I miss sophomore year of college, when I could never say, “Hey! I used to take baths with that kid!” every time I heard about someone getting engaged. Not that there’s anything wrong with getting engaged! What’s wrong here is the public way in which recent newlyweds have decided to get engaged and plan their wedding. I know what some of you are thinking: typical jealous girl, hating on newlyweds because she wants to find a loyal man herself. Except that’s not it at all. I’m happy for couples who decide to settle down, regardless of their age; it brings me hope to know that there are still some men out there willing to settle down; and it’s always a plus when girls are taken off the market—less competition for me. No, I’m not jealous, really, I swear. I recently moved into my own apartment and am relishing all the alone time I get. I just wish everyone would stop turning their weddings into a national holiday.
When I read Amy Glass’ piece “I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry” I was nodding along the whole time. True, I do know many moms who are able to juggle work and children tremendously well, but I know so many more people who believe that their wedding and engagement is cause for celebration(s).
About 6 months ago I found out that my cousin’s boyfriend was going to propose to her. A week later I received an email from the boyfriend: “I’m going to propose to Cynthia tomorrow night at her favorite spot near South Street Seaport—would love it if you all could make it, and I know Cynthia would too.” The email was addressed to me, my brother, and our 5 other cousins. I rolled my eyes and closed my computer.
“What the shit?” I thought to myself. Who wants their proposal to be a public event, let alone one where your entire family is standing at the sidelines, gawking and cheering you on? What if my cousin doesn’t want to get married? How could she face letting her boyfriend AND her entire family down?
And as all of these thoughts were racing through my head, I decided to sit back on my couch with a pie of pizza rather than go to the public proposal. As if this wasn’t enough, later that night I received a passive aggressive text from my uncle—the newly engaged cousin’s father—saying he was “disappointed I couldn’t make it” and that my lack of presence was “noted.”
Every day it seems I’m privy, against my will, to another engagement horror story—“apparently her family pressured him into proposing to her,” and “she actually got angry with him when he didn’t propose on New Years.” (Ahhhh! My ears!) And for me, all of these women—these 20-somethings yearning for that protective, cushiony ring around their ring fingers—are starting to just blend into one. With very few exceptions, it’s the type of girl who goes to Soul Cycle and wears bandaged, high waisted skirts with really high heels every Saturday night. It’s the woman who’s cripplingly insecure and doesn’t believe in reading fiction because she wants “to actually learn something useful.” Women who, to put it bluntly, choose having a family over having a career.
Since the engagement, I’ve only texted my cousin once to congratulate her. I just can’t get myself to pick up the phone and feign elation over something I could’ve predicted 8 years ago. And I won’t lie—I did start to feel a little guilty, that maybe I should stop being a Debbie downer and just pick up the phone already. That is, until I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed and saw something my cousin had just posted: “wwww.bobandcynthia.com is now live!!…310 days!!” I opened up the link and was directed to a website they made. Dedicated to themselves. For their wedding. Tabs include gems like “How We Met,” “Our Proposal,” and “Our Registries,” all complete with photos (and that’s not including the tab “photo albums,” which showcases over 200 photos of the bride and groom to be).
I don’t know, maybe I’m just an overly bitter person, but this makes me hate newlyweds. People make websites for creative reasons, for the greater good of humanity, for art, to help look for a missing child, as a portfolio, or as a forum where diverse people can share ideas. So you’re engaged. Good for you. But why the fuck am I involved?