Monday, August 25, 2003

Paige's Obsession

My freshman year of college, I went home with a new friend to her hometown one weekend, and in turn met her childhood friends. I was particularly struck by the hobby of one of those friends, Paige. She was a real girly-girl, in a reserved sort of glasses and lacy bedspread nice girl way. She still had all her baby dolls and some of those china dolls with the perfect ringlets and velvet and lace dresses, and her room was all pastels and frills. She had a pristine white carpet, which I just couldn't even imagine having in any room of my house, knowing full well it would be moments before it was permanently stained with paint, food, or tracked-in dirt. Paige, though, was the kind of girl who could keep everything white and unsullied. And I mean EVERYTHING.

One of Paige's preoccupations was her wedding day. Let me just point out immediately that at the time of our first meeting, there was no groom in view, not even on the distant horizon, but that crucial bit of information seemed to be lost on our heroine. She had subscriptions to every bridal magazine you could think of, and they were all over her bedroom: Bride, Modern Bride, Victorian Wedding, Big Fluffy White Dress, Your Most Important Day EVER, It Must All Be Exquisitely, Storybook Perfect, And If It Isn't, You Have Every Right To Go Postal Bridal Quarterly. I found it alarming that not one person I told this story to at the time seemed to find this alarming. Now, being a Monday-morning- quarterback-variety psychologist, I figured that she was channeling some completely untapped sexual energy into this obsession with THE BIG DAY (which she subconsciously must've known would lead into THE BIG NIGHT), but that's just my theory.

Anyway, although Paige was an extreme case of wedding day obsession, meeting her was the first time I realized that I was in the minority among my friends, having not spent nearly as much time thinking about my dream wedding as any of those in my social circle. Even the most hard-boiled girls seemed to have pretty definite ideas about their dress, bridal bouquet and the colors of their bridesmaids' dresses, but I hadn't given it any serious thought.

Well, it's not like I hadn't given it any thought at all. There was this game that we used to play as little girls, it might have been the Wedding Game, but I don't know the title for certain. It's one where someone made this origami-like box that fit over four fingers, and on each one of the little finger folds, you were to write down the four names of your favorite flowers, colors, boys and honeymoon destinations, and then some rhyme was recited while moving the fingers around in a pattern, until at the end of the rhyme, the position of the four fingers determined your groom, bouquet, bridesmaid dress color and honeymoon. Does anyone else remember playing this game? My cousin Barbara was particularly fond of this game, and she drove me mental with pleas to play. "Pick another flower! You need to pick four colors! Pick another! What do you mean, you can't think of four boys in your grade you like? I had to narrow my choices down!" And on, and on, ad nauseum. Keep in mind, I was in the third grade when she was demanding I figure out my matrimonial happiness choices right then and there, and I will admit to you now that since she didn't go to school with me and had no idea who the boys I might fancy could be, I often resorted to making up names just to placate her thirst for new rounds of the Wedding Game. Of course, I've always been pretty fussy as far as the objects of my affection anyway, and would be hard-pressed all these years later to name you four guys that I would even consider dating, but that's besides the point.

The point is that lately, I find myself thinking about these things. Wedding things. Flowers, cakes, a party, dresses, how many people I would invite, or where would I like to have a ceremony. These thoughts have been creeping into my mind and conversations with friends lately, and I'm not really sure why. Well, that's rather disingenuous of me to say that. I mean, YOU probably know why. But the sad truth is that although J and I have been together for more than two years, I am only marginally closer to getting married than poor Paige was all those years ago, with her Bridal fantasy spread out all over her virginal bedroom. So why have these thoughts started to bubble up, more and more frequently?

I have found myself looking at wedding cakes in magazines, and giving them entirely too much consideration. I was caught by a friend saying that I'd like such and such a kind of cake at my wedding, and she slyly asked me, "Are you getting married soon, then?" I must've turned all kinds of red, because I was mortified. Did I really just say that out LOUD? Why was I looking at those flowers in the florist and thinking, "I think I might like those in the bouquet when I get mar..." When I get what? Was I really just mooning about this or that little arrangement for a wedding that has never been discussed? What am I doing even considering such a thing, even abstractly, when the guy can't even bring himself to say those three little words to me? (Yes, I am back to beating that dead old horse, but I will beat ole' Seabiscuit here until I hear him say it, because my insecure soul screams out for verbal verification of his feelings for me.)

I still don't want the whole frou-frou wedding thing, well, at least not in the traditional sense. But I'm starting to admit to myself that I would like to be married some day. And it's not really important what that day turns out to be. Maybe it'll be standing in a garden with a handful of friends and family, and we'd have a big bar-b-que afterwards, or it could be a costume party at a VFW. I really don't know. I think I would like to wear some kind of dress , and have some flowers, and have a cake. What each of these three things would look like, I have no idea. Yet I find myself tossing ideas around in my head, since I have obviously have plenty of time to plan. Maybe years.

Even though I'm not set on the other parts of the game, I hope that the boy who comes up on my Wedding Game origami paper thingy is J. Because he's the one I want. I wouldn't even put other names on the paper, because I feel in my gut that he's my "one". But I'm trying really hard not to get my heart set on any of this. See, even though in the children's version of the Wedding Game there are no winners or losers, it's not true in the grown-up version. My heart is at stake, the one I've worked hard all these years to protect from these fantasies. And yet here I am, ruminating about flower arrangements and whether we'd have a band. How stupid.

Damn you anyway, Paige.

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