Monday, February 23, 2009

Not *just* a bride

Reading Sara Cotner's thoughtful response to Hortense's tirade about becoming an Officially Engaged Person inspired me to come out of the closet as an Ambivalent Bride. Don't get me wrong: I am thrilled to be marrying the spectacular Mr. Barefoot who is as fun and talented and fascinating as they come. But the whole bride thing has had me tied up in knots for weeks. It's good to know that others share my distaste for the Wedding Industrial Complex, as well as the societal message that this is the Most Important Thing You've Ever Done.

Sara said it so perfectly, I just have to quote her verbatim:
It's sad to me that a person can do all sorts of meaningful and important things with their lives and yet getting engaged seems to trump them all.... . Over the years, I've announced amazing job offers, my decision to go on a self-subsidized sabbatical and travel for a year, awards I've won, etc. When I announced that I was getting married, I received more responses than I ever had before.
I had the same experience. By the responses I got, getting engaged seemed to top all my other professional accomplishments, which include winning prizes, research grants and awards, and being invited to present at international conferences. In the societal eye, these matter little next to Hooking the Guy. Whatever comes next will no doubt be better, now that I have someone to share it with, but I hate the society discounts our single life, implying all that was preliminary to finding the Right Guy. My single life was just as important to me as my newly coupled life, and entirely gratifying in different ways. Maybe I was able to accomplish all that I did because I was single, pouring my focus and attention into my work and personal pursuits.

I can certainly see the converse: now that I'm engaged, my attention is split between my professional work and planning a big blowout party. Which I am very excited about, but neither the party, wedding or ring is the be all and end all. The much more significant and meaningful moment was that one that was just the two of us on the beach when we decided to get married.

1 comment:

The Thirty-Something Bride said...

Just found your blog and I am browsing old posts. I love this. I too am successful and have traveled the world and jumped out of planes and kayaked rapids and done amazing things. NOTHING compares to the responses I've had to being engaged.