I've been the only single member of my family for quite some time now. I have 2 older siblings who got married about 6 weeks apart. There are a couple of things I vividly recall about that time. It was my first year out of college and I wasn't making much money. I was also moving into my first place and had to come up with deposits and connection fees. Having the honor of serving as a bridesmaid in two back-to-back family weddings stretched my already-thin budget to the breaking point. Being a girl involved in a wedding is a huge commitment of time and money. There are showers, fittings, accessory-shopping, engagement parties, table linen discussions, and helping-stuff-the-invitation sweatshop nights. And the dresses. One of them was forest green. It was the perfect color to make everyone look like they were about to barf on their shoes, which were dyed-to-match of course. And I know everyone says you can wear your bridesmaid's dress again, but that is a conspiracy cooked up by bridal consultants to help a bride maintain the delusion that everyone is as excited about their pending nuptials as they are. Like I want to wear a forest green taffeta dress to any kind of function. I didn't even want to wear it in the changing room.
Amongst all of this, the thing I remember most is the constant bombardment of family members asking the dreaded question, "So when are you getting married?" I know statements like that are their way way of showing they care. It's sweet that people want you to be happy, and are interested in your pursuit of it. But what they couldn't possibly know was that it felt like a red-hot poker was being jammed into my left eyeball every time I was interrogated. The truth wasn't pleasant, and certainly not what I wanted to share on a lovely evening in the gymnasium of my former grade school. I wasn't even dating anybody at the time. Well, not really. There was a guy who called whenever he felt like it. He was recently divorced, bitter, and took a bit of it out on me. I'm really not angry about it. Well, not anymore. At the time I was so happy for any kind of attention, that I let it go on for much too long. Needless to say, he wasn't in the mood to escort me to any of the wedding functions. So the only armor I had to shield me from the endless barrage of well-meaning relatives was the aforementioned frock of forest green. And a few bottles of champagne. Which matched the dress, now that I think about it. What I loved most were the tidbits of advice about how to land Mr. Right. Apparently all I need is a new lipstick color. Thanks, second-cousin once-removed.
Fast-forward to this past Thanksgiving. I'm still not married, but there are now husbands, wives, babies, grandchildren, in-laws, and a myriad of other things to occupy the conversation. After dinner I was entertaining my cousin with the latest adventures in online dating, when I realized several family members had migrated over to hear the tales. The latest was a doozy. One evening I got a message that simply said "Hi." So I messaged back. He then asked how I was. To which I replied that I was "fine, thanks." Then next message reads, "Are you a freaky girl?" Two things happened within nanoseconds. I replied, "Nope," and called my friend to describe the parallel universe I had fallen into. He messaged back that there was no need to message him anymore. Thanks, Captain Obvious. My cousin and I were laughing about the ridiculousness of it when my mom asked, "What's a freaky girl?" I love these moments. It's almost like the universe slows down in anticipation of the awkward discussion that everyone can see coming, but can't get out of their chair fast enough to avoid. I informed my mother that a "freaky girl" is someone who enjoys unorthodox sexual practices. Her eyes got pretty wide, she cleared her throat, got up, and made some comment about how she needed to tend to the pies. My grandma, unfazed, asked, "So did you call him?" I eventually caught my breath and informed grandma that I had not, in fact, called him. She then patted my arm and said, "I just want you to find a nice boy." It took a few minutes to convince her that he didn't qualify. That's the funny thing about the clearance aisle. What one person thinks of as a needless appliance others think of as a way to finally brand the NASCAR logo into their toast. And my grandma must have had a lot of fun when she was younger.
There are so many places one could wear a dress like this. None come to mind, but I'm sure there are some.