I think that there is some kind of betting pool going on in my office surrounding how long it will take me to get married. People seem inordinately interested in the matter, not just my coworker-friends, but my coworker-acquaintances. Even the plain old coworkers who don’t know my last name and call me Jennifer half the time have something to say about my naked ring finger.
The other day I was confirming an appointment over the phone.
“Yes,” I said. “It’s on the calendar. It’s official.”
As I hung up, I heard footsteps running down the hall and a breathless colleague leaped through my doorway as though she heard me murder somebody.
“What’s official?” she cried. “Are you getting married?”
No, I told her. Just making sure that I’ll be here when the FedEx guy arrives, although FedEx is very exciting too.
Most of these inquiries don’t annoy me at all. I’m at the age where all my cohorts and companions are tying knots all over the place, and so it’s natural to expect that I would have wedding bells on the brain. I don’t mind answering the question, “When are you getting married?” with a noncommittal shrug and an “I’unno,” so that both the curious coworker and I can get along with our days.
There is a particular woman, though, who makes a subtle art out of asking me this question whenever I see her. Last Friday she came into my office and sat in the spare chair, waiting for my boss to get off a phone call.
Her: “Well, how are you, dear girl?”
Me: “Oh, good. Great, now that we have a little sunshine! How are you?”
Her: “Just fine, thank you. A little birdy told me you moved into a new place!”
Me: “Yes! It’s really wonderful, we’re enjoying it a lot.”
Her: “We, being…”
Me: “My boyfriend and I.”
Her: “Yes, and what is your boyfriend doing?”
Me: “He’s getting his PhD over at the college.”
Her: “I see. Is this the same boyfriend you had before, or is this one of your new boyfriends?”
Me: “One of…? N-no, it’s the same boyfriend. We’ve been dating since high school.”
Her: “Since high school! My word, dear girl! Why aren’t you married yet?”
Me: “Well…uh…we’re still pretty young, we both feel like…and-”
Her: “How old are you? You are not too young, if you’ve been seeing each other so long! Why haven’t you gotten engaged? Are you at least engaged?”
Me: “N-no. We’re just not at a place where we can, uh, where we can have the type of wedding we would like to have, so we’re just waiting to-”
Her: “Oh, dear girl, that shouldn’t be your problem! What you do is go to Mommy and Daddy and tell them you’re getting married, and everything will be paid for.”
Me: (bristling a bit) “Mommy and Daddy have three daughters, and I wouldn’t ask them to pay for three weddings.”
Her: “Ten thousand dollars for their dear daughters’ weddings isn’t asking for too much, especially if that’s why you’re waiting!”
Me: “TEN THOU-”
Her: “Dear girl, Mommy and Daddy understand that weddings only happen once in a lifetime.”
Me: “Well. Ideally.”
You would have thought I’d slapped her right in the eye. She reeled back in her seat and glowered at me disapprovingly. I waited for her to answer.
Her: “I’m just going to…see if (Boss) is off the phone now.”
BONUS EPILOGUE FUN TIME:
When I told this story to my father (while he made egg sandwiches in the kitchen) he scoffed and said, “Maybe we’d give you ten thousand dollars if we were the type of parents you called Mommy and Daddy. We’re actually a mother and father.”
“Don’t kid yourself, Dad,” I said. “You’re more of a Ma and Pa.”
Ol’ Pa Bagley agreed.