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Friday, December 2, 2011

But he hasn't proposed

I hate being right all the time. I should have known better than to accept rides from strangers (at work) but there you have it. A Rules Girl always remembers to listen and observe. A gracious person remembers to never offer unsolicited advice, especially when getting a free ride.

I did neither of these things.

Let me begin by saying women in their 30s who are not married walk a very fine line. They fight to remain single, happy and carefree without appearing uninterested in marriage. They date. They remain happy and excited for friends who get married. They are lovely and charming and yet have no idea how to answer the (rude) dinner party question of “Why aren’t you married?”; which is then followed by “When are you getting married?” if she does stupidly show up anywhere with a man; which is then followed by “When are you having a baby?” if she stupidly shows up anywhere with her husband.

Negotiating a relationship – especially online – is something best done in private. But being single is like being famous. Everybody wants to know the latest development. Immediately. No matter how small. No matter how stupid. No matter how embarrassing. In fact – like celebrity – the worse the date for a Single Girl, the more social currency she gets.

For example, I once told a girlfriend a story about having to blow dry my own hair at a fancy hair salon after I unwittingly failed to make a blow dry appt. (My lady at Supercutz always made sure my hair was dry when I left). I was so embarrassed when they sat me in a dark corner of the salon and handed me a blow dryer that I had to plug in myself (after I untangled the cord) that I was actually paralyzed with embarrassment for 60 seconds. Then I started to quietly weep. This story was so bad that a dear friend actually shared it with her whole extended family at THANKGIVING SUPPER. They laughed until they wept.

This is what it is like to share dating stories. People will share your worst moments with everyone on Planet Earth.

The Rules remind us that we never discuss relationships with our co-workers or mothers. Unless you have a bonafide announcement, there is nothing to talk about. Bonafide announcements include evidence to back up your claim. Consider the following:

“Hello. This is my boyfriend, John.”
Evidence: A man stands up, smiles, shakes your hand and makes small talk about how great his girlfriend.

“Yes, it is an engagement ring. John proposed and I accepted.”
Evidence: ring that sparkles on hand

“Yes, I am pregnant. John and I are going to have a baby.”
Evidence: awkwardly gigantic stomach / new clothes that are ugly.

Everything else is hyperbole, that is; everything else is exaggeration of a fact that has not been proven yet. Telling people you are going to do something that does not happen creates undue tension. It also means you are living in a fantasy relationship. This is a relationship that exists entirely in your own head. It is often very dramatic. It always ends in tears.

From my experience, moving in with your boyfriend actually stalls the relationship. Both of you are happy to have a live-in fuck buddy but neither one of you knows what to do next. He’s getting the milk for free and you …face it, he’s not that great close up. You are not going to buy a car together. You buy pets because you are not going to get pregnant anytime soon. It drains the romance from relationship. You don’t know whether to buy curtains because in your heart, you don’t know if you are staying. Couples playing house have really empty condos. Neither one knows if they should decorate to their taste. Because they never talk about it. There is no plan.

And everyone else watching this? We can tell it’s not a love match. And so we don’t congratulate you. We don’t know what to do. We just pretend to not see what is staring us in the face. And we leave you to your fantasy relationship.

But back to my car ride from hell. We were driving along and I said:

“Is this your car?” (She had previously told me that she did not have one)

“No, this is my boyfriend’s car”

“Well it’s very nice”

“He says it’s “our car”

…long silence…not sure what response she wants from me…”Oh”…

“He wants to get married in August, but I’m like what’s the rush?”

(genuine surprise given that she met this guy 3 months ago and the last guy she was dating was actually married…to another woman)

Me: “Has he proposed?”

Her: “Well…Not properly”

“Oh”

“He wants to get married in August, but I’m like what’s the rush?”

“You don’t want to get married?”

“I do, but he wants to get married in August and I’m like what’s the rush?”

“Oh”

“He wants to get married in August, but I’m like what’s the rush?”

So I changed the subject and said:

“There’s my condo. You should buy one there too and we could walk to work. Wouldn’t that be great?”

Her: “Actually, I’m moving in with my boyfriend in January”

And here is where I should have shut the hell up. She obviously wanted me to believe that she was in a committed relationship. If she wants a fantasy relationship I should let her have it. But I had to open my big fat mouth:

Me: “Don’t move in with him”

Her: “Why not?”

Me: “Well, he hasn’t proposed…I’m trying to be a good friend to you”

Her: “But he WANTS TO GET MARRIED IN AUGUST AND I’M LIKE WHAT’S THE RUSH!”

I personally love it when people start to shout. It reminds me of home. It makes me wants to jump on the bed and break dishes on the floor in a really excited/psycho way.

Me: “I get it but …”

Her: “I’m not like you. I don’t believe in that Rules bullshit. All my friends have moved in with their boyfriends.”
(This is the old Everyone Is Doing It Defense employed by drunken 15 year olds)

“And how long have they been married?”

(silence)

I can really feel she is on the ropes and so now I have to go in for the kill.

Like the bitch that I am.

Me: “Think about it, if he really wants to get married in August won’t he be mad when you don’t?

Her: (dead fucking silence) *

Me: “And wives usually mean babies…”

Her: “BUT I WANT TO HAVE BABIES!”

(That jumping/ breaking feeling is bubbling in me again)

Me: “Then why won’t you marry him?” (here I go… may God forgive me)

Her: “BUT WE WILL GET MARRIED!!!”

Me: “But look at your fingers. He hasn’t proposed”. And I laughed in her face.

The level of violence that came out of her mouth was amazing. She told me I was rude, that I liked conflict, that I was the Anti-Christ. No, I made that last one up. But she was really mad. It reminded me of the famous saying

“The first response to the truth is anger”.

I told her in a calm voice that she knew nothing about me (which is true) and this infuriated her all the more. She pulled over and dropped on the side of the highway and I had to walk home. I consider it my penance.

Learn from my mistakes, Dear Reader; whether you are a dyed-in-the-wool Rules Girl, or a woman living with her boyfriend and playing house, do not expect the person at the other end of the spectrum to ever understand. Agree to disagree and live happily ever after.

UPDATE SPRING 2013: August came and went with no proposal, no engagement and no marriage. He did move in but in less than six months he moved out again and the relationship was over.

* Dear Reader, men aren’t kidding when they finally DO mention marriage all by themselves. If a man walks up to you and says with a straight face, “Do you want to get married in August?” he is NOT FUCKING AROUND. Take him seriously. Especially if you are having – or just had – amazing sex. An offer is about to be on the table. He’s not going to wait forever. He shouldn’t need to convince you that August is a good month. You should be on the same wavelength. You need to actually consider the possibility of spending every non-work hour of the rest of your life doing something that pertains to him. Brace yourself because: YOU WILL NEED TO HAVE AN ANSWER. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure book. You have two options:

Option #1: Yes.
Congratulations! This means you are now “engaged”. He will then give you a ring to prove his sincerity and call his parents.

Options #2: Every other word in every other language in the history of the world. It doesn’t matter which combination because they will all means the same thing: No. You are now back to being single. But be honest with yourself. It was you who didn't want to marry him.

1 comment:

  1. I started reading from 2010 and can't stop! Your blog is the best! (:

    Brown_eyes

    ReplyDelete

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