I recently noticed that after turning 25 years old, the entire world is now engaged.
Count 'em, five, yes FIVE, couples have vowed lifelong commitment since April, when the glorious anniversary of my birth occurred. Okay, one is a member of my extended extra-christian family, all of whom get married super young in order to have Jesus-approved sex. I base this hypothesis on the alarming number of children that have appeared out of nowhere at Xmas and Easter dinners in the past few years. Another was engaged this winter, but is getting married in less than two weeks, causing me to stress out about what to wear to an outdoor afternoon wedding. Even not counting her, from zero to three in less than 3 months is still crazy. Its one engagement per month. What the fuck is going on?
Let's take a historical approach to this marriage thing, shall we? Back in the stone age, an unmarried under-eighteen year old gal was to be pitied and if still single after two or three more years, stoned. Spinster at 21. Dead by 23. Then, the proto-feminist emerged and everyone agreed that women were absolutely entitled to the right to vote and getting a high school education before marriage. With the evolution from proto to feminist-feminist, the new, real woman was born and she went to college. However, while burning her bra, she also met the smelly sensitive non-opressing tree-hugger of her dreams and was promptly married a day after graduation. 22 for marriage, 25 for death. My generation is a product of those damn hippies and their subsequent divorces. We scoffed at people who dared get married before legally being able to drink. We tsk-tsked at those college sweethearts who tied the knot when it was obviously too soon. But now, reeling from the recent spate of engagements that have occured in the Universe lately, I'm suddenly feeling very nervous about being single and 25.
Is all my academic, social, and professional success really leading me down the path to spinsterhood? When did my "tsk tsk, too young, too soon" become passe?
Mathematically speaking, if 25 is the deadline for engagement*, then I have up to three years (and that's pushing it, most would really say two) before every single woman around me is married. As we all know, J Lo's Law states that a secure marriage must be built on a courtship equal to or greater than two years, but not less than one, unless a huge diamond is involved. If I meet someone by next wednesday at the latest, this makes me 27 at time of engagement. Obviously late, but not a total faux pax, especially if the engagement is short. I might just make it to the altar without being the last one picked. However, given the fact that next wednesday I am taking a bus to New York and then driving to New England for the first of many upcoming marriage ceremonies (filled with friends I've already dated and rejected), it looks like I might be out of luck.
I'm totally getting stoned by 30.
Not only am I not engaged, but I'm not even headed towards an eventual engagement. I'm not going out on dates or even for coffee, let alone involved in a semi-permanent dating set-up. I have no desire to spend all my time with one person, or their friends, and my ovaries, while getting a little antsy, are not yet screaming for a diamond on the finger and a bun in the oven. In fact, I am so not dating, I'm not even pretending to tell you how "I'm just so not looking for someone right now", while secretly and desperately making googley eyes at every guy or gal in my line of sight. If everyone else is engaged, is something wrong with me and my singlehood?
If you tell me that it is precisely when I stop looking that I am bound to find someone, I'm gonna make you eat that quasi-buddhist bullshit while also kicking your ass up and down the street. The point is not finding someone. The point is, I'm single. Period. Right?
Last night I went out to dinner with the Southern Belle, an old roommate who is also single (although sleeping with someone- thanks sexual revolution!) and listened while she gave voice to my dismay at the recent growth in marriage rates. It dawned on me that this was the first time I have spoken to a woman my age and how refreshing it is to hear a similar opinion, but really, what the hell am I doing hanging around all these married types, I am just never gonna get a man this way.
And then I slapped myself, twice. I'm single. Period.
*Any of you younger than 25 with people getting married around you are most definitely still allowed the tsk-ing rights. You are too young. But when the hell did I become a grown up?