I get invited to a lot of shit. I was in a sorority and then law school and I guess I’m just generally a likable person with some friends. In the last two years, I’ve attended fourteen weddings, been a bridesmaid in three, went to nine bridal showers, seven bachelorette parties, and five baby showers. The problem here is that I’m twenty-eight, newly-ish single and poor (why did no one tell me it would take approximately 28.5 years to pay back law school loans?). So, with each calligraphy-lettered invitation that I receive in the mail, I am reminded that I will be attending yet another wedding alone (or, alternatively, desperately trying to find a remotely cute guy that I can pass off to my friends as someone “I just started talking to”); that by the time to celebrate my bachelorette party we’ll be the thirty (forty?) something ladies at the bar that look awkwardly out of place; and, that it is a real possibility my ovaries rot out before I get the chance to have a baby.
With each opening of the envelope, I am reminded that I am not where I had hoped to be in my life. No husband, no baby. Twenty-eight and back at square one after a jerk I wasted four years of my life on finally decided to tell me he didn’t really love me. The fancy font stares at me with a certain sneer: “Hannah and Guest.” It’s like a dagger to the heart. Even worse is that I know the invitation will be followed with a call or text asking if I received it and I’ll say yes and squeal with excitement and tell you how gorgeous it is and how I just cannot wait to see you at said event.
But this, dear friends, is what I really think when I receive your invitation to…
Be a bridesmaid: But, I don’t understand…you think it’s an honor for me to pay $200 for a hideous dress I’ll never wear again? If we were really best friends, you’d know I’m totally cool with sitting this one out. This is really just an invitation for me to throw you a shower, isn’t? I haven’t talked to you since college…you really have not made any new friends? I don’t want to stand beside your sister at the altar; she’s, like, a size zero. This means I have no say in whether I attend the bachelorette party. I will not purchase another pair of nude heels just so we all have matching shoes. Is now a good time to mention that your future husband is an asshole?
A bachelorette party: But, I don’t understand…wouldn’t it make more sense to buy a single girl lingerie? No married woman really wears lace corsets, right? If you wear a crown, I’m not coming. Sorry, doll, you’re definitely not a size 32C. Las Vegas? Really? So I have to choose between your party in Vegas or paying my mortgage; awesome. I will not wear a group t-shirt. I wonder if you’ll end up getting drunk and making out with a random; that would be worthy of my attendance. I will not drink out of a penis straw. Is now a good time to mention that your future husband is an asshole?
A wedding: But, I don’t understand…I still eat off of plates that my mom bought me at a yard sale, but I’m supposed to buy you a $150 Kate Spade bowl? There’s gonna be alcohol right? Lots of it? Hard liquor? Can I just see you at the reception? Thank God I’m not a bridesmaid…the dresses will be hideous. Can I bring a girl? Is that acceptable? Or will everyone think I became a lesbian? Can I call dibs on a groomsman? I’m not getting you a wedding gift; I spent all my money on a damn Victoria’s Secret corset for you. Is now a good time to mention that your future husband is an asshole?
And, the worst of the worst, a baby shower: But, I don’t understand…Buy Buy Baby is like a foreign land to me and you expect me to find a 100% cotton, soft yellow swaddle blanket with ducks amongst the millions of other blankets? Does the baby really care what color it is? Remember when you used to be fun? I will not play the diaper game. I will not build you a cake out of diapers. I will not do anything that involves a diaper. Is this BYOB? Because I’ll be bringing vodka. Are you seriously giving your child that name? Sunday afternoon at 2 pm? But that’s my nap time. So, still not a good time to mention that your husband is an asshole?
Yes, I think of all of these things. But before I am forever redlined from your invitation lists, know that my thoughts will be buried deep, so as to not seep out into my exterior actions. When I find an invitation staring back at me from the mailbox, I let out a loooooong sigh, pull out the RSVP card, and put a check in the box on the line that says “Yes, I will be attending.” I put a sad number “one” on the “number of guests” line. And I tell you that I can’t wait to celebrate with you! That you’ll be a beautiful bride! That you’ll make a wonderful mother! And I do it because I love you, or at least like you. But I do it with a little bit of sadness in my heart. I do it with the hopes that you’ll remember, when all of these monumental days eventually roll around in my life, that I was there for you – to share in your happiness when I didn’t have very much of my own. When I was just “Hannah and guest.”