly towards remained intact. There was never really room in all that we discussed for significant others or the people that we'd been with since being together. It just never seemed to fit. But slowly, they crept in--they had to. They were so significant, so large, too big for the smallness of what was left to discuss after we laid the past to rest. And so I slowly learned about her education, her pet peeves, her behavior, the sweet things she'd done, the not-so-sweet things she'd done...and all while avoiding any major comprehensive discussion. They were tidbits sprinkled throughout our often awkward attempts at recreating private jokes and discussing our futures. Then, Dave announced that she was moving in. And then they had a baby, an adorable little boy that looked just like them, like the two of them joined together in one little charismatic bundle that actually posed for the camera. I asked him if they planned to get married. "At some point," he said, pretty nonchalantly. And that was the last we discussed of it. And then it happened.

Last week, David invited me to his wedding. His New Years' Eve wedding that's happening this year. I was ready, but I wasn't ready. It wasn't an invitation in the mail; I'll prepare myself for that. It was just an invitation in passing, a "you have to be there". It's not that I still want to be with David--whom I feel I must now begin to call "David" and not "Dave" with respect to propriety; it's pretty obvious the door closed on that a while back and we both moved on pretty gracefully. It's that I'm at a point in my life--the supremely awkward late 20's--when everyone is getting married, included people I've contemplated marriage with at some point, no matter how fleetingly. The interesting dichotomy at hand is that pretty much all of the relationships that I've had up until the past year or so have been a victim of my extraordinary immaturity, but probably none more than my relationship with David. And so the question of whether or not to actually attend looms upon me. My knee-jerk reaction was, of course, "of course I'll be there!", but as soon as I said it, I regretted it. It sounded like a promise, one that would make my absence conspicuous and be a strain on our friendship. David, for all his attributes, holds a bit of a grudge and tends to take things personally, and so I know that I should stand by my word. Which leads me to my point. Gen Y young women like myself are getting married, having children, starting careers, growing careers, buying homes, moving around the country. We're our mothers and aunts from twenty years ago. But how mature are we really?

A mature woman would buy an uncomplicated, somewhat austere earth-toned shift dress and sexy pumps, pair it with funky gold jewelry and simple makeup and put her hair up for her ex's wedding. One of my best friends, who knows David, was also invited to come with me. "Of course you should go," she said in her best Samantha Jones' matter-of-factness, "and look fabulous." But how fabulous? Fabulous for me is way over-the-top, which is what I think I'd have to do in order to make it through the evening. I like to command attention and be the focal point of the room when I'm in an uncomfortable situation (and when I'm not). But this is one instance where I can't really do that. It's her day, and there's supposed to be zero attention on me, especially me being someone that the vast majority of people in the room don't know from Adam. However, dressing down and downplaying myself would result in me celebrating the saddest, most depressing New Years' Eve of my entire life, and I just can't. So, somewhere in the middle you say? I never do anything in the middle.

. There's the matter of the gift. I don't know them as a couple at all. I don't want to give them anything too personal, so as not to look as though I'm overcompensating. And I don't want to give them something too general, as though I didn't put any thought into my gift and/or am not happy for them. Prayerfully, they'd have a registry, but there's no guarantee, and until I'm informed of the logistics on that, I will sweat the gift. A mature woman would take a couple minutes out of her Saturday to go to Saks' wedding department and ask the salesperson's opinion. She would do a little research on the internet on what is appropriate, and possibly confer with some wedding consultants to find the perfect gift. But so far, my thoughts have been to call each of my friends and ask their opinions five different ways five different times, disregard all of their suggestions, wait until two nights before the wedding to start going bonkers because I still haven't found anything when I've had nearly 12 months to get it together, and finally to bitch and whine when I compare my eventual purchase to Ro's and feel inadequate.

There's the matter of a date. A date is the ultimate gift. A date says "I come in peace". If I bring a date, it's making a statement. I like statements. I appreciate statements. But can I handle the stress of making a statement in this situation? It's a little complicated, even though it's really not, and I don't want to emotionally overwhelm myself when I'm not sure exactly how I'll feel in the situation. And since I'm currently very single and on strike from dating, God only knows what the cat will drag in by December. A mature woman would ask a good male friend of hers to accompany her, and attend the wedding with her best friend and her boyfriend and said guy friend and have a great time within their party of four. But I don't want to take a friend to this wedding. The mature part of me is completely happy in my single skin and feels the need to roll around in her freedom at this point in her life. But the other part of me would just as soon take a date to the wedding with whom I'm madly, passionately in love in order to minimize the stench of singlehood in a room full of people professing their undying love to the sacrament of marriage. And also to ward off the vapors from the married women in the room who eye all the attractive single women either with complete and utter pity or like filthy streetwalkers. 

While I've always hung onto a healthy portion of my childlike nature, I like to think of myself as incredibly mature when it counts. I've pinpointed the errors of my ways and made strident efforts not to repeat past mistakes--financially, professionally, sexually and otherwise. Emotional maturity, though, I've found to be a whole other animal. It comes and goes, surfaces and hides. I can't trust it to emerge when I most need it, and I can't count on it not to blatantly desert me.

Immature or mature, David will take his vows with the woman he loves later this year. And I will be beyond happy for him. I just can't say how it will look from the outside looking in.


TheRoWill said...

Is it sad to say that i quietly rejoice everytime one of my exes becomes suddenly single again. Off topic but yes, i'm selfish as hell and imagine that somewhere (way down deep)they're pining away for ME. So much for maturity.

As an aside, go to the wedding and hook up with the best man ;-)

Ashleigh Marie said...

he's probably married too!! anyway, if i really wanted to shake things up i'd be a rebel and shag an usher...

Anonymous said...

You are the only person who will be paying that much attention to you. No matter what you wear you will be lumped in with 100 or 200 others and everyone will be facing forward looking at the bride and groom. Furthermore, the groom will be spliting his attention between all his guests. You're making it bigger than it has to be.

Anonymous said...

hence, the name of this blog.