I feel so grateful for the holy bond of wedlock for which I am preparing to embark.
Tough to say when I feel the most grateful. Perhaps it is when I look into my love’s eyes. Perhaps it is the assurance that I will not have to face life’s struggles alone. Yet in my heart, I feel the greatest surge of appreciation when I consider the many people who will never find love such as this. For it is only when we contemplate the less fortunate that we can truly feel good about ourselves.
Love, my friends, is an exclusive club, and you have to have the right denominations to bribe the bouncer. It takes a heart for others (check), the ability to get in touch with one’s feelings (check), the ability to put another person’s needs above your own (optional), physical attractiveness (double check) and a sweet ride with which you can pull up to her house and rev the engine, thus announcing that you intend to pick her up for your date without meeting her parents (more of a high school thing, but check).
There were moments there in the last 23 years when I wondered, “Will I have what it takes to make a marriage work?” But when I stopped Liz in the middle of the Sizzler parking lot last Saturday night, busted out that fatty rock and said, “See anything you like?” I knew from the relative brevity of her hesitation that yeah, baby, I’ve got it.
Once you’re in the engaged club, life is sweet. Engaged/married couples are inviting us to dinner, dancing, swingers’ parties (“No thanks, but I like being asked, and actually, can I hang on to this number in case my morals become a little more flexible?”), movies, yacht races, tyrant hangings—and we’re loving it. Couples who never used to give us the time of day are calling us nonstop, saying, “Please know that the time is currently 3:40 pm.” They do it so much, I stopped wearing a watch.
Also, I don’t have to be careful not to flirt with other girls because they know I’m off the market. “Congrats, you hunk of man!” female friends and co-workers will tell me. Then, while we’re hugging they’ll notice that my back is tense and offer to work out a couple of knots, and I’ll say, “Sure you don’t mind?” And it’s not a gray area because I’m engaged! Awesome!
I’m told that being engaged is a lot of work, but so far my status only serves as the ultimate excuse not to do work, as in, “I’d love to file these I-9 forms, but I’m a little engaged right now.”
The pathetic fact remains that there are still a lot of people who are not engaged/married, and these people are, by nature, very sad. When one of these people congratulates me on my good news, I smile, nod, and say, “Listen here: It’ll happen to you too. But you have to let it happen on its own time.” Of course, this is not necessarily true, but it’s very nice of me to say it.
Then I pat them on the head or give them a side hug and add, “I want you to know that my engagement won’t change our friendship.” That part is a flat-out lie. Truth is, I’ve been planning to shed these friends for months now. I kept them around this long in case getting engaged wasn’t the instant popularity ticket I suspected it would be. But it was.