Saying "I Don't"

Weddings make her cry but marriage is not for her

I’m the wedding crier. Not just little dabbing-at-the-corners-of-my-eyes-with-a- handkerchief mistiness. I’m talking audible sobs, guttural noises, everything. I cry at weddings where I can’t understand the language. I cry at weddings where I don’t believe the marriages will last. I cry at weddings where I’ve never met the bride or the groom.

I’m sitting in a pew in Grace Cathedral in San Francisco watching my friend walk down the aisle wearing a gorgeous Valentino gown. I’m crying, of course. The friend next to me whispers, “This is the moment every girl has dreamed about for as long as she can remember.” I search inside myself to see if this moment in fact resonates with any dream I’ve ever had and I can’t find one example. At the reception following the gorgeous ceremony, I run in the opposite direction when the bride throws the bouquet.

This is how little I’ve cared about weddings, at least my own: The first time I almost got married was my sophomore year in college, where students were only allowed to live and eat off campus if they were upperclassmen or married. A platonic guy friend and I decided we’d get married down at the courthouse as a way to get out of dorm life early. Then we found out the blood tests for the marriage license cost $80, so we said forget it.

In my early 20s, my best girlfriend and I went to the diamond district in New York and bought matching standard-issue gold wedding bands, which she and I wore to make the point that a wedding band only means what the person wearing it means by it and that it can in fact be meaningless or have an entirely different meaning altogether. It felt like rebellious fun to wear my wedding band to clubs and see which men came on to me anyway. It also helped keep some men away when that’s what I wanted. My friend and I wore them for about a year, until she met a guy and got engaged and then she wore a wedding band the way it’s intended to be worn for a few years until she got divorced.

The second time I almost got married, about seven years ago, I let my assistant plan the whole thing. I was really busy at work, plus I figured that I didn’t know nearly enough about what a wedding was supposed to be since I hadn’t been paying attention to them my whole life like most girls, the ones who’d dreamed of their weddings since they were 3. I joked that I’d be walking down the aisle and shout to my assistant, “Hey Karen, these are nice flowers. What kind are they?” Anyway, I got pregnant and so we decided to put off the wedding and that was a relief.

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