When Celeste asked me to be her maid of honour, I went from thrilled to terrified in 30 seconds. I guess that's appropriate, since it's about the same amount of time it took Celeste to get engaged.
My terror wasn't a reaction to being a bridesmaid so much as a reaction to the bride. Cheesy flashbacks of our friendship (to the clichéd tune of Girls Just Want To Have Fun, of course) ran through my head.
Here she was, my once sensible and chronically single best bud, planning to say "I do." Even freakier was the fact that she only started dating Kirk seven months ago. Yes, just seven months ago he was just some guy, and now they're picking out floral arrangements and chair covers.
I like Kirk and I love Celeste, so I'm trying not to diminish their engagement bliss, but that doesn't mean I understand it.
Before this, there was the incident with my roommate's jackass of an ex. For six long years he had been her on-again, off-again boyfriend. I could never keep track of their status, but I think they were fairly close to on-again when he called her to confess that he was actually engaged to someone else. He'd been dating his fiancée - also on-off, of course - for a mere five months.
Then there was my neighbour's little brother - barely 21, in his second year of university and engaged to someone he'd known for six months.
That's three quickie engagements in my immediate social circle. Which leads me to ask, when did marriage become the new "it" thing to do?
Has dating become a six-month process, from the first meeting to a ring on the third finger? Is it possible that my generation is merely following in the footsteps of all the J.Los and Britneys, wearing wedding bands like fashion accessories?
As for me, I met Brent recently at a speed-dating night (a rather ironic confession, I know). He was cute, funny and nice, and I was attracted enough to make out with him as we stood in the alley alongside Honest Ed's. Yet why is it that I'm now screening my calls for fear that we may actually end up dating? Here I am, bridesmaid to the headfirst couple, and I won't even get my feet wet.
So maybe I'm the one who's out of sync with it all.
Some people tell me I'm afraid of commitment, but I just feel that I'm too young and inexperienced to be saying "I do," especially to someone I've known for less time than I've known my hairdresser. I'm too self-absorbed, too unsure of myself and too busy doing ridiculous shit (like speed dating) to contemplate any relationship beyond next Saturday night's.
Maybe these speedy relationship-seekers are the ones with the real phobia. I may be afraid to commit, but isn't it equally possible that they're just afraid to be alone?
I know I'm a single snob. What can I say? I love it - the independence, the flirty nights out. Why on earth would I want to give it up in exchange for a minivan and picket fence?
But then I remember those first dates that feel like job interviews and those greasy pickups at bars and the hangovers that follow, leaving me curled up on the couch watching infomercials every Sunday. Ahh the single life.
I hate it.
And I love it.
I'll call Brent, I won't call Brent - I can't seem to decide, and so naturally, I wait for him to call. Then I don't call him back.
Being the marrying kind is one thing, but I can't decide if I'm even the dating kind. I'm in commitment limbo, somewhere between speed dating and sprinting away from the tossed bouquet that'll hit me on the head like the Acme anvil that bonked Wile E. Coyote.
Occasionally, I break down and wonder if I'm too old to be single and all rah-rah, girl-power. My parents' neighbour asked if I was a lesbian because I'm 25 and never bring boyfriends home. My grandmother gave me what she thought was good advice: "You're just waiting for a rich old man to take care of you." I confess that I've contemplated pulling my own Anne Heche or Anna Nicole Smith routine, but unfortunately I can't seem to turn myself into a lesbian or a gold digger. (Besides, now that we have same-sex marriage, I fear even as a lesbian I'd be expected to be engaged.)
So, the question remains: should I be seeking companionship like my peers who are on the fast track to marriage? Maybe I should dive headfirst with Brent. Maybe six months from now I, too, could be wearing a ring and choosing bridesmaids.
Ick. The thought helps me make up my mind, and I decide once and for all not to call Brent. Ever.
In my role as a bridesmaid, I'll truly be happy for the couple. I'll gladly do my duty and give the newlyweds a heartfelt sappy speech. I might even - lord help me - lose all self-control and sway longingly on the dance floor to the bad 80s love ballads.
But despite my worst lapses into romanticism, I'll certainly duck and run away shrieking if the bouquet flies my way.