Thursday, February 23, 2012

You Know you're Engaged When

That's right, Internet! I done got me a diamond

So you may have been wondering where I've been the past two months or so. And that is it, that is where I've been: engaged! Living happily in Engagement Land, a world filled with champagne cocktail parties and rose bouquets and tasteful serenades.

Lawl. Not really. I've actually been away on two vacations, hunting for a wedding venue, and dealing with the ensuing jet-lag as a result of one of said vacations. So I may have taken a two-month hiatus, but I'm back!

And as it turns out, being recently engaged is ripe for blogging topics! So here we go, You Know You're Engaged When, inspired by the lovely Alice's recent musings on pregnancy.*

So how do you know when you're engaged?

Well, there is the obvious of course: You know you're engaged when, as the result of an impressively elaborate proposal,** you find yourself whipping open your wardrobe doors to see a glittering, beautiful ring with a gorgeously cut chunk of that ever-coveted crystallized carbon. And you find the words "yes, of course" spewing through your lips, and suddenly you are laughing, and smiling, and hugging, and so utterly overwhelmed that you can't even properly express what you're feeling to your boyfriend fiancé for the remainder of the emotional evening.

You know you're engaged when you suddenly have a fiancé, and have to deal with the strangeness associated with this new relationship. Because you've had boyfriends before, oh so many boyfriends, and that oddly satisfying feeling that comes with the comforting weirdness of saying "This is my boyfriend ___" for the first few times in any relationship is all too familiar to you. But if you're like me, and many other engaged ladies the world over, then you're suddenly taking this man who's been your boyfriend for over 6 years now and calling him your FIANCÉ, and that's a thing you've never, ever had before and didn't know you ever would have. And there's something in the inherent Frenchness of that word that is so loaded and full of romance and passion - and it feels a little uncomfortable in your mouth at first. You've never been one to drool all over romance movies or wax poetic about roses and diamonds but here you are, engaged, with this upgraded relationship suspiciously coded in the language of love. And you will get used to it (oh, how surprised you'll be when you comes to terms with it so quickly!) but those first few utterances of "fiancé" will be downright bewildering.

You know you're engaged when you wake up the morning after the Big Engagement Night and go to work and realize it's going to be time to tell people. And there are so many questions! Is it inappropriate to tell your coworkers before your parents even know? (You won't care, you'll do it anyway.) Should you call all your best gal pals and tell them right away, or should you wait until you can see them in person? (You won't wait.) And you'll be so unsure about how to tell people: whip out the ring? Just casually mention it? Give the whole story? How involved is this process supposed to be? And nothing, nothing, will feel natural to you, because again: you've never done this before. And you're a feminist, dammit: are you really supposed to even be this excited? But then you'll get to work, and tell the first people you get to tell, and your coworkers will shriek with delight and ooh and ahh over your brand new diamond and suddenly it all seems so simple. You're damn happy about this, and you want to share your happiness; that's all that matters. And you'll hear your coworkers laughing that you can't wipe the smile off your face for the rest of the day, and it'll just make you smile even wider.

You know you're engaged when you realize you seem incapable of typing out the word diamond without italics. In fact, in your eyes, the "i" is dotted with that familiar sparkle of the Canadian-mined conflict-free stone adorning your favourite new thing. And, sure, it's not all about the ring - you've never in your life even considered what style of ring you'd want, and are actually a little bewildered by the number of people who thought you would. But the ring you have now is beautiful, and perfect, and your fiancé knew just what you'd like even better then you did, and you are going to shamelessly love it, goddammit.

You know you're engaged when, a mere month after The Big Engagement Night, you come home and realize there are no less than three bridal magazines sitting on your coffee table, and 8 out of 10 of the last websites in your search history are wedding-related. And that's when it hits you: you are a hell of a lot more traditional and capital-B Bridey than you ever thought yourself to be. Despite all your feminism, your modernity, your overall self-importance and stubborn independence, you are downright giddy about fucking wedding planning. But the biggest bombshell of all is that this doesn't bother you.

You know you're engaged when it takes you three weeks to write a simple blog post on being engaged - hell, a blog post that you totally stole from someone else conceptually (love you Alice) - because it's so damn hard to sum up your thoughts, but you really feel you need to get them out there. And you look back and re-read this and you know it still doesn't cut it, but you're almost afraid to let your real emotions pour all over the page. This is just too damn big, and if you really tried to write something honest and sincere about your thoughts, you know that nothing you ever say would be enough. Mr. Caterpillar loves me, and he gave me a beautiful ring, and we're going to invite our friends and family to share in our love with us to ritualize the life we're embarking on together. How do you encapture something like that with mere language? With words? As a wise old man named Dale once said:

"Words can be meager things. Sometimes they fall short."

What's an engagement story without a reference to the zombie apocalypse?

And, finally, you know you're engaged when you change your Facebook relationship status to "engaged" and after the initial euphoria of a hundred million people "liking" it and congratulating you dies down, you are left with nothing but an onslaught of ads. Oh, the fucking ads. The area photographers and the wedding shows and the ring shops and the condescendingly gendered bride-centric wedding planners and - worst of all - the fucking weight-loss ads. Sure, anyone whose gender is identified on Facebook as "female" is going to get a tidal wave of weight-loss ads anyway (ugh), but somehow this is amped up to 100 after that all-important relationship status change. Seriously, Facebook: fucking stop. I'm just glad they're not so targeted that they're specifically name-checking fitting into The Almighty Dress - yet.

Hey, guys, it wouldn't be me if I didn't incorporate a little snark, right?

So, readers, thanks for reading and sharing in my little self-indulgent celebration. And Mr. Caterpillar, most of all, thank you for six beautiful years, and a lifetime more to come.



*And on that note, please join me in congratulating my dear and wonderful friend on the FABALICE news of her second pregnancy! (Don't look at me like that, I warned you about the puns, and you're still here.) Seriously, Alice and Dawson, congrats and good luck with Thumper: The Sequel.

**I may one day get into the whole story of the Big Engagement Night and the nerdtastic proposal that could not have been more a-dork-able. But, alas, today is not that day.

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