I have been in thirty three weddings.
I am not talking about how many I’ve been to, but how many I’ve been in. I was a bridesmaid in some. I am a full time singer songwriter so I have sang and played in many more. Unfortunately, my job in these weddings has never been to walk down the aisle in a white dress. But I tell you what, if I ever get married, I will have lots of ideas to choose from.
Let’s just look at one wedding that I went to a few years ago that is a snapshot of my single life
Two of my dearest friends were getting married. It was a beautiful backyard wedding. Before the wedding started I was talking to my friend Shannon, a very feisty, happily married 40 year old. This is what Shannon said to me that day, as she gestured towards my curled hair and perfect makeup and my eggplant colored sleeveless dress that showed off my shoulders
“Kate, you look smoking hot. Too bad it’s just wasted. ”
Most of you that are single are shaking the heads, putting this comment in the mental file called “insensitive things that married people say to single people.” Believe me, that mental file is chock full of comments people have made to me over the years , but this was not one of them. I was not offended by this remark, because I knew that Shannon meant it as a compliment. What she was saying is “What the heck, Kate? You are wonderful person. I don’t understand why you’re still single. ” People say this to me often.
It is kind of a mystery to all of us.
During the wedding, I sang a love song that I wrote. My married friend Seth came up to me and said “Kate, in that dress, singing that song, any single guy here would want to dance with you. ” I felt very flattered. At the reception, thinking about those two comments as I was eating my chicken a la king, I started to feel very confident, brazen even. I was beautiful. Someone would want to dance with me.
I began to anticipate the dancing that was about to begin. One of those handsome single groomsmen would see me across the room and think “that was the girl who sang her song during the wedding. She fascinates me. I want to dance with her. ” He would walk up shyly and ask me. We would step out onto the dance floor and he would gently take my hand. Even that would give me butterflies, since no one has touched my hand in a long time. And then we would move together. Two peopled with different personalities, different weakness’, different strengths, moving as if they were one.
Maybe I would even fall in love.
The time came for the single men to ask the single women to dance. I stood at the edge of the floor in anticipation like Cinderella at the ball.
No one asked me to dance.
Instead of feeling like the intriguing girl everyone wanted to dance with, I felt more like the Old Maid in that children’s card game- standing alone while everyone else paired up. I could have pulled out my knitting needles and my rocking chair right then and there. I wanted to say “Hey! Single guys! Over here! According to my married friends, this dress makes me look smoking hot! Doesn’t anyone want to dance with me?” I waited, hoping for a falling-in-love-worthy song. Surely all those groomsmen were just being shy.
Sadly, the next song was anything but romantic. Can you guess what it was? I’ll give you one hint: it has nothing to do with wedded bliss and everything to do with an athletic club.
That’s right folks, the YMCA.
The YMCA seems to be a dance designed for people who can’t dance. A dance that you could do even if you were in a wheelchair. If you are unable to learn the incredibly complicated 80’s dance that involves hopping up and down alone, you can at least fling your arms out to spell things. “Look at us!” we say. ” Who says we can’t dance? We are so coordinated! We can all spell out the letters for the Young Men’s Christian Association in perfect unison! ”
I was annoyed, but I still I went out there and “danced” with all the other bad dancers. More accurately I “spelled.” But I wasn’t in perfect unison with them. Instead of YMCA, I was spelling WPCD. A little secret joke between me and myself. White People Can’t Dance. This has been a tradition for me at weddings ever since then. *
In the songs that followed, I participated in all of the traditional dances performed at caucasian majority weddings. You know, like the squat, the point and squat, the clap point point clap point point point clap point and squat, the hip breaker, the caucasian clap, the point to the Lord, and the fat rebel.
And finally, towards the end of the wedding came the dance I really wanted to participate in, even if it was reminiscent of awkward middle school moments; slow dancing whities. **
But there would be no slow dancing for me. Not even in my smoking hot dress.
I wanted love, and instead, I got the white man’s overbite.
Seriously God? Seriously?
That night was kind of a snapshot of my life. The reception started out with me eating at a table with dear friends and loving life. I laughed. I felt accepted. I was thankful. But then the dancing came and everyone took their partner . Another pair and another pair and another pair. I sat at the table and slowly ate my wedding cake, an important stance when you don’t want to look like you have nothing to do while everyone is dancing. I tried really hard not to cry.
I don’t want this to be difficult for me. I want to be satisfied in who I am as a single woman. But when I look at those pairs dancing, no matter how hard I try to fight it, I don’t feel smoking hot. I feel alone.
Married or single, it is one of our biggest fears to be alone. In a 2005 gallup poll on what people fear the most, the top fears were terrorist attacks, death, failure, nuclear war, and, you guessed it; being alone. All of desire three basic things: To be loved for who we are, to feel like we’re valuable, and to know that we’re not alone. And for some mysterious reason, all of us, married or single, have a really hard time knowing how to give and receive those things.
How do we find hope that is still hope even if it doesn’t end in a wedding dress? How can we prepare ourselves if we do get married? How can we be thankful for where we are today? What can singles and married people learn from each other to help us cope with this journey? Is a life that has no intimate witness still valuable? If a traditional family never comes to us, are we doomed to loneliness, or can we build our own family? Does God see me alone at my table, eating my wedding cake? Does He care? Does He feel the same way at times?
These are some of the questions that I want to explore in this blog. I love the thought of you going on this journey with me. Let’s walk fully clothed along this road together.
*I looked up YMCA and wedding on the internet as “research” and found this in Yahoo Answers:
Question: “Do fundamentalist Christians do the YMCA dance at weddings? It just seems like it would be the dance of the devil. Which village people singer do they like the most?”
Best Answer- chosen by asker “The Village People are a creation of Fundamentalist Christians, so yes. They like the construction worker best because the Lord likes hard work. ”
Another not so popular answer was “Fundamental Christians prefer the Hokey Pokey, while pentacostals are hot for the electric slide.” This is what happens when you do research on the internet.
**All of these moves and more can be seen on the youtube video “How To Dance Like A White Guy.” Very scientific, incredibly accurate internet research.