I’m 27 years old, and on Facebook. This basically means that every flipping day, someone somewhere I know is getting engaged and posting about it.
Maybe they’re doing it casually with an uppercase ‘WE’RE ENGAGED!!!’ followed by symbols of rings and brides and such. Could be that they’ve gone the cheeseball route, with a photo of the #MomentofEngagement (that hashtag is an actual thing now) and a ‘She/He/I/ It said YES!!!!’ status update. Or maybe it’s a close friend who you actually see face to face once in a while and you are told after a glass of vino (definitely preferable).
But however it happens, love - or at least engagements - is all around me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m pleased for them all - well, not the wagon who was mean to me in secondary school and remains a size 8 with wrinkle-free skin despite no longer being 17 – but everyone else I'm delira for, I swear. It’s just that the constant ramp-up of engagements has rammifications for a 27 year old, and in a long-ish relationship to boot (the audacity of not being married yet! Tick tock! Etc. etc.).
If Dante had been writing about the relationship circles of hell, then he surely would have included these:
- Your female relatives start getting restive
They want a wedding to go to and you refuse to hand over the goods. This is inevitably sparked by someone ‘from home’ getting engaged. Yes, it’s go-time for either a) a jokey response - “Sure, why would I marry [insert name here] when George Clooney isn’t taken-taken yet”, or b) a serious one like “I’m focusing on my career right now”.
The latter is likely true, and sensible, and completely justified, but will get you raised eyebrows from female relatives which wordlessly imply that you have the worst thing in the world: notions. Frustration ensues. I speak from experience.
- You learn a lot about how expensive weddings are…
…not that you asked. This is an awkward side effect of having friends on the path to the Big Day. They are anxious, and in plan-mode, and you are being supportive and therefore listening to them while you stare mournfully at your empty wine glass (because it’s actually their round but they’ve barely touched theirs so you can’t really say…).
The only thing you can do here is listen away, and try and find an element of the wedding that you’re interested in. This could be food, dresses, colour schemes, the music, venue, hen night or the inevitable wedding/family drama. Grab hold of the topic of your choice and at least contribute something supportive and positive, before heading firmly to the ladies and suggesting you get more wine on your way back.
- Your other half starts getting a bit hot under the collar
No matter how anti-wedding you are, no matter how dead-set against the institution you may be, or no matter how supremely disinterested you are in the idea of marriage right now, the constant status updates are likely freaking him out somewhat. This is not your fault (unless you are leaving strong hints about the place – like writing ‘Marry Me’ in your own peas and feigning delight and surprise).
It’s actually down to the fact that you have a uterus and he has a television. He has perhaps forgotten that you are sane, and not a caricature. What’s called for here? Reassurance? Sympathy? Understanding? I’d tell him to cop on to himself and move right on.
- You find you miss worrying about what to wear
Until the bridesmaid dress is picked, you dread its unveiling. You must look happy and unconcerned and pleased to wear the bride’s choice - however much tulle and frill has been used in its construction - because you are a good friend and you know how stressy wedding planning can make your mate (she’s even been off her wine - see above). But nevertheless you fear a luminous yellow, strapless, backless dress that defies all bras, and makes your eyes water and your head ache. And itches. Only option here is to hope against hope that your friend is a kind soul, with good taste, and that better yet she lets you help with the picking.
But when the Big Day is over and the honeymoon pictures have been shared on social media complete with 'Best holiday of my LIFE!!!!' captions, you might think that you are safe. And you are. Until baby comes.
And then you might just want to hide all their social media content.
What are your experiences of friends’ engagements/weddings/baby's photo album and bowel movement updates? And what are your survival guides and tips?