I'm not sure when it happened exactly. Maybe after we'd met each other families or most likely when I caught a serious case of the "we's."
"Hey, you coming out to brunch this Sunday?" a friend might ask referring to the singular me.
"Nope we're making breakfast," I'd reply in the plural despite previously hating when other chicks did that.
Regardless of whether I, we, or they started it, it's happened. The marriage inquisition has finally found me out. No manner of hiding in plain sight will save me. Wherever I go with my partner in crime folks want to know when (not if) we're headed to the courthouse. "So when are you guys getting married?" is as ubiquitous as "Hello" these days.
Sure we live together, sure I'm 31, and sure I've fantasized about "the big day" (among other "big days" like graduation, my first paycheck, signing a lease, etc.) but none of that means I know how to answer the question, "Do you need me to talk to him?"
Strangely enough, the past few days have been like a wedding witch hunt. I don't know if we were dropping love crumbs or what but the trail was apparently easy to follow. A friend at a bar sauntered up to ask if she needed to take my boyfriend "into her office," I guess so she could spank him? The next day we went to window shop for fancy furniture we'll never buy and the saleswoman, who I know saw my au natural ring finger, pointedly referred to me as my Ike's "wife." When she raised an eyebrow in my direction, I just wandered away.
On Sunday at a dinner party when someone asked if the wedding we were attending in September was our own, we both responded with a resounding and simultaneous "No!" And then the room got quiet, as if we'd just sucked all the joy out. Like we'd stolen everybody's ice cream cone and pricked a hole in some massive weather balloon of hope.
Dodging the marriage question is like telling a three-year-old there's no Santa, or better yet it's like hanging a lifeless Santa from a Christmas tree in the living room, a macabre ornament.
Most people expect you'll LOVE being asked about one of the most important, personal, and private decisions you'll ever possibly make in your lifetime -- that is if you can make it. Or at the very least, you'll simply laugh off any inquiries about the status of your relationship with a lighthearted smile as you stare longingly at your mate with big brown "Someday my prince will come" Disney eyes.
Here's the thing I don't know many people who'd have the gall to ask, "So how are you guys getting on in the sack?" or "So when are you all going to discuss Helena's credit score?" or "So, who do you love more Jesus or Allah?" Point is all the boxes that should be checked before someone gets down on one knee aren't considered polite conversation. That's like skipping to the last page of my diary because the rest was too confidential.
But despite knowing all this, knowing that I have the right to remain silent, I always feel bad for being sarcastic ("I don't even know this guy. We just met last night!") or even sincere ("We're working on it") because neither is enough. People want the facts, ma'am, and unfortunately I got nothing.
I know I'm not the only ringless wonder out there who'd rather keep her secret identity just that. So what do you do when someone asks about impending nuptials that you have yet to draw up the plans for? I need some concrete one-liners for the next time my aunt calls just to ask, "So has it happened yet?"