Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Exiled in Newport

I just got back from a two and a half week tour of the East Coast and I’m sure there’s one million things I could write about that whole journey if I really put my mind to it.

However, the first thing that stands out is this: when you turn 35 and go to weddings, you are exiled to the single-person outback table. As one of perhaps three single women at a beautiful wedding in Newport, R.I., I was a bit distressed to learn that I had been placed at the “single and cool couples who are friends of the groom” table. Moreover, upon hearing of this slight, I was informed not to worry because my table would be adjacent to the people I really wanted to sit with, people who heretofore should be referred to as “people I know.” But my table was clear on the other side of the room, nowhere near to the so-called people I know. So I was forced to strike up a lovely conversation with the charming, single man sitting next to me. See how those married people scheme?

Still, I did feel a bit like I had been sold a bill of goods, like I had been placed at the leftover table (“Where should we put these people? No one will go anywhere with them, who on earth would want to sit next to them”) and then spun like the situation was actually great because I would be able to meet this plethora of available men, ignoring the implications when it became clear that one of the two of them was a self-proclaimed cheerleader living in San Francisco.

That is fine, I suppose, but I place it up there with other discriminations that occur when you are single. For example, when you and another couple visit your married friends, you always get the couch because you are the only person who fits there. Nevermind that there are no blinds and no heat, the couch is yours because well, there’s really no place else for you to sleep. So, if you want to visit friends with dignity, find a partner because otherwise it’s the couch or the blow-up mattress from Target for you.

At weddings, you might as well stamp a big S on your forward and approach single men by saying “hello, you are probably gay, but I am single and I was wondering if you wanted to hook up and then possibly get married and have children. I’m crossing the threshhold of available fertility, you see.” I’m sure that would drive any potential single man away screaming, but at least it would put out there what everyone thinks already. Plus I wonder why women, as soon as they have the slightest notion that marriage is anywhere in their future, immediately banish from their mind forever what it was like to be single. Nevermind the horrible indignities they suffered attending weddings as a single woman themselves; no, now they are all grown up and married and isn’t every single woman just dying to catch a bouquet? When my 25-year-old sister got married first of the three of us (something I always knew would happen because she had the boy thing handled from a very early age) I of course caught the bouquet. My cohort and fellow garter belt catcher: Jackson, my 7-year-old cousin. So that’s how that goes.

On second thought, if I ever get married – an opportunity that my uncle and my grandmother already clearly closed for me several years ago, because they both got married as teenagers and were grandparents in their mid-thirties – I too will banish from my mind all the horrors of singledom and I will gleefully hand over the couch to anyone left who may still be single. Ha ha! I will think, sucker! You still have your freedom and independence, but you have to sleep on the g.d. couch.

On third thought, maybe these single-person indignities are really married people’s way of getting a moment of revenge on people who were smart enough to stay single and forego all this couplehood silliness. Hmmm, that’s a whole other way of looking at the situation I hadn’t really thought of.The one salvation of the Newport wedding: no throwing of the bouquet. Thank god me and the two other single women did not have to stand with the six-year-olds and fight for the bouquet. Especially because I’m the shortest of the three and I didn’t have a shot in hell.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My worst wedding seating was to be posted in the back, near the door, at a half empty table with the bride's hairdresser (and the hairdresser's boyfriend). Traveled all the way for that?