Friday morning I looked at what I wrote about going to a family wedding, wrinkled my nose, and thought, That doesn’t sound like someone who has spent thousands of dollars on therapy.
My family’s judgment and pity, no matter how well-intentioned it might be, is indeed hostile, but I don’t have to buy into it. Upon reflection, I realized that I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of for being single. In fact, I’ve enjoyed many experiences and opportunities that most of them have not, precisely because I have not had a husband and children to think about. So why should I give into to their belief that my life has been a meaningless preamble to that time when a man takes me off their hands?
I decided that instead of dreading the wedding and their questions that I was going to hold my head up high and show them that there is more than one acceptable way to live one’s life.
Since I had taken the day off, I had the morning and a good bit of the afternoon to myself. I headed into town, and wandered around the North End, stopping for a cappuccino at my favorite caffé. While there, I surreptitiously spied on a table of old men playing cards and speaking Italian and resolved to get back to my Italian studies in order to hone my multilingual eavesdropping skills. After a leisurely stay at the caffé, I popped into an Italian grocer and procured some bread and cheeses before going to Haymarket for some produce and heading home.
Once home, I assembled a plate of bread, cheeses, olives, fava bean pods, and a little pool of a little pool of acacia honey; poured myself a glass of wine; and went out to the patio for a divine repast. I chuckled to myself at the thought of pulling off a day like this with a red-blooded, American husband.
Then it was time to get ready, and I surveyed my closet. My original plan was to wear any old thing and to look, well, nice. That would not do with my new plan. I was going to make sure that when my family said things like, Sassy, you’re so pretty why has no one scooped you up? they were going to mean it.
Aha! Here’s the thing! I had recently picked up a dress appropriate for a moderately fancy occasion, like a really good dinner, or say, a wedding. This dress also happens to show off my tits and assets in a most becoming way. Perfect. I got ready for this wedding like I get ready for a date. When I was done, I looked in the mirror, shot myself a devilish little smile, and headed out the door.
It is most helpful for one’s confidence when a young man flirts with one for twenty miles in stop-and-go traffic, while one listens to lively music and pretends that one is not noticing that a guy ten years one’s junior keeps checking one out. Thank you, young man, you helped me out immensely.
I got to the church just as the ceremony started (bad traffic, you know?), so I didn’t have to meander about, encountering family with nothing better to do than to grill me about my single status. I sat next to my parents, and my mother said, My God, Sassy, you look so beautiful! She always says stuff like that, but as other family members noticed that I had decided to join them, they all mouthed, You look great! Heh. I did.
The wedding started, and we sat down, stood up, kneeled down, and whatever doo-dah is involved in Catholic weddings (this is a renegade scion of our Protestant family), and Presto-Chango! my cousin’s son (big age differences in the family—Cousin’s Son might be young, but not that young, as Cousin is in his late forties) became a married man.
After the ceremony, we milled outside to socialize. This was when I brought out Little Sassy Schmoozer to my advantage. Instead of mumbling some excuse as to why my life was so pathetic that I hadn’t managed to snag a man, I charmed the pants off of all of them, telling them about my exciting life. Oh, I’m living in the city now, and I’ve been traveling and doing all sorts of exciting things, Relative BusyBody. And, Auntie Homophobe, while I would be proud to be a lesbian if I happened to be one, I am in fact dating a great guy at the moment and having a grand time. Instead of pity, I got admiration from my impressed relatives.
My sister, brother-in-law, and I rode with my uncle in his restored Model A to the reception (Sister and Brother-in-Law rode in the rumble seat), waving at everyone like we were in a parade. The reception wound up being a lot of fun, and my sister and I learned that one of my aunts can still cut a rug like you wouldn’t believe, so the three of us showed our stuff on the dance floor. I talked to almost everyone, and actually enjoyed myself. I didn’t think that my cousin’s children remembered me, but apparently I was always known as the cool older cousin, and they were delighted to see me. Heh. The youngins’ think I’m cool. And that’s because I am.
So that’s how I survived the family wedding. I think I’ll try it again at the next function. Beats the hell out of swilling cheap booze and trying to be invisible.