I’m at that age where everyone I know is getting married in a barn in Vermont or on a beach somewhere and while I personally don’t have any desire to get married, I’m happy for my friends. I will give you hearty congratulations, I will even send you a card (maybe) and go through all the motions of being happy for you.
Just don’t ask me to be a bridesmaid.
This came up in a conversation with a colleague who loves going to weddings and she was shocked to hear that I actually refuse to be a bridesmaid (except for my sister because my mother threatened to kill me). It had nothing to do with whether or not I’m happy for them or value their friendship (because I am and I do) it’s just a general policy. Being a bridesmaid is expensive, it’s time consuming, and since so few people I know live in DC it’s basically a financial/time suck and to be quite honest I think I’ve done enough.
I have what I once called “Kimmy Gibbler Syndrome.” I’m the quirky, strange friend who is not smart, good looking, or popular but who provides comic relief and serves as the foil to make DJ Tanner/Blossom/etc. look better. My role as gatekeeper/matchmaker came with being friends with really gorgeous, brilliant, talented women. In high school, I was the prom information exchange about who had dates and who didn’t and I facilitated the setting up of dates (I personally was never asked to prom and I didn’t attend). In college, I learned to be really skeptical of men who suddenly befriended me because they always wanted an in with some girl I was friends with, and I accepted that. It’s all good.
I kept my mouth shut about how they flirted with the guys at that academic conference and the guys all wanted their number when their boyfriend picked us up at the airport asking how the conference went. And I didn’t judge them harshly when they said they had no idea that guy liked them even though he was driving 30 minutes to their apartment each night to pick up their mail while they were out of town for 2 weeks (because you know how it is, guys just always do that kind of crap for them). And I sold my ticket to a concert to the guy who was supposed to be going with me but who said he wanted to take my friend instead even though I was the one who bought the tickets in the first place…
Frumptastic me derived genuine joy from setting them up with their long term boyfriends/husbands, listening to their relationship pitfalls and upswings, and I was happy to do all these things for them and never once complained about any of it to them. Not even when they patronizingly tell me not to worry, I’ll find someone eventually. I cried alone in the bathroom like a normal person then when out and then smiled and moved on the first time I realized a guy was friendly with me only because he wanted to meet my gorgeous friend. This has helped make me the team player I am today–always willing to take one for the team and put myself last because let’s be honest, that’s where I belong, and I’m okay with that, really.
But where I draw the line is being a bridesmaid because in my eyes, I’ve done enough for these people and I’d rather spend my time going for a run and my money on a trip to Disney World than on a dress I’m never going to wear and if drawing the line there makes me selfish, then so be it. It’s about fucking time I was selfish about something.