Matron of honor

My sister Nicci is ten years my junior and still very much single (though not through lack of trying, as my mother would say). In her late twenties, Nicci is adamant she’s fast running out of time… and, well, men, and this, coupled with the fact that her biological clock’s ringing off the wall, makes her pretty upset about the whole business of being single.

So you can imagine Nicci’s reluctance to attend yet another family wedding, this time for our “baby” cousin. As Nicci enters the room, grannies and grandpas, aunties and uncles descend on her, pity and hankies to hand. “Poor Nicci, don’t worry lovey,” they say, “Next time it’ll be your turn.”

It gets so bad that there’s an unspoken agreement that no one jump to ensure Nicci catches the bouquet, which the bride will have been briefed to throw with remarkable accuracy in her direction.

Thank god this is one of the indignities of being single that the single-again woman can escape. The unspoken agreement is that you’ve had your chance and, well, you blew it. Step aside sista, your ride’s up.

And I’ll happily take my place on the shelf if it means avoiding those probing questions, sympathetic looks and clucking false teeth. I had enough of those when I broke the news of the divorce.

As for poor my attractive, confident younger sister… like carrion left to hyenas, she’ll shatter into a million pieces, weep uncontrollably throughout the speeches and catch a cab home as soon as she can legitimately get out of there. Although, it has to be said, not without a backward glance at the best man…

PS: By way of aside, does a divorced woman get to go back from matron of honor to maid of honor? Kind of like going back to being a virgin?

– Single-again Samanth

Single-Again Samantha: Wedded dread

I have those always-a-bridesmaid-and-once-the-bride blues. In two weeks I have to go to my good friend’s wedding, solo yet again.

Weddings have to be the single girl’s nemesis. In the last five years I’ve attended quite a number on my own, and let me tell you, they’re not for the chicken-livered. I vividly remember the first one after the divorce. I hadn’t prepared for quite what a difficult thing it was going to be and suddenly, when the bride joined the groom at the altar, it hit me like a kick in the gut. I dissolved into a blubbering wreck, complete with melodramatic spasmic sobs. I then proceeded to get rat-faced and eventually tottered out of the do minus my dignity and a heel.

It’s got easier with time, but attending a wedding sans partner is still not top of my list of favorite things to do. Weddings are supposed to be great places to meet other wayward singletons, but, in my experience, the only singletons there are the catering staff and Uncle Edward, who the family only brings out on special occasions.

They say that you should always notify the host ahead of time if you’re planning not to bring a partner. I, of course, hold out until the last minute in the hope that I find a partner and then it’s too late to let anyone know (I was a bride once and I know that the last thing you need to be doing come the final hour is rearranging the table plan). So I inevitably sit next to an empty seat, making it glaring obvious to all gathered that I couldn’t muster up a date for the night.

If, however, the invite does not specify that you should bring a partner, you’ll most definitely be seated with the under twelves and next to the mad old aunt. Then all you can do is have another piece of wedding cake and make like an NFL linebacker when trying to catch that bouquet.

– Single-again Samantha