I once confessed to a friend of mine that I felt slightly envious of her. Unlike her and the rest of our friend group I had never been given a plus one to a wedding, even when I had been in relationships with long term partners they had met and was serious with.
Instead, I take my usual exiled spot on the outcasts table, saved only for those who are too young, too drunk or too socially inept for general circulation, but have to be invited nonetheless, for fear of upsetting a distant family member and uprooting long repressed family politics. I pay the bride/groom my tearful respects, and people-watch for the only one or two people I actually know at the wedding; who are normally elusive bridesmaids or restricting their company only to that of their partner (well, he’s been at work all day, and tonight’s normally curry date night, and I’ve missed him, and actually we’re gonna leave early).
Her response to my admission was to reassure me with the genuine smile of a friend imparting vital advice, she placed a hand on my arm, squeezed it gently tilting her head to one side and told me not to worry, that I would get the plus one’s; once I was married.
Pushing aside the flutter of irritation of the inference that only those who are married have relationships worth recognising, it made me really sad that I have known her since I was 10 and she didn’t acknowledge anything I’ve ever said about how I feel about getting married.
In short, I don’t want to be married, I don’t feel it would reflect well the type and constructs of the relationships I wish to have in my life, it wouldn’t bring me happiness and for me, I would find it meaningless.
But I took something from this.
Every time I now go to a wedding, in my specially bought dress, shoes and clutch I place the £50 Wedding Present on the gifts table, knowing I’ll never receive the same celebration of my relationships. I meekly wave back to the creepy drunk man (or is it a woman?) undoubtedly destined for the outcasts table and prop myself up at the bar to indulge in a £6.50 single gin and tonic and I think about how accomplished I feel to resist a heavy, life long and increasing social pressure to conform and do something that is not right for me.
And that makes me smile. 😀