Thursday, January 31, 2008

I'm Getting Married

I was born single. I grew up single. I spent my 20's and 30's being single. I never had any other view of myself. As a young child I never wrapped a towel or scarf around my head and pretended it was a bridal veil. I never asked someone to play the husband so I could make dinner and take care of the baby. As a young woman I never considered baby names or imagined where my wedding would be, who I'd invite, or what it would feel like to walk down an aisle with all eyes on my beautiful gown. Getting married just wasn't part of any future I ever imagined.

In my early 30's it hit me that, in spite of my low interest in marriage up until then, I'd better get on with the business of finding a man if I didn't want to die alone. With my self-image as a single woman solidly in place, I dated. And dated. And dated. And dated.

It was horrible. My certainty that singleness was as much a part of me as my own skin directly conflicted with my increasing desperation to become a part of a married couple. Trying to find a man obsessed me and I blogged a lot on the subject. I tried to meet men in all the ways I had ever heard of, from online dating to joining a political campaign. Why couldn't I find a man? What was I doing wrong? What was wrong with me? Why? Why? Why?

I theorized about what marriage was for. I theorized about how relationships worked. I theorized about if god was screwing me. I spent almost 10 years feeling lonely, desperate, terrified and angry.

I finally fell in love with Bob in the winter of 2006, when I was 39 and a half years old. I was still lonely, angry and bitter from my years of failure. It turned out he was also lonely and bitter from his 43 years of similar failure. But we still managed to initiate a relationship, showing that you don't have to let go of all resentments about dating in order to date successfully.

After that, I all but stopped blogging about dating, relationships and marriage. It was partly because I didn't want to invade my new boyfriend's privacy, but also because I still saw myself as a spinster and it was hard to really accept that I was no longer alone. It still is.

So without making a big deal of it on my blog, I built a relationship with this man, moved in with him last spring and this past fall decided to marry him. I am finally, finally engaged at the age of 41.

I'M 41! I still find it remarkable that neither of us has been married before when I'm 41 and he's 45. What a couple of losers. It took us this long to finally settle down. I'm finally engaged and I'm 41.

I underplayed my "announcement" of this engagement here on my blog not so much because relationships no longer fill my mind all the time, but because it's still very strange for me to think of myself as a fiancée. I'm wearing an engagement ring. I'M WEARING AN ENGAGEMENT RING. How the hell is this possible? It just doesn't seem real. Regina Rodríguez is wearing an engagement ring? It's against all that's natural. Is rain also falling upwards?

My fiancé and I took it very slowly. We dated from January 2006 to February 2007 before we decided to move in together. Apparently this is very slow-moving for people as old as we are. My friends and acquaintances made clear to me that many people who get together "later in life" get married within months because by then they know what they're looking for and want to get on with marriage. Not us. We lived together from April 2007 to November 2007 before we decided to get engaged.

And yet, as slowly as we moved, it still feels like lightning speed to me. I'm engaged? Engaged? After so many years of spinsterhood? After determining that my blood type must be "single?" Regina Rodríguez, the angry, bitter, lonely, manless, depressed Chicana on the Edge, is getting married? We're in the bizzaro world.

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