Friday, October 22, 2010

In which I become disengaged

The last we spoke, I was in New Jersey for a three-week training program. Did I mention that there were twice as many men as women in this program? And that is was a sales training? And that companies usually hire rather outgoing, nice-looking men to be sales reps?

Calvin was a great guy, but he was rather quiet. Kept to himself. Didn't like to be the center of attention or to do all the talking, which, in retrospect, makes him perfect for me as I want to be the center of attention and doing all the talking, but that was then.

I was having a lot of fun. There were new guys to have crushes on. Not that they reciprocated: the one guy with whom I got along best was engaged. There was another guy, who has become a rather well-known singer/songwriter on the East Coast (oh yes I can googlestalk), who had no interest in me whatsoever, despite my frequent phone calls to him once the training was over.

What's that you say? That phonestalking a guy is not the way to his heart? Even if you've had one, exactly one, necking session with him late at night at a party where people were smoking pot, which is not something I had ever seen before? Not that that didn't go on at Rice, but I ran with a pretty squeaky clean crowd. Oh sure, we were sleeping with our boyfriends, but we didn't do drugs. We had our limits.

So no future with cute future Birkenstock-wearing singer/songwriter (now completely bald and slightly chubby, neither of which are disqualifiers, as hair is unnecessary and slightly chubby can hit all of us, but Primo is still a major hottie at 45, plus he wears nice shoes), who asked as we started said necking session, "Aren't you engaged?"

"Not any more," I answered. One does not promise to marry one man and then kiss another.

The kissing went no further. That Monday at training, he more or less pretended he didn't know me. That might be too extreme: he treated me as he had the rest of the time, which was polite indifference. Apparently, he had to be drunk to want to kiss me. I think I was just available.

Whatever.

What I realized was that if I could be that attracted to someone who wasn't Calvin, perhaps I was not ready to get married.

"NO KIDDING!" the audience is shrieking. "YOU WERE 22 YEARS OLD! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?"

Here's where it got complicated (other than the obvious parts of having to cancel the church, do something about the dress, and hurt someone I did care about but did not want to marry): I had moved out of my apartment before I left for training and stored the few belongings I owned in Calvin's apartment. The plan was I would stay with him on my return until I got another apartment. I saved a month's rent! That was a big deal back then. It was worth it to move out of an apartment to save $250 plus phone and utilities. Now it takes a lot more for me to move, but I was a poor recent college grad taking peanut butter sandwiches to work for lunch then.

How was I supposed to stay with Calvin if I had broken our engagement?

I had a brilliant idea. I wouldn't tell him until I moved out!

Oh yeah that was so smart.

Fifteen minutes after he picked me up at the airport, he wanted to know what was wrong.

He didn't believe me that it was nothing.

I told him.

It did not go well.

To his credit - he is a far more gracious person than I because I would have kicked my ex-fiance's butt to the curb - he did not make me move out of his apartment.

But it was an awkward week or two while I slept on the couch at night and hunted for a new apartment after work.

I still can't believe I did that to him. I still owe him an apology for that part.

I did apologize for being so indifferent to his feelings. That was years later, right before he was going to marry one of my college roommates and after the grad school jerk had been so horrible to me. Unfortunately, I think my apology was almost as bad as my original transgression. I told him I was so sorry for hurting him and that I had had no idea how it might have felt until I was mistreated by GSJ.

What I basically told him was that it had caused me no pain to break up with him. Nice, huh? Perhaps he is better off without me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

In which I almost get married

Sorry for the long time since the last post, chickadees. On Thursday, at the crack of dawn, Primo and I returned to the scene of the crime: our college reunion. We met at our 20 year reunion and just had our 25 year reunion. We got back late last night and tomorrow, I am going to see my sister in Next Big City Over, where she will be for a neo-natal nurse practitioner conference, all of which means I don't have time to go into a lot of detail about why I broke my engagement with Calvin. I will say, however, that it was nothing he did and that he is a good person. But I'll get to that.

We were engaged. I had a sparkly ring, which is not something I ever thought I wanted but once it was on my finger, I was very happy to have it, for is not a diamond a status symbol of sort for a woman? It says, "Someone values me enough to 1. spend money on me and 2. commit to me." At least, that is what it said to my 22 year old self. When Primo and I decided to get married, he wanted to buy me a ring but I had realized that I do not like wearing rings and would much rather have a nice kitchen trash can, which he finally got me with much reluctance and only after the SimpleHuman trash can I wanted went on sale at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

We did agree that we would both rather take the $5,000 a nice ring would have cost (I am guessing that is what they cost) and spend it on a grand trip to France.

As it turns out, we spent it getting our driveway re-done this summer, which is almost as glamorous as a voyage to Paris.

Calvin and I were engaged. We had the Meeting of the Parents. Calvin's mom and dad came from Austin to meet my mom and dad at their house in San Antonio. There were hors d' - there were appetizers. There was polite smiling. I am guessing there were thoughts of, "They are too darn young to be getting married." They were correct.

We set a date. July 26. My mom reserved the church. She and I argued over the reception venue. I, who was not investing my own money into this proposition, wanted to have it at a fancy restaurant. She and my dad, who were funding this (and who I now know had almost no money to pay for this), said that the officers' club on base would be fine.

I got a dress. I shopped alone.

Who shops alone for a wedding dress?

Someone who 1. isn't ready to get married and 2. ends up with a dress that looks awful on her.

There may be some women who look good in a pure white puffy muffin dress, but I am not one of them. At the time, I was blonde. White washes blondes out. Now, white is no problem as I am a former blonde who is covering my gray with Clairol #24 Clove, but then, I looked like death warmed over.

And the puffy skirt? I looked like I had walked out of a meringue factory.

Why did I get such an awful dress? Because I was clueless and because it was a floor sample on sale for $250. Penny wise, pound foolish.

When I married Primo, I wore a sleeveless red and white dress with a V neck and a high waist. It looked fabulous and I have worn it several times since. I had a bit more sense when I shopped for that wedding. I still shopped alone, although this time it was because I had just moved to a city where I had no friends, not because I wasn't excited about getting married. Wait. I wasn't that excited about my wedding to Primo because of all The Drama, but I was very excited at the idea of being married to him. I would have happily skipped the wedding and wish I had insisted on eloping, but I guess I'll save that for my next marriage.

My mom asked me what color I wanted for the bridesmaids' dresses. My mom was more excited about the wedding than I was. My parents loved Calvin and rightly so. He's a great guy. He just wasn't the guy for me in the end.

When my mom asked me about the bridesmaids, I shrugged and said, "I don't care."

That should have been a clue.

Maybe it was.

Three weeks after we got engaged, I went to New Jersey for a three-week training program for work. It was there, in the company of the many young, handsome, outgoing men in the class with me that I realized I could not get married yet.