It's true. The following exchange occurred at the bar on Saturday when it was my turn to buy the pitcher of beer:
Me: (holding out $20)
Bartender: That'll be six (mumble mumble)...(takes bill and walks away)
Friend from Boston: Wait, did she just say six dollars?
Me: Nooo....she must have said sixteen, right?
Bartender: (handing over cash and giant pitcher of beer) Fourteen dollars.
Me and Friend: (mouths agape) Why did we leave Ohio again?
Anyway, the upside was that I spent nary a dime in the Buckeye State, which was a little refreshing after spending waaay too much money the last couple of weekends when friends have visited me here. I even added up the cost of the rental car + gas, which came out to $180 - a lot less than the $250+ I would have spent on a plane ticket with crappy arrival/departure times.
Okay, that wasn't the only upside. I met up with one of my best friends from college, Kristy, and stayed at my other friend Meg's house, who I lived with the year after I graduated. These are both friends who I consider very close, but don't actually speak to that often. When we get together it feels like we were never apart, but get the pleasure of catching up on sometimes year-long stories. That's how Friday night was spent, grilling in Meg's backyard and spinning yarns.
So then the shady part: the bar on Saturday night. We drove up to Delaware to the one bar where everyone of drinking age spent their weekends (and...maybe most of the week as well). After driving up the main thoroughfare through the near-abandoned town, we sidled our car up to a space next to campus and walked the short distance to the 'Stretch. Funnily, the bar that opened during the last two weeks of our senior year was almost totally empty, but when we got up to the 'Stretch, it was packed to the gills. Clearly this was reminiscing-time.
After the scores were tallied, I found that our large group of girlfriends (from my class and many from the class above mine) fall sharply into two camps: 1) Get Married And Have Babies As Soon As You Possibly Can, and 2) What's the big rush? And it's
not just a personal camp. We've really split the group up - Singles keep in contact with the singles and vice versa. Kristy and Meg even have long-term boyfriends, but we (I should say, it's not just the three of us...but we are
few) all feel the same - we wanted to live our own lives first. We all did some combination of the following after college: traveled/lived abroad, moved across the country, attained graduate degrees, dated someone for years
before breaking it off because it just wasn't the right match, and began careers that didn't involve teaching elementary school.
Here's the kicker: It's not like marriage and the things on that list are mutually exclusive...except that they must be, because none of our married friends did any of them.
They dated the first ugly midwestern boy who made them marginally happy, waited patiently for the diamond ring, then talked profusely about their wedding plans to anyone who would listen. As soon as the vows were taken, they moved to the suburbs (I mean, further
out into the 'burbs), flushed their birth control pills down the toilet and waited patiently for the little blue plus sign.
My camp and I discussed this thoroughly, in case you hadn't noticed. We're certainly not against marriage - in fact, it looks like Kristy will likely be engaged within the next year. But she waited for someone to come along that shared her view on life, dated him for well over three years, and has talked extensively with him about her career and what it will mean to their relationship (she just got her masters in International Health and took a job that requires quite a bit of international travel). And he's wonderful! That's the important part, I think. A lot of these girls seem to marry...this guy they're dating. Why? (Why!) Sure, it's not impossible to find some great man when you're twenty years old, but...What is the freaking rush?
Is it really a status thing? To be able to flash around the ring? Is your biological clock really, really
Oh, I don't know. Maybe it's just that married/engaged people annoy me. Like Meg put it, "I don't want to see my friends only at Sunday brunch and talk about potty training and getting the floors redone for the rest of my existence." Which is exactly what they do. In fact, Kristy said what I think is one of the most flattering things anyone's said to me in awhile - that she loved how I had so many interests and could talk about anything from politics and law to gardening and photography. (This is, unfortunately, exactly why I can't get a job, cause I have cursory knowledge of a thousand different subjects, but none of them in depth. So, blessing/curse, I guess?) It's the one-track, settle-down, my-bubble-has-shrank-to-the-size-of-my-split-level-condo mindset that freaks the rest us out about the married folk. It doesn't have to be that way, and I don't think that any of us in Camp B will have marriages like that... maybe, you know, because we waited.
For your amusement, there was this one girl (who, admittedly, we all hate anyway for the plain reason that she's a heinous bitch
and always will be) who just got engaged (to The. Ugliest. Man. In. America.) and gave us the following quotes, unsolicited:
"Oh my god! There are SO. MANY. people coming to my wedding! I just don't know how we're going to fit them all in!" (Note: No one she was talking to was invited.)
"Yeah, his family owns a boat, so, you know, we'll probably spend all summer at Put-In-Bay. Of course (laughs) all his friends own bigger boats, so, you know..."
So tiresome. Between that and sitting on the porch on Meg's "urban" duplex in Columbus and noticing that every single person who walked by had a tiny dog, a stroller, and was white and blonde, I kind of wanted to run from Ohio like a pack of rabid animals were on my tail.