What is it about weddings?
Actually, what is it about being a single woman at a wedding?
Please forgive my silence for the past day or two; I just returned from a glorious weekend upstate, where I had the distinct privilege of serenading a dear friend down the aisle to marry the love of her life…and of once again being one of the few uncoupled individuals at a ridiculously romantic affair.
Before I continue, let me state – for the record – that this was neither new nor particularly tragic. First of all, who doesn’t love a wedding? Second, though I am single, I was far from alone this weekend, being part of a close-knit crew of college friends (and their respective partners) that now includes at least two decade-plus marriages, five happy cohabitants, four children, one brand new baby, and one on the way…
Oh, and me. Your single friend. You know, the singer.
I don’t mind. Really, I don’t. I hardly even notice, until it’s time to throw the bouquet, and it’s expected that all five of us “Single Ladies” (thanks, Beyoncé) stage a death match of desperation.* Or, when it’s time to hit the dance floor, and I realize that the only smaller demographic than single women at this blessed event is – you guessed it – single men.
I’ve been attending weddings with regularity over the last dozen or so years; often with a date, only rarely with a non-platonic one (since weddings can be like Russian Roulette to any tenuous relationship). The specifics vary, but I can’t help but notice a widening margin among the “Uncoupled” (Bonus points if you read that in the same cadence as the “Unsullied” in GoT). As in yoga class, Sarah Lawrence (my alma mater) and most big cities, single women outnumber single men…and it’s only become more pronounced as the years have progressed.
My friend Dan (hilarious husband of the lovely Sara) and my brilliant bestie, Moji both offered up theories on why, which basically boiled down to this: as men mature and (hopefully) pair off and begin to procreate, they tend to primarily realign their interests with friends who are doing the same, whereas women tend to retain a lot of the same friendships, regardless of marital/parental status.
Either that, or men just assume that their single friends aren’t that into weddings…
Now, this is definitely true of my friend group, but whether or not it’s true in general, I’ll leave you to debate in the comments. What I do know is that when inviting your single friends to your nuptials, it might be most humane to remember the following:
1. We are absolutely happy to attend, support and swoon over your union. By ourselves. Matchmaking is not required. Placing bets on hook-ups is highly discouraged (and most often, embarrassing for everyone involved).
2. Should sparks fly, avert your eyes. Yes, plenty of eventual couples meet at weddings, but even more just get caught up in the rapture for the evening, and would prefer that what happened at the wedding, stay at the wedding. Respect.**
3. In the event that you witness sparks flying between your single friend and an (unbeknownst to them) occupied party, don’t wait until the morning after to intervene. If you see something, SAY something. Yes, we know you’re busy having your first dance, cutting the cake, or whatever, but have a heart. Send up a flare. A flower girl. Hell, one of those doves you released. Don’t wait ’til it’s too late.***
I gave my swiping finger a much-needed rest this weekend, so that’s all I’ve got for now…except this: Mr. Goodbar (so named because we had a damned good date – at a bar – and because “Sledgehammer” is just too innuendo-filled, no matter how good the date) is so far living up to the potential I sensed upon our first meeting. He’s followed up twice: first to secure a second date – this time, for dinner – and next, with a list of potential dinner spots, none of which I’ve been to yet. Let’s hope he’s as great over dinner as he was over drinks…
But I’ll see you before then. In the meantime, enjoy this obligatory wedding Polaroid…taken solo in the photo booth, of course.
* I was not part of any bouquet-throwing this weekend, and no one was injured in the throwing of the bouquet. At least, not to the best of my knowledge.
** No, that didn’t happen this weekend, either. Get your mind out of the gutter. Focus.*** Yes, this has happened to me (thankfully, not this weekend, or ever again). It wasn’t the end of the world…but it wasn’t pretty.