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.

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