Sunday, December 10, 2006

Stop Here. Get Spouse. A Christmas Story

One Christmas after I opened presents from my mom, she turned to me and said, “And your boyfriend’s bringing something special, too.” My aunt, like a great white smelling fresh blood, made a beeline across the room. “Is it a ring? Do you think it’s a ring? What if it’s a ring?” she said, looking expectantly back and forth at my mother and me. Now, we had been together a little over a year and things were going well but marriage? That was crazytalk. Of course he wasn’t proposing. I told her she was nuts and went on setting the table.

But privately I felt nausea and a creeping dread. Other thoughts and emotions were taking over. Shock: Oh my god, what if she’s right? Could she be right? Then horror: Would he really just ask me even though we had never discussed it? I was terrified and sad that if this was it—a proposal—it was not at all how I wanted it to be, so what could that possibly mean for us? Proposing in front of the gaping stares of my entire nosey family? My teasing brothers? Without ever talking to me about marriage? WHO DID HE THINK HE WAS? I wasn’t prepared to answer. I hadn’t even thought about it. Now I was outraged—a thought process and range of emotions that took all of about 60 panic-stricken seconds to complete.

Thankfully I never verbalized this 0-60 silent freakout, since he later showed up with a gift certificate from my favorite Manhattan nail salon that my mom had coordinated with him to get.

Ah, the holidays. If you're single, you're going to be interrogated about why that's so. If you're dating, you're going to be interrogated about whether or not he's proposing.


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