It's Wednesday, so I'm writing about relationships, sex, and dating. Or, today, the lack thereof. Please, if you watch 30 Rock, understand that this is best read if you think of it being read to you by Liz Lemmon. Disclaimer: This is not a plea for a date, either. You faceless, beautiful Internet, you. Last year, I was standing in the liminal space between Indian and Eastern European imported foods in the local grocer when the remnant of my relational sanity broke.
There it was, in the harsh light of fluorescent overheads: an emailed save the date on my iPhone, which detailed the location of the wedding, that a reception would follow, and that I needed to indicate if I was to be "1" or "+1".
That's right. It was a +1 attack.
Those of you non-singles out there may have been non-single long enough that you have forgotten what a +1 attack is. It is what happens when you reach a certain age, typically in your early twenties, when all the people you thought would never get married are suddenly, in fact, getting married. They then, for reasons that you can only suppose have something to do with the fact that you have a good eye and shop at Neiman Marcus, invite you to their wedding.
You and, if you have one to bring, a guest.
A significant other.
Immediately, as a single person, you are left in utter limbo.
You can't bring a friend to a wedding, because then everyone talks about how you couldn't get a date. You can't bring a date to the wedding, because there have been enough sitcoms to remind us that this usually results in very bad situations: you pretending to be in a much better job than you currently are and your date attempts an accent, which drops off after the first toast.
Worse, you can't go alone. Going alone means that you really, really couldn't get a date, let alone a friend. It means that you will have to endure approximately seven relatives of the bride or groom that you have never met assuring you that they have a daughter, a neighbor, a traffic cop, a pediatrist, a recently released sex offender, who you would, they know, just love.
Regardless, it's a lousy way to spend an afternoon.
The only solution, naturally, is to buy them the $15 vase and potpourri set on clearance from Nordstrom with a gift note that explains how sorry you are you couldn't be there, but you wish them all the best. (Why Nordstrom? Because they handwrite the gift notes for you. Your handwriting may end up looking like it came from a midlevel employee in south Jersey, but it's better than Amazon's brick font.)
This is, of course, a bit of humor and has absolutely no bearing on any weddings I have been invited to as of late. But it's also some raw honesty. I'm tired of being single. Is it alright for me to say that out loud? Can I admit that without a series of comments assuring me that a woman is out there for me? Because I know that. I've had the privilege of dating some incredible women in my life, some long-term. I've not given up or lost hope, but I am at a place where I am putting out to the void that it's an awful thing some days to be a 1 in a +1 world. Some of your +1 friends forget that sometimes. (And no, you who just wondered if I was talking about you, I'm not.)
I miss laying beside someone in a field under stars and weaving dreams of a better world.
God is good and faithful in all things. This I know. That doesn't always make it easy.
And maybe you feel that way too, maybe you know exactly what I mean by this +1 attack, maybe it just happened to you this morning.
There's hope. There's friends. There's the clearance section of Nordstrom.
Or Baby Gap. If it's that kind of wedding ...
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