I am going on holiday and I am exasperated. Not from passport losing/finding fatigue but because now all my holidays have become a source of fixation as ‘possible proposal opportunities’ (PPO). I am exasperated too that the PPO is becoming increasingly less glamorous as the months pass. Give it another couple of years and it will only take us a trip to our local Tesco express to get everyone feverishly squawking- “do you think he’s going to pop the question?!” It’s a question posed most commonly by newly-weds and with a vigour more frenzied and irritating than that of the ex-smoker professing the dark days of their addled-lung existence.
And whilst I am being hoisted onto this mythical shelf to gather dust and await spinsterdom I can’t help but notice that quite the reverse social standing is becoming of my unbetrothed. Approaching 40 and being unmarried is getting him so many man points it’s untrue, he must be a real bloke to ‘dodge’ marriage for this long. And I suppose this is where my main frustration lies; no-one believes you when you say you are genuinely happily unmarried. There is absolutely no tone of voice in which one can say “I’m happy being unmarried” which doesn’t elicit the disbelieving empathy frown (DEF).
I’ve tried the passive aggressive approach “how about I discuss engagement with my boyfriend before I discuss it with you.” I’ve tried the jovial Bridget Jones approach. All I can say is thank god that franchise is a distant memory. So I drink wine at home in my pyjamas and somehow this is an indicator of a self-loathing that can only be cured by marriage? Yet a man drinking a can of strongy in his underpants is the emotional compass of contented independent living? I heard myself saying “I’m not marriage material” the other day. FFS. I thought perhaps Catherine Middleton might provide a brilliant repose after being patronised by the worlds press with their insistent “what took him so long?” but sadly not, she opted for the Diane-style dipped chin smile, it’s not one I’ve ever been able to master, perhaps you have to be posh to pull it off.
I was thrilled the other day to witness a newly-wed couple shoot down an expectant and hopeful peer who was hoping for a glorious and bestseller-worthy engagement story, only to be told, “well, we were walking past a ring shop and that was that.” The disappointed silence made me want to clap and cheer. Read a Jilly Cooper novel if you want to get off on someone else’s romance. Stop trying to do it over a glass of wine in my time.
Counsellors are seeing a rise in the phenomenon of Post-Nuptial Depression (PND) with 10% of newlyweds being diagnosed. I’d like to pop this question- why are we making ourselves ill and spending an average of £13,000 striving for the most perfect ‘perfect day’? And it doesn’t stop there, once married you may have escaped the DEF but then the probing boundary-breaking starts all over again with the “when will we hear the patter of tiny feet” drivel.
And I’m trying really hard to not to bring up the mother (in-law) of all reasons not to glide down the aisle, delving into Les Dawson territory would be gross, but it’s worth contemplating that perhaps Adam and Eve were the happiest, and the luckiest, couple in the world, because neither of them had a mother-in-law. Ba-dum-dum-ksssh!