Archive | September, 2012

Size Doesn’t Matter. And Other Lies Girls Tell Their Boyfriends

12 Sep


When you’re told that someone gets engaged, the first question asked is always, “how big is the ring?” Every other g-chat convo contains a link to some poor sod’s engagement ring, followed by catty commentary from girls who’ve never met her. It’s an unspoken truth that all women are terrified that their ring will be the protagonist in this judge-fest. We’re met with giant sighs when we finally get the approval of our closest friends.  It’s not beautiful until someone you care about tells you it is. This makes me altogether terrified to have a baby.

Some girls assuage their fears by sending besties along with their fiancés to shop for the ring. Others put pics on the fridge as subtle hints (I don’t actually know anyone who’s ever done this). Many accompany their boyfriends to look for jewels on spec. She points to things. He takes note of the clarity and mentally calculates how he can afford it without becoming visibly nervous.

Ben and I did this exercise exactly twice. Once, after a dinner in Chinatown, hopped up on Tsing Tao’s and MSG, we looked at some heart-shaped CZ’s in the downtown diamond district. I swore at the time that I didn’t understand why people fuss over diamonds. I proclaimed that I didn’t want a boring “rock” (he was relieved) and that I’d prefer a Chanel bag over a cushion cut (he started to sweat).

The second time was after a boozy brunch. Bloated from mimosas, he took me to Tiffanys. The Puerto Rican Day Parade had just cleared and the streets outside of the flagship store were left with remnants of orange confetti and the pridefuly  inebriated. It was perfect.

Under the artificiality of the UV lights that would have made even those glass Chinatown baubles look stunning, I tried on ring after ring and I finally started to get it. “Diamonds are kinda pretty,” I whispered to Ben, still trying to keep my cool with the sales gal. “She seems to like round, brilliant cut” the associate said to him with a wink and pulled him aside to hand over her business card and note the size of stone that would be appropriate for me. Big, but not ostentatious. Naturally.

“I guess having an actual engagement ring wouldn’t be the end of the world” I confided in Ben after our trip to the land of the mark-up was through. We then drank some more to celebrate my awakening and had self-righteous conversation about how we were too smart to fall for the ruse of buying a ring from a store that charges a 300% premium because of the blue box it comes in. I didn’t mention that I once owned every toggled item Tiffany shelved, but they all lay tarnished in some drawer on Long Island alongside those neck chokers that looked like tattoos.

After that, feeling more confident that I knew what I didn’t like in rings, I was sure to show Ben every time I saw something that was so “not me,” leaving the immense task of figuring out what was “me” to him. A note to boys with fickle fiancés out there: buy the ring from somewhere returnable. It takes the pressure off.

Luckily, I love my ring (though I imagine I’d grow to love anything he picked out for me. Maybe). I think his happiest moment in our relationship was when I finally gave him the okay to insure it. Though despite adoring my new jewelry, it took a great deal of adjustment. I’ve amassed a nice collection of antique cocktail rings. I’m used to those. There’s no expectation that I’ll wear them every single day. In sweatpants. I worried the ring was too dressed up to wear to work. Perhaps I’ll just wear it on special occasions, I thought initially.  I got over that.

My ring and I have a special bond now. Recently I was caught gazing at it at the nail salon while I was drying. The lady next to me leaned over and asked nicely if I’d just gotten engaged. “Two and a half years ago,” I told her, even though it’s only been two but when I feel uncomfortable I exaggerate the length of my engagement by a half of a year.

Though I was slightly embarrassed that the woman spied me checking out ma piece, the novelty of having sparkles on my forbidden finger hasn’t worn off yet. And I no longer wish that I had a purse instead.

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I Sometimes Fake It

12 Sep

Remember that scene in “Sex and the City,” (the TV show, not the sad film franchise) when Miranda finds out she’s having a boy and has to fake an excited reaction? The sonogram-ist reveals the sex, waits for Miranda to get wildly giddy, and and not wanting to disappoint the lady with the belly jelly, Miranda exclaims “a boy!” That basically sums up what it feels like when you first get engaged. Everyone (and by everyone I mean females) expect you to be foolishly overjoyed at even the slightest mention of a wedding. You have to perform the role of jubilant engaged girl or else you’ll deprive people of the moment they deserve.

Here’s how a typical scene goes:

INT. Office bathroom. Day

Under harsh halogen lighting, Recently Engaged Girl (R) sees Woman (W). She barely knows W but is cordial because they’re on identical pee and kitchen schedules. R leaves her stall. W, who is at sink, turns and points excitedly. R glances down, checking skirt for poop.  W remains silent and grabs R’s unwashed left hand. R offers a half-smile, willing this moment to pass quickly.

W: When did it happen? Are you so excited?
R: (awkward laugh). Yeah!
W: When’s the wedding?
R: We’re thinking fall.
W: Pumpkins!  How.did.he.do.it? (she’s squealing now)

R tells the story as if reciting facts off of a flash card. W doesn’t register the dry delivery. She abruptly pulls R in for a hug.

END SCENE.

After you get engaged, every person you encounter feels like those curbside clip-board holders who stop you to ask if you care about the gays and then stick a pencil in your hand. You fake phone calls, dodge glances, and walk with purpose out of fear that you’ll be pulled aside and asked if you have a minute for romantic rights. Like the wayward teens in the “Save the Children” t-shirts, these people who just want to hear your origin story are well-intenioned. They’re either genuinely happy for you or hoping that your fiancé proposed in a totally dull way so they can win. “A fortune cookie!” “In the champagne glass!” “While you were jogging!” HOW SPECIAL. But, once I got used to the dance I learned to use less and less self-deprecation and mockery with each re-telling. Now I can get through an entire proposal recanting without mentioning the awkward bits or apologize for being engaged. Baby steps.

Alcohol, my permanent accessory

6 Sep

Why, yes, that title is a Barenaked Ladies reference, thanks for noticing! My high school bf bought me a 4 CD box set once when I couldn’t make a concert. He was good at that sorta thing. At the time, I didn’t drink and thought the lyric somewhat degenerate, but once I started imbibing, at the end of my sophomore year in college, I totally got it. Now, I’m constantly finding ways to incorporate drinking into innocent, every day activities. Such as:

“Tropical Tuesdays”- combining daiquiris and…Tuesdays
“Merlot & Movies” – when we smuggle boxed wine into the theater. Works best during Woody Allen films or anything featuring Nicholas Cage
“Train Tipples” – for those interminably long rides to see our parents
“Shopping Shots” – because buying groceries is just not fun

We love these motifs so much that we’ve decided to center our entire wedding around them. We’re getting married at an all-inclusive resort where guests will be encouraged to experience every aspect of our weekend under the influence of Presidente Lite. This way, I won’t have to feel insecure that people travelled from far lands and spent a considerable amount of sick days to celebrate me. I’m terrible with attention. Birthdays cause all kinds of anxiety. I feel guilty when people are abundantly nice to me for specified periods of time. This is one of the biggest factors contributing to why I put off planning a wedding for so long. The idea of spending an entire day with all eyes on me (and my fiancé, for those who glance at the groom), feels like all of the neurosis of my birthdays combined. Except, everyone gets to have a birthday. This time, people will be celebrating the fact that I’ve found someone to share my life with, which is less common and therefore makes me feel even less worthy. And that is why all attendees will be drunk at my wedding.

I suspect I’m sounding a pinch like an alcoholic. I’m not (though I have been told over cocktails with my mom that it does run in my family). I was late to the whole drinking revolution. While other kids in high school were raging at house parties, I was getting a good night’s rest for the next morning’s debate tournament. I was a Peer Drug Educator, which meant I took a vow not to partake in any illicit substances, however all of my beaus enjoyed recreational marijuana use so I was treated to the occasional contact high.

I was happy sober so long as everyone around me was sufficiently buzzed – this way I never had to be concerned about whether or not I was fun enough for them. I was able to stay on top of my faculties and savor every moment, while I watched my pals get progressively plotzed. This is more or less how I’ll treat my wedding. To my closest friends and select family members who haven’t seen me since I’ve grown boobs, I’ll be a blur of twinkle lights and white. And they’ll all have the best night they’ll barely remember.

The Hunger Games (But Not Really)

5 Sep

My fiancé (let’s call him Ben, because that’s his real name) and I seldom fight but when he do it’s hideous and cruel. I assault his character, in shrill tones, and he runs away. Literally. He scampers across the street like an ashamed terrier who thinks I’ll forget he peed in my shoe if he changes location. In turn, I scream that he’s weak so that everyone can hear, but this is NY so we’re not interesting. In the six years we’ve been dating, we haven’t argued about anything that couldn’t be solved by him turning off the Yankees game. He’s never done anything wrongful. But, when we do get all emo, it’s for one reason: hunger, which is often combined with a happy hour cocktail consumed instead of dinner.

I have a distorted relationship with food. I simultaneously love and loathe being famished. Craving ethnic-y stuffs followed by satisfying that urge is my all-time favorite feeling. What I hate is the imminent depression that follows gorging and knowing that I won’t get that meal back again. As a result, when I find myself peckish, I tend to pleasure delay for entirely too long, transforming me from a (relatively) grounded girl, to a maniac, fiendishly texting friends for help out of my relationship while weeping in the nearest Urban Outfitters. After several hours, and threats to break our lease, our blood bath will end with the chime of the doorbell. Our savior? The delivery boy brandishing french fries and omelets and usually a Reuben for him. After the first bite, Ben and I will start to giggle, feeling so silly that our hunger ever let us get here. Then, he’ll put on Bravo, just for me, and just like that, our vitriol is gone with our famish.