Tonight we’re going to the annual holiday cocktail party thrown by the couple we like to refer to as our “rich friends.” Said rich friends have a house and a pool and stocks and a condo at a world-famous resort that they rent out. Before we met these two, we had never had any rich friends. Now we know not only them but all of their rich friends, and tonight we’re driving an hour and a half in rush hour traffic through the rain to hang out with them. This group of rich friends flies to Vegas for a group date, they ski at only the most exclusive and expensive resorts, they frequent spas, they think a $300 dress is a steal and a $50 haircut an unbelievable bargain, they do not shop at Target. Don’t get me wrong–these people are absolutely lovely. They are nice, they are inclusive, they are easy to get along with, they have never been anything but friendly and hospitable. One of the guys kidnapped Ethan and took him to look for engagement rings a year ago. I even braved my first “girls night” with the ladies of the group, during which I put more money’s worth of product on my face than I’d probably spent for makeup in my entire life. But still, despite the kindness and good times, I get very nervous whenever I think of hanging out with them. I get sick to my stomach like you wouldn’t believe. I know it’s all in my head, of course, but that doesn’t make the cramping hurt less or the nausea go away. I feel silly being nervous because we’ve never had a bad time with them (as opposed to all the bad times we’ve had with people I never get nervous over). I think the problem is that I’m afraid of committing some stupid social faux pas that will unmask me as the uncouth savage I am. I don’t know what kind of a cup sherry should be sipped from. I don’t have any news about the investments I made out of my trust fund. I am even a little ashamed of my hair, which hasn’t been cut since that $5 trim I got at least six months ago. Normally none of this is a problem. I don’t think I’ve cared about being accepted by people EVER, and suddenly, for some reason, I do. A lot. Wait, I take that back. I don’t want to be accepted, I just don’t want to be made fun of after I leave. And that, I think, is definitely a reason to get a little worked up, right?
We see this group of people only once or twice a year, and it’s always been fun, even when we don’t bring an exotic gift, order something daring at the Afghani restaurant, or show up with fancy wine. Never have they turned up their noses at us, and for that I am infinitey grateful. This time, however, I have to worry about the fuss over the engagement, and worse, the fuss over the wedding and the ring. Almost everyone at this party is married, and although that’s a welcome change from the swinging singles we hang out with the rest of the time and with whom we can’t ever talk about relationship issues, there seems to be a lot of competition and comparison in the air when it comes to how we all run our couplehood. These are country club people, two-karat people, honeymoon for a month people, Vera Wang people. *swoon* We, decidedly, are not. Nor would we particularly like to be. And therein lies the problem. I love my life, love my relationship, love my ring, and love the fact that we don’t have a wedding date or a planner or a “destination.” But I’m afraid that these people, who couldn’t imagine being happy in my situation, will suspect that I couldn’t be either, that I’m miserable under my smile, that Ethan isn’t doing his duty as companion and protector. And that really irritates me. And it makes me sick.
This time last year, we drove halfway to the party and then, afer much arguing and blaming and self-deprecating, we turned around and came home. True, it was raining in sheets and I didn’t feel safe on the roads, true, we were going to be extremely late, true, we didn’t know anyone at the party except the hosts, and that made us nervous. But the kicker was that I didn’t have anything to wear. I had an ugly polyester shirt somewhat reminiscent of this over the top of a black dress that sagged and bunched in the boob area because it was, well, unfulfilled in its life’s purpose, and I was wearing three-year-old $7 sandals made of foam and faux velvet that looked like they were ten years old, $1.50, and made of garbage. That’s not how I would like to make my grand entr
You’ve had to wait more than a month to see the photos from our engagement weekend in Yosemite, but I had to wait six years for a proposal, so consider yourselves lucky. I know I do.
p.s. If anyone can tell me why the photos are all pixelated and bitmappy, let me know. I’m resizing things the same way I always have but the photos have never looked this grainy and yucky before. Perhaps it’s as simple as using the flash once in a while, eh?
Now this is something I could definitely do! If anyone needs an assistant (or an executive officer) for this, I’m your girl.