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Mall of America is so
much more than just shopping.
Why, you can find everything there: Hooters, Camp Snoopy, golf, a wife...!
You guys heard about this,
right? The single guy in Minnesota who got tired of his friends bugging him
about when he was getting married ... so he set a date, distributed
invitations, got a tux and the rings, hired a minister, even registered. He had
everything taken care of ... except one. Twenty-five women reportedly
attended that day's "bridal candidate mixer." Friends and family
narrowed the field to one (Elizabeth Runze), whereupon our hero proposed. They
said their vows -- witnessed by invited guests and hundreds of reporters from
around the world, and then celebrated.
Say what you will, but BG knows a million people who [half] joke that -- especially after having been able to observe so many other
weddings -- they've got all the details of their own planned...EXCEPT
ONE. This Weinlick guy was in the exact same situation -- only he's
the one who had the balls to go ahead and set the date. What can I say? Cater
it, and they will come.
Now. On the other hand, lots of you have written to me -- 'tis the season --
to say that you do have that ONE DETAIL lined up; but problem is, you're just
not sure how, uh, detail-oriented you are. In other words,when faced with the
marriage question, you say:
I Do...Or Do I?
And in general, Breakup Girl's totally unsatisfying answer is: that depends.
I mean, even a severe case of the jitters does not a jilter make. Of
course the idea of a wedding gives you the willies. The prospect of that
major a commitment is bound to trip some major wires. Marriage is, for all
intents, purposes, and people who are not Anna Nicole Smith, is forever. And that's a mighty long time. In
other words, YIKES.
But there are doubts, and there are doubts. Sometimes you consider popping
the question because you can't think of what else to do. But the truth is,
you're not so sure. And now the stakes are higher in all ways: you all think a
garden variety breakup is hard, try breaking off an [near-] engagement. And
then you wonder: are these just cold feet, or boots that should be walking? Or
some overlapping, vicious-circling, crazy-making combination of the two? And
then you sink into the Second-Guessing My Feelings Spiral. And then you are
such hell to live with that your squeeze kicks you out. Which doesn't help,
because that, if anything, will make you Sure. Also, Single.
So how the hell do you "know?"
Or, as Waffle so aptly wrote:
Dear Breakup Girl,
When contemplating marriage to your girlfriend of several years, how do
you tell the difference between cold feet, fear of commitment, and "she's
just not the one for me?"
Let me answer that with a little anecdote. Some years ago, a friend of BG's
(FOBG) was paddling around a lake with Sturdy Canoe Boy (SCB). She was
struggling with the "He's great, but..." quandary, while he, on the
other hand, was ... not. As they passed in front of his family's rustic summer
cabin, SCB said," Wow, you know, I can totally picture us at a ripe old
age, sitting on rocking chairs on that porch, looking out over this
Guess what: FOBG could not.
The thought did not alarm or revulse her, but she could not picture
She did not, mind you, have a lightning-bolt "it's over!" moment.
But she noticed that thought, and she filed it away somewhere. And a few months
later, when the really time came for her to either paddle or get off the lake,
as it were, that thought presented itself as the clearest, most sincere,
gut-level evidence that she should indeed bail.
(There is also a Dolly Parton song that is uniquely pertinent at this
"Rockin' chairs, rockin' babies, rock a-bye, Rock of Ages/ Side by side,
we'll be together always/I swear I'll always love you/I'll always be here for
you/And I'll be with you, through the rockin' years." Same thing: can
you picture it?)
So. Those of you in the I Do/Do I? quandary will have -- or have already had
-- one or more of these rocking-chair moments; your relationship will, when you
least expect it, take the Porch Test. When it does, do not act impulsively.
Just notice how you feel. That Just Know-ing feeling -- as far as I know --
isn't a magical, isolated, independent entity like that cartoon guy on Saturday
morning TV who used to walk around inside you telling you how your stomach
worked. It's a composite of outside observations and decisions that you usually
don't even realize you're making. So instead, don't drive yourself crazy making
lists of Pros and Cons: for a brief while, stop doing and thinking and
deciding, and just: pay attention. A course of action will gradually present
itself, like the crystals that form on a string dipped in sugar-water. Oh, and
whatever you decide: this is huge and complicated and unbelievably confusing,
and, well, you might mess up. Which, at least in principle, is better than
not deciding -- and loitering in the gray area that eats your gray
matter -- because you're afraid you'll mess up.
How's that for an ambiguous, open-ended opinion? To make up for it, I'll
give you something definite. If you're wondering whether to stay in a
relationship that will end up, specifically, here,
the answer is GO.
Okay, here's more:
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