Hard to believe but my college 35th class reunion is this May. Full disclosure - I have only attended one in the past 35 years and I think that was my 10th. My DH did not enjoy it and I, at the time, did not enjoy it having to balance catching up with my friends and holding his hand.
Looking back on the years I can see a clear pattern. As a thirty-something with two kids, I thought, why would I want to go? After all it would not be fun without him. My friends called and asked me to join them. I begged off with weak excuses - no babysitter, a child's dance recital, everything short of "I had to wash my hair".
Then it became, I would like to go - but in my forties how do you explain, "Oh, yes, I'm here by myself but my marriage is fine. He just doesn't do social well." I guess that is better than,"He finds you dull and boring." So once again I stayed home for fear of the unknown and what others would think.
Still the invitations continued. Year after year, I regretted and spent weeks later hearing all about the fun I missed. And, with it the relationships I lost. The ties that slipped away.
The next stage was - I want to go . . . and by myself is fine. But, the logistics were weird. Are you the third wheel, thrown in with the divorcees, the "groups"- since there is no "plus one", Did I travel by myself and just get a room in Charleston for the weekend, or just a night. I knew there would be adult beverages and large times so driving home was a non-starter. I settled for meeting friends for lunches and dinners around the reunion dates. Even those were friendly but dry events on my side. Still it didn't suit.
Then this year a friend called and asked, "You are coming aren't you?" There was not a second thought. No "Should I go or should I stay?" I signed up for it all - the Brunch, the Big Affair, the Private Party. Then the questions started,"Will your DH be there?" It was very easy to say no. Of course, it was not so easy to explain why he was not coming. (Why don't folks just take 'No' and let it lie?) Yes, I live in Charleston, no he does not. Yes, I like it here, no he did not want to move, No we are not divorced.
My slightly graying hair, the small lines "of experience" around my eyes, sagging neck, and other middle age miseries don't worry me. I know I will not be alone. There will be a majority of us looking at those who invested in trainers, surgeons, and estheticianes to show up looking young, as if anyone is going to say, "Wow, look how good she looks", without thinking with pea green envy - "No one but a freak would look like that at our age."
I just do not want to spend a good portion of the evening explaining my life. Maybe I should just make up a story. Something like, "Well, he does consulting work, something with the government. He really cannot talk about it. He travels a lot. I learned a while back not to ask a lot of questions. He just told me not to worry."
Then I'll change the subject. After a few cocktails, I might add - "Did you know that Oxi Clean doesn't always get blood stains out? I have the hardest time getting them out of his tux. For some reason he often seems to get his tux torn and bloody. Honestly, I often wonder what he really does?"
All that aside, this all begs to ask, what the Hell will I wear. Now that is where I truly need the Fairy God Mother to show up. The Hell with the excuses about my DH, my mindless friends concerned only with their wrinkle free, sag-less, firm ass bodies, I need something decent to wear that dances that fine line between young enough to be in style but old enough to show I know better than to dress like a teenager. I need something that hides every fault, enhances what few good features I may have, is the right color (whatever the Hell that is), is affordable, available, and in my size. Basically, I need a miracle in this department.
Yep, the least of my problems is explaining where my DH is, as if someone cares.