I proposed to my girlfriend early last December. I spent months organizing a big Hobbit premiere party, and cutting a fake trailer to show as my proposal. So when the girl of my dreams said yes, and everything went like it does in the movies, I thought that was the happy ending to my single-hood. Bam! You’re engaged, it’s what you wanted and worked for, proceed to have a bridal glow till you walk down the aisle! Right? Wrong.
I felt like there must be something wrong with me. I wasn’t as happy as I should be. I got exhausted when someone asked about the proposal or the wedding. I thought it might be that I had spent months on a huge proposal and was just tired. I wasn’t disappointed in how the proposal went, and I had no reservations about my now-fiancée. But I still spent about 50% of every day wondering if I should call off the wedding.
It was hard to watch my fiancee glow, and tell everyone all about this huge proposal that I was now convinced was a mistake. I knew I had no doubts about her. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, she was going to be the mother of my children, our life seemed like a wonderful adventure stretched out before us. But I still couldn’t feel the excitement it seemed I should.
Lying in bed one night, sleepless and guilty, I started Googling “Cold Feet.” Among the fairly unhelpful articles, there was one titled, “Mourning my single self.” Upon reading it, I had such a moment of epiphany that I was surprised the choir of angels didn’t wake my fiancee up.
I wasn’t unhappy with my engagement; I wasn’t scared of the wedding or the marriage. I was sad that the awesome things I did when I was single were no more. One of the aspects of getting married is the goal of never being single again. And in seeking marriage, I hadn’t said goodbye yet to a lifestyle that had been good to me.
I was an epic single girl. I rocked being stringless and ringless. I never felt the need to be with someone, and so was only in relationships sporadically. It wasn’t all great, but the good things outnumbered the bad. I loved using up all the hot water and leaving wet footprints around the apartment. I stayed up till god knows when, mainlining junk food and bad action movies. And more than anything, I liked the bar scene.
I knew every bar in my college town, and took it as a compliment rather than a statement about my lifestyle when the bouncers waved me in with recognition. But bringing people home was now a game I didn’t get to play anymore. More and more after my engagement, I found myself chiding myself for checking people out. “You’re about to be a married woman, you’re not supposed to want to flirt anymore.”
I needed to know that I could still draw someone from across the room, that they could want to spend all night talking to me knowing I might not go home with them.
Almost in tears of nervousness one night, I told her my idea. I wanted to take her home from a bar one night. We would switch our rings to another finger, meet somewhere we’ve never been, and pretend to have met for the first time. I needed to know that I could still draw someone from across the room, that they could want to spend all night talking to me knowing I might not go home with them. I felt needy and horrible even asking, but thankfully my girl knew this wasn’t a statement about her not being enough. She agreed and we waited for a good day.
A few months later we put the plan into action and the night went better than I could have anticipated. I picked a divey jazz club we had never been to. The old excitement of going out to meet someone was there — I got my hair done, and tried on dresses I hadn’t pulled out in a while. I walked into the club, spotted her, and headed back to the bar. A few minutes later, this gorgeous blonde in a Star Wars t-shirt and killer boots asked if she could buy me a drink.
I found myself listening to her and engaging in the conversation more than I had in a long time. This wasn’t like sitting next to her on the couch, plugged into two devices and making occasional comments about Portlandia. This was sitting together in a booth, being acutely aware of when our knees would touch, and wondering what she would do if I kissed her. I sat up straighter, tried to be wittier, and found myself falling for her all over again. And when we went home together, it wasn’t just a matter of course, it was a mutual victory.
I feel better leaving my single self behind now. The date went so well for both of us, we might do a repeat every so often just to remind ourselves we would still choose each other. And when people ask us how we met, while I’m telling the real story, I can say in my head, “She saw me across a dim jazz club and asked to buy me a drink…”