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I looked up your blog because I'm a writer who admires your career trajectory. But I keep coming back because I'm married with an 18-month-old, and even though it's what I've always wanted (theoretically), it's been the most confusing and distressing time in my entire life. Something about the melancholy tone of your blog suits my state of mind perfectly. Also, I'm the youngest of 3 sisters, one of whom is 40 and unhappily single, and the other is recently married, 38, and just starting to test her fertility – and consider her backup plans. So I REALLY relate to your subject matter.

Back to you. Can I suggest that you pretend you're a man for a second? A man would never (ok, rarely) complain about having starlets throw themselves at him because he held a position of power. He'd glory in it! Maybe you should try to enjoy it, too -- you are a POWERFUL, successful woman, and men are attracted by that. Why did women find Bill Clinton attractive? It had to be something beyond the cheeseburger belly. I’m not saying you find your soulmate this way, but it’s not a bad way to find a date for a wedding. A man wouldn’t think twice about bringing a starlet as a wedding date. And just because your date wants to network doesn’t mean he can’t also genuinely like you. Aren’t there people in your life who you admire AND genuinely like? See, I told you so.

As for the soulmate search, I have an anecdote. My oldest sister is a very successful lawyer. She just started dating someone and, as always, she wanted him to pay for their dates – as a sign of gallantry, respect, chivalry, whatever. But on the first date, for some reason, she found herself offering to split the check. And on every date since, she’s either insisted on paying, or managed to arrange that they split the check. Trust me when I tell you it’s hard to say no to my very outgoing, persuasive sister. And now she’s mad at this man – a guy she really likes – because he HASN’T PAID FOR ANY MEALS!!! It’s not a case of giving him mixed signals – she’s sent him completely opposite signals. Why, you may ask? I think it’s because she wanted so badly for him to treat her and make her feel good that she couldn’t handle the suspense – and the possibility that he might fail – so she rushed ahead and paid all the checks before he had the chance to hurt her.

I was reminded of this when reading your blog. I don’t know what kind of men you usually date – maybe they’re MOSTLY successful, established men who wouldn’t need to feed off of your success. But maybe, like my sister, you’re ambivalent: you actually WANT to date men who need and are attracted by your career success and connections -- instead of say, an older or successful man -- because you’re afraid: Without the lure of your success, you think, why would they want you?

Just a thought. I’m really enjoying your blog.

Rebecca Littlest

Rebecca, I think you may be onto something. Lots of great points. Hm.

Meanwhile, Sarah, here's a wedding story for you -- when my best friend from college got married, I went solo to her wedding, and this was at a time in my life when I was not only single but also completely broke (like, a hundred bucks in my bank account broke) and totally unemployed and had never been hired as a writer (because let's not forget, you can at least get yourself the most expensive hotel room you can find and tell people you're one of the top TV writers on an established network show) -- and all my college friends were working on Wall Street etc. and sending me postcards from their safaris in Africa -- I kid you not. Anyway, I went to the wedding with a really good attitude; I was like, chin up, this'll be fun; and my good attitude lasted all the way to the reception dinner, when I sat next to the Chinese parents of another friend from college, who reported that another classmate (who ALWAYS had a boyfriend in college, including one guy in particular I'd had a big crush on) had just gotten married too. In Europe. To a fabulously wealthy young man who happened to be MINOR ROYALTY. "I think she is, a... baronness, now," my friend's mom reported to me in matter-of-fact, accented English. At which point I literally put my head down on my fancy place setting and tried not to cry.

At any rate... back to Rebecca's post -- I completely agree that being married and having kids is not at all mutually exclusive with the possibility of feeling confused, distressed and melancholy. How to sometimes get out of those moods is a much longer conversation, but I think that some of it goes back to the other thing Rebecca mentioned -- which is the importance of knowing what you really want, and asking for it up front. Remember my door-knocking demonstration for the PA? "Knock THIS loud, please!" The more you ask for what you want, the more you get it. The minor discomfort of asking is well worth the reward.

Oh, yeah. This is one many of us can relate to. And I understand that being single at weddings in the past (late 20's-early 30's) is totally different from being single now. Given that, I do completely relate.

My trick for the single girl at weddings blues was to pretend in my mind that I was the bride. I don't mean I'd envision myself walking down the actual aisle. But I'd go around at the parties with the attitude that everyone wanted to talk to me and it was my duty to be gracious and winning and basking in my happiness. Of course, at some point during the reception I'd take a moment to look at the couples dancing and feel horrible about myself. But for the most part this trick worked.

I should also mention that my now-married sister was dreading my wedding (wouldn’t you dread your younger sister’s wedding?). Maybe it was her nothing-to-lose attitude that made her give the groomsman at her elbow a second look, despite all his “flaws” (six years too young, brown eyes instead of blue, not athletic enough, lived 3,000 miles away). My wedding night found them talking and necking sweetly in the grass behind our wedding tent. And reader, she married him! So, perhaps this wedding is just an excuse to buy a new dress, do your hair, and find someone to neck with under the moonlight…

Rebecca-- Damn, you give good comment! I love the story about your sister at your wedding-- I will remember that as I get all gussied up for my weekend in Napa in November. (Maybe I should write that story out on a notecard and carry it in my purse.) Your oldest sister sounds painfully like me-- if she ever figures out the secret, I hope you share it with me, because sometimes-- not all the time, I really want to emphasize that, but sometimes-- it does feel TOTALLY HOPELESS.

On another note, I am so happy you're reading, I think that being the mom of a young child is probably the hardest thing in the world-- much harder than being single and whiny like me! (Also, not that my opinion matters, but you seem like a really good writer.) Best, Sarah

Horrible wedding stories? Ha! What other kind is there?
Who doesn't have one of those dreaded "singles tables" experiences: seated next to the groom's piggish high school teammate, whose idea of conversation is to observe that chicks always get horny at this kind of thing (seriously, pre-Wedding Crashers). Or the "bride, who began crying in the bathroom at the reception, convinced that she'd just made the biggest error of her life" tale? And who hasn't trudged through the horror-show wedding of the ex-boyfriend, with whom you have supposedly stayed "friends," even though you think his intended is a miserable cow who should have been put out to pasture years ago?
Oh, sorry--anyway...
What if you DID invite some random arm candy? Or hooked up with the groom's (vulgar, but hot) teammate from high school? And you had a super-fun, no-holds-barred weeked? Hey, look at it this way--some of us who are partnered up, and engaged in the hard work that this thing called "marriage" often is--can't help but feel a twinge of envy at the idea of such an opportunity, either. Not that I'm talking about myself, of course.
Go to Napa, drink some wine, sleep in late, and then deliberately pick up the cutest guy at the wedding. And don't over-analyze it. Maybe you will meet the love of your life--but if not, you'll at least have a good time, and feel like you are the one in control of your own fate.
Go get 'em, tiger.

Nice, Les! My motto for the weekend will be Go Get 'Em, Tiger. Good thing the wedding's in November-- it'll take me that long to talk myself into that attitude-- XO

Lots of good comments, so I'll just write briefly:

I remember waiting in the receiving line at a friend's wedding as a photographer went down to take photos of all the guests, and stopping dumbfounded at me, asking incredulously, "just you?!?"

I remember packing makeup in my purse so I could freshen up after the requisite bathroom cry at each wedding I went to single. (I also mastered the art of the silent sob.)

I remember finally talking a boyfriend-type into agreeing to be my wedding date, only to have him dump me three weeks out, and then having to explain to all my excited friends why they weren't meeting my new boyfriend.

And I remember the perfect toast I couldn't wait to say when I myself finallly got married: "I finally got a date for a wedding!"

As it turns out, when I finally did get married (last year, at age 40, to a man I met when I was 37 years old after having pretty much given up hope), I plumb forgot to say the line. So I am bequeathing it to anyone who would like it. I am confident, Sarah, that you will have the opportunity to use a kickass toast of your own.

Sarah, your comment to me was so kind! I'm glad my ramblings were a positive contribution (believe it or not, my sister doesn't want life advice from someone she diapered as a baby -- who knew?!). I am an incurable yenta, so I'll keep reading and enjoying your blog as well as putting in my several cents. Thanks for sharing your experiences so bravely. Here's my bedtime thought: As writers, we'd be bored if a character's life unfolded in a predictable, orderly way. Why should our lives be any different? :-)

Caitlin-- THANK YOU! The silent sob is indeed an art form. And I really hope I get the chance to steal your line. PLEASE call me if you're ever in LA-- I never get to the east coast because I am lame-- but I'd love to see you.

Awe... now I'm depressed just reading that. :(

I have been to a fair share of weddings, but never as the bride. (Both of my sisters are married, mind you.) Now, I'm in my 20's, not my 30's, but I'm beginning to get those inevitable questions: "What are you waiting for?" ... "So, ... when are you going to get married?". Yes, it is entirely up to me. If only you could go down to the local Order-a-Groom and you'd be set. If only. But, alas, that isn't the case, and in the meantime, I have to endure somewhat insulting questions, going "romantic" places all alone, and at times, also feeling "doomed. And, clearly, utterly unlovable". What's even more awkward is over-hearing people question my family, and the way they try to stand up for me... which, I kid you not, just happened yesterday.

As for great wedding stories: I don't think I really have any. But since I'm now in a melancholy mood, here's a quick engagement one. After telling one of my dear friends how much I actually cared about him (in a non-platonic way), and having him tell me he's not ready for a relationship, my best (girl) friend and I went skating in Rockefeller Center. (We were visiting NYC, and despite just having my heart broken moments before, she really wanted to go skating.) I cried the entire walk/subway ride there, and upon arriving, it was still a little touch and go. However, I managed to compose myself for a while... at least until they started playing a sad song that again made me cry. Anywho, so there we are... winter in NYC. Beautiful Rockefeller Center. And, in the middle of the rink, a guy proposes to his girlfriend. She of course says yes, they hug, and the rest of us skate around them... painfully aware that there is love out there to be found, but perhaps, at least now, not for me.

Just got to read through the other comments. Good stuff...

@Rebecca Littlest: "so she rushed ahead and paid all the checks before he had the chance to hurt her." Awe. :(

@Melinda: "A baronness" That's horrible, yet... kind of funny! At least your reaction was. :)

@Liz: Hmmm... I'll have to try that one.

@Caitlin Dixon: "Just you?!?" Ooh, yikes. It reminds me of the scene in the movie Never Been Kissed... "Lonely ride in bucket five". Come on, someone has to remember that, right?

I would comment on all of the other points you made Caitlin, but I'm probably writing too much already. But, I enjoyed your post! :)

Maybe your standards are too high?

I survived going to my ex-bf's wedding. Not without a perilous moment or two. He met his bride not long after we broke up, said it was meant to be, and they hurried the wedding so the elderly parents would still be well enough to attend.

To not go would signify that it would be too painful, therefore I am still damaged and broken; to go meant that we were mature enough to still consider each other friends and I was still "Part of the family..." Besides, not having hardly any friends of his own, all of my best friends had been invited too! (My bf at the time refused to go....boy that was prophetic, he dumped me fairly soon after).

The one excruciating moment was when the lovely wonderful gracious caring bride publicly acknowledged the former spouses, who were in attendance, for the sake of all the children who were in attendance. The six years I had spent with my boyfriend, rescuing him from his misery and post-divorce depression and various unhappy circumstances (and there were good times too) suddenly disappeared into smoke. I was persona non grata. Six years poofed into nothing.... But if I HAD been mentioned at that moment I am sure I would have broken into loud sobs, and wished for an instant transport to anywhere else on earth.

Ended up dancing like crazy people with his ex wife, his sister and all the others who acknowledged what a crazy yet wonderful guy he was...and I'm glad I still know him....:) Go to the wedding, but don't be IN the wedding...that's just TOO hard.

Luckily, no other ex-boyfriends have ever had the nerve to ask me to their wedding.

Sarah, Don't forget that marrying the guy means that you have to endure some pretty crazy, sometimes down right nasty inlaws. (I refer to mine as the outlaws!)

Good Blog. I am always in the favour of love marriage. Infact my marriage is also arrange one and our first anniversry is coming next month and we are hoing to London via LMT on small tour.

Aw, I love all your commentors! So fun to read.
I remember going to a wedding back in 2005 and being suddenly swarmed by a bunch of recently married ladies. The moment my then boyfriend left my side (he was a groomsman), they all rushed me and started bugging me about when we were going to make things "long term." Apparently, no one had ever told them the only thing that makes a relationship long term is time. :P
The wedding was also slightly horrible as the mother of the groom took to the stage and proceeded to compare love to a sinking ship that needed to be constantly bailed out, otherwise the occupants would sink to their watery death. I have since married into this woman's family and I was half expecting her speech at our wedding to be a sequel to her prior Edmund Fitzgerald-like oration (Love is like a crashing plane, love is like a derailing train, love is like a car that you set on fire and push over a cliff for insurance purposes, etc.)
Anyway, I know it sucks having to be the single gal sometimes, but holding out and waiting until things are right can be awesome. When I met my husband, I had unsuccessfully dated 12 other guys (a.k.a. the dirty dozen) and I had had it with game playing. So, I put my cards on the table with him right off the bat - I like you, but don't pull $h!t with me because I can and will leave.
And coming from that honest and open place worked for us. I don't feel the need to tiptoe around him, he doesn't around me and that's been kind of great, because not only do I get to have him as my fantastic lovahman, but I get to know that he is also my partner and my friend. I'd hazard to guess those other "long-term" married ladies aren't as lucky. ;)
I hope you have a fabulous time at the wedding, with or without a dude!

Am a little late to this party, but I just started reading your blog and wanted to comment. I am also the perpetually single girl at, and often a bridesmaid in, weddings, so I can relate. However, I take a difference perspective in order to cope with the loneliness that sometimes gets highlighted during all the mushiness and lovey goo that are weddings.

Instead of feeling crappy about it, I think of how awesome it is to go to weddings on my own, take care of myself, hang out with my friends, dance like crazy and have a good time without having to worry about if my "date" is having a good time. I can flirt with everyone there, dance up a storm and usually end up being the life of the party for as long as I want to be. My friends love it and I have a fantastic time. My only rule is to try not to get too drunk and make a food out of myself. A dancing fool is okay; a drunken fool, not so much.

As for people who try to make you feel badly for being there on your own - they are much more impressed if you react confidently about being single instead of obviously upset by the fact that you are single. They have no right to make you feel like crap for being single. More often than not, it's either out of concern, or out of an unhappiness on their end. People who are genuinely happy with their own situation might ask your romantic status to be polite, but will usually leave you alone when they see it's a non-issue for you.

This post is exactly how I feel about my life. I've been single for the past 13 years. Thir.teen.years! Seriously, that's my entire adult life. I'm smart, interesting, funny, not a troll, and I have an awesome job that many people find fascinating (if they didn't there wouldn't be a bajillion TV shows about it). Maybe my singledom is holding the universe together as well?!? And I've been to many weddings, all of which I've gone to alone. Well, one time I took my brother, but that doesn't count. sigh.

We yearn for a man to share our lives with and then find out that it's one long compromise and many times you want to smash them in the face because they are "so much like a man". I agree with Katharine Hepburn when she said, "I don't think men and women should live together. They should live next door and visit occasionally." I think there's a verse in the bible about Eve that goes something like, you will yearn after men all your life and then you will be disappointed when you get one because men and women are so different that you never figure out to live in harmony. If you'd ever been in a long-term relationship, you'd understand what I'm talking about. But, since you haven't, you think having a man is what's missing in your life. Stop crying over it and go out and do what you would do if you "had a man in your life". Girlfriends are infinitely better anyway!

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ummm... Always the Bridesmaid... Never the Bride... Thank you for your honesty though... If more women would be as honest as you are, I do believe that there would be less problems with competition between women overall.

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My Books (with Elizabeth Craft)

  • 'Bass Ackwards and Belly Up' and 'Footfree and Fancyloose' tell the story of four best friends who commit the ultimate suburban sin: putting off college to pursue their dreams.

    Publisher's Weekly said: "Full of romance and adventure, laughter and tears, the story is a reminder that veering from the straight and narrow road doesn't always lead to a dead end."

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    What is Starfish Envy??

    • L.A. 2009. I’m stuck in traffic on the 101 freeway, listening to Isabella Rosselini on NPR. Isabella, for some reason, mentions that starfish are one of those rare species that can reproduce asexually, and I realize that if I could do that, I wouldn't have to worry about finding a boyfriend/husband. I wouldn’t have to internet date! I wouldn't have to figure out if I want to/can/should have a baby/adopt a baby/child on my own. I wouldn't have to stress about things like FSH levels, or weigh my feelings on in vitro versus adoption. I would just have a baby. Thus began my starfish envy.
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