The Humor and Life, in Particular Web site
author:  Margie Culbertson

June/July 2007 Humor Writing Contest Winner
Best Short Humor!

Wedding Blues


Angela Knight

Single women should not attend weddings. I seem to lose long–term partners, boyfriends and self–respect in the process.

Recently I was invited to a wedding on a ranch outside of Willits—a little town in Northern California. Willits is the place you drive through to get to anywhere else. I normally stop only to use the restroom at McDonald's or buy gas. I did see a family walking two goats down Main Street once. But without those endearing touches, Willits seems devoid of personality or allure. Maybe there is a hidden, exciting side to this town, but I don't know where to find it. A friend tells me that I haven't looked hard enough.

When I turn left onto Highway 101, I have to stop myself from turning around and heading to the coast or taking an unplanned trip to San Francisco. Maybe it was sense memory that made me want to bolt. The last time I went to a wedding, four years ago, I had my partner of nine years by my side, or so I thought. It turns out a short while later we were a couple no more. He kept using the line, "It's not enough" when I would ask him what was wrong, which should have been a dead giveaway that he was planning on leaving. I still don't know exactly what he meant, but something was not enough and he disappeared. I hear he is online dating now and I want to call and ask him if that's enough. I try to curb these tendencies as they usually end up with someone getting a restraining order.

Until I went to the wedding in Willits I was proclaiming to anyone who would listen how happy I was to be single. This turned out to be mere bravado on my part—before my singleness was put to the ultimate test. Suddenly the man I no longer have in my life is as necessary as having the right purse to match my shoes.

I asked a friend of mine to go with me even though I knew in my heart this guy wasn't going anywhere near a wedding. He is an ex–biker with a medical degree, which sort of explains the type of bad boys I am drawn to. In fact, he stopped returning my calls the week before the wedding.

I can eat out by myself and go to the movies, but facing a wedding alone is the height of absurdity. Married couples, wedding rings flashing from every left hand, surrounded me. Women arrive in cars with their escorts. I arrive alone in my truck, and have to heave myself out of it in a clingy dress and heels. The dress is clinging to me because the humidity is high and I am starting to sweat.

I feel citified and silly in my heels, especially when I realize the parking lot is about a mile from the event—down a dirt road. We wait, the long line of couples and me, for the wagon to show up pulled by a pair of Clydesdales. I fight the impulse to jump into my truck and go back the way I came. But it is like one of those damned Disneyland rides; once you get into line, it is impossible to leave. I am trapped. No one says a word while we stand there. I almost start laughing hysterically. When we board the wagon for the ride to the wedding site, no one says a word. Not one word. The creaking of the wagon is the only sound. I feel like we are going to bury our dead, rather than witness a joyous event. My eyes keep wandering, involuntarily, to the woman who is dressed in what looks like a corset. Her breasts are not merely poking out of the corset, they are trying to leap out of the top. I guess if I had breasts like that, and my husband was sitting silently by my side sweating under his hairline, I might be confident enough not to look down every two seconds to make sure they weren't making a break for the open air.

To be fair, there is a guy and gal riding in the wagon and they appear to be without a partner, too. I notice the guy doesn't return my smile and he is carrying some sort of overnight bag, strangely enough. The woman's face is set into a scowl behind her mirrored glasses. I would have thought there would be a bond between us. After all, we are the only singles in a herd of couples. I try to make small talk with them, but they ignore my efforts. As soon as the wagon stops, the young woman heads resolutely for the beer barrel. I lose sight of the guy in the onslaught of couples. With relief, I locate a nice couple to sit with and they warmly welcome me into their circle. We find seats on the bales of hay and prepare to watch the event.

Most of the guys I know hate weddings, but they go. My theory is men enjoy witnessing the public humiliation of one of their own being hog–tied and ring–bound. This wedding has a decided western theme. The groom is dressed in a black Stetson and blue vest, and cowboy boots. All the men look the same, as if they would rather be watching golf on television or even power washing the house. It is rumored the bride will ride in on a horse, but as I catch sight of her crossing the field holding up her long white dress so it won't be snagged by weeds, I realize, to my disappointment, this won't be happening.

In this outdoor setting, it is amazing to see that the bride, groom and judge, who performs the wedding, are equipped with microphones. I find myself getting soft and squishy inside when they include the bride's young daughter in the ceremony. She is given her own ring and looks like a miniature version of her mother.

After the wedding, I spot a friend of mine who is sporting a bandana tied around her neck; I ask her about it and she confesses that at one time she had the entire cowgirl outfit. It turns out she went country so she could catch a cowboy. Well, she didn't end up with a cowboy, but she learned to dress the part. Somehow I can't see myself pulling on a pair of chaps to trap a man. When she asks me if I have a date, I resist the urge to tighten her bandana for her. I picture all the singles being horse whipped for showing up without a date.In disgust, I stomp through the dirt towards the bright blue porta potties with cut outs of a cowgirl and cowboy in front of them—even the damn porta potties are a couple

©Angela Knight

About the Author: 
Angela lives, works, runs, practices yoga and pilates (poorly), and dates (poorly and sporadically) in Sacramento, California. By day, she is a legal assistant, mother of two well–adjusted grown daughters, and a grandmother; by night, she is a freelance writer with a love for the absurd (see dating reference) and mundane. She is proud to be the youngest (and most picked on) member of the Elk Grove Writer's group, and a graduate of Mills College in Oakland. In her spare time, she is putting together a collection of her short stories about dating. Watch out Bridget Jones!

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©Margie Culbertson

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