Internet Drivel, Scourge of the Onelys! (Part 78e) August 17, 2008Posted by Onely in As If!, Pop Culture: Scourge of the Onelys, Singled Out.
Tags: being single, guilt, Heteronormativity, i'm happy and you're not, jealousy, MSN, pop culture, singles table, weddings
I just came across this article in my morning internet-browse, entitled “10 Tips for Defusing Jealousy once You’re Engaged” (because engaged people have it soooo hard! sorry… ahem, I of course would have no idea how “difficult” it must be to be engaged, because I’ve never been). Read on and pay attention to the embedded assumption that it’s generally single people who are going to be jealous, and it’s all because they are single and wish they weren’t:
10 Tips for Defusing Jealousy Once You’re Engaged
What to do when someone greets your engagement news with envy, not elation? Read our guide to taming the green-eyed monster.
By Lori Seto
One moment you’re on Cloud 9, sharing the news of your engagement, savoring every juicy detail of the proposal, then boom — you look up and your best friend/brother/sister looks positively ashen. Suddenly your feelings of pure elation curdle into muddled guilt. Some women are amazed to find their friends turning into catty competitors, goading their boyfriends into proposing, too, and trying to outdo your every wedding move. What’s a flustered fiancée to do?
Oh jeez, here we go. It’s the friends/brothers/sisters who are “positively ashen” and become “competitive” because they aren’t engaged? Good ol’ guilt-because-I-assume-I’m-happier-than-you-now-that-I’m-engaged. It’s the best kind of guilt, because it’s so self-involved (not to mention heteronormative). Here are my favorite few “tips” for the “flustered fiancee”:
5. Share the Spotlight
Sometimes the problem is simply that your parents are perceived to be ignoring the sibling that is jealous and slathering all of their attention and bragging on you. Acknowledge this inequity by saying, “I realize I’m getting a lot the attention and I hope it’s not bothering you.” If the sibling is married, point out that he or she has had the spotlight; for those that haven’t yet made the trip down the aisle, reassure them that their time is coming! ….
7. Show Your Love
Make sure your friends get the message loud and clear that their friendship is extremely important to you. Tell them how much happiness you wish for them and, if single, try to assure them that their perfect partner is out there somewhere.
Both of these tips essentially carry the same message (one for siblings, another for friends): I know you’re jealous because I’m so-ecstatically-happy-to-be-getting-married and you’re not. Okay. I understand. I love you in spite of the fact that you’re not as happy as me, and to prove it, I’ll reassure you that someday you’ll be happy too — but probably not until you find that “perfect” person, which is what you so obviously are craving.
9. Get It Out in the Open
When push comes to shove, acknowledge the awkwardness between you and your friend. Perhaps open with something like, “I wonder how you feel about my getting married?” or “I feel awkward about this situation because we’ve always shared our dreams about getting married. I wish this could be happening to us both at the same time.” Never say that you know how he or she feels (you don’t) but opening the door for a friend to vent can ease a lot of pressure.
Mmm, hmmm. Old familiar scenario of little girls planning their future-happiness-with-knight-in-shining-armor, scheming and dreaming of their white weddings together (damn, pop culture! damn you!). Okay so maybe you and your current/closest friends really did spend your childhoods a) together, b) plotting out your weddings at age 7 (personally, I am in touch with zero friends from my childhood, and I never ever planned a wedding with any of those that I had) — still! Why would that necessarily be the reason a friend is unhappy? Oh and I love the last sentence tacked on the end of this “tip”: “Never say you know how she feels (you don’t)” — yup, which is clearly why you’re prepared to say “I know we always dreamed of doing this together” almost as though you know how your friend feels or is thinking or something!
And here’s the bestest tip of all:
10. Invest in the Future
Slot a singles table into your seating chart and ask your friend to help you fill it — positioning him or her between two sexy singles is obviously the game plan! Why not? Lots of people meet their spouses at weddings. After all, love is in the air.
First of all: INVEST?!?!? You’re spending so much money on this wedding, better make sure your single friends get hitched soon so that you are invited to their weddings and get to eat the food they paid for!!! Second: A “singles” table reminds me of the “kids” table at my grandparents’ house when the family got together. Seriously. If I want to flirt, I will. I am not so introverted that I will not leave my table to talk to someone I like. And I don’t need you to play the puppetmaster, thank you very much…
I have a great T-shirt that I just bought this week that proclaims my feelings on this matter (and many more!) exactly: “I will not be trained.”