A few weeks ago I went to the wedding of a dear friend. While thrilled to celebrate her union to a rather sensational man, I was reminded of something that had very little to do with nuptials: the adulthood datingverse feels one heck of a lot like the teenage datingverse sometimes.
One of the pros of dear friendships is inevitably, you introduce each other to new experiences, places, and people. For example, my friend introduced me to the Ferris wheel at California Adventure, a 60 mile running relay race, and, two years ago, a guy named J. I began dating J casually and in a way, cavalierly. We lived far enough apart that a relationship really felt out of the realm of sane reasoning until we were comfortable enough with each other to talk about such things. We even were supportive of one another going on dates with other people who lived in our area so long as there was honesty on our ends.
Are you guessing what happened next? If your guess is relatively immense crashing and burning as J fell for a local girl, but sort of forgot about the whole honesty part of our bargain, then you are correct. Duped and fooled, he iced the cake by ending our fling over Skype. I responded equally immaturely, then somewhat maturely, and then accidentally made things more awkward for myself with the combination of alcohol and Facebook.
But that was the past. Two years ago in fact. However, in those two years the person who introduced us went off and got engaged, and then planned to have a wedding…which we were both invited to.
Here’s where the high school-ishness comes in. As a teenager, you are often faced with attending parties where someone you used to date/make-out with shows up, and you’re put in this awkward moment of navigating how to behave. I got through moments like this back in ye olden high school days by having minor panic attacks, melting down in bathrooms, not making eye contact with the person in question, and telling myself I would not be put in these situations as an adult because I’d have more control over things. Perhaps I was naive, or maybe just overly hopeful.
Side note: how is it that adults always seem to have so much control over things, and then once you get to adulthood, you realize that is the biggest sham of all time?
Anyway, the first issue of knowing I’d be in the same space as J was knowing I had to tell Brian the story, since he was coming to the wedding with me. Friends, I know it’s awkward – but if you know your ex is going to be somewhere that you and your manfriend are going to be at too, you have to tell your special someone. Because he is fantastic, Brian looked at me, nodded with a half shrug and said, “Oh? Okay.”
After the rehearsal dinner (which apparently wasn’t just to rehearse eating dinner but to actually eat scrumptious food too!) and after a day of shopping the main drag of a beach town, Brian and I gussied up and went to the wedding, with a tiny bit of trepidation on my part. Even though Brian knew everything (including the infamous Facebook mishap) I still worried…what if J’s ladybird yelled at me? What if J was snarky? Would I wind up crying in the bathroom in a revival of high school dramatics?
And…nothing happened. I diverted my eyes when he came into my line of sight, the ladybird smiled gently with a flash of recognition at me, and he reached his arm out to say touch me and say “Hi!” which I responded to. That was all. Brian and I danced like it was the last night dancing would be possible, I went hoarse from singing, and darn were the specialty cocktails amazing. Rather uneventful, eh? Except for the whole marriage taking place, of course.
I must say…even thought it felt a lot like high school at first, I’m glad to see at least somethings have changed. Even if all that has changed is me.