It looks like this is going to be my year to ride the Bridal Wave.
"Bridal Wave" is a term coined by authors Erin Torneo and Valerie Cabrera Krause for that period of time in every woman's life when everyone she knows and their cousin are all getting married. The romantic comedy 27 Dresses gives us a charming if cliched and exaggerated view of this particular phenomenon. While in real life, it's hard to believe anyone can be a bridesmaid 27 times in 27 different weddings, the phenomenon of all your friends settling down one after another in a short period of time is a very real thing. It's the domino effect - once one domino standing on end tips over, the rest quickly follow.
My personal Bridal Wave isn't even that huge by my friend, E's, standards. A lawyer by trade and a decided quirkyalone by choice, there was a month last year when she had a wedding to attend EVERY WEEKEND. She goes to a wedding at least once a month these days. I attribute my low wedding count so far to the fact that most of my friends are doctors, which means: a) most have postponed their marriage plans to after they have finished their training, or b) they are all prisoners of the hospital, with no social life, and are all decidedly single. (To our collective dismay, a good majority of my girl friends fall under choice B.)
I won't lie... being a well-socialized little girl, I grew up with the notion that I would accomplish the following in this order: finish school, become a kick-ass doctor or lawyer (I wasn't sure yet which at the time), then get married, have a family. Being a voracious reader of everything, I was addicted to romance novels for a pretty long while; and to this day, my movie-watching palate gets its regular doses of sweetness from the undying romantic comedy genre. I grew up believing that everybody gets to marry her prince - even if he used to be a frog - and have their own version of happily ever after.
Alas, as I grew older, I realized that Real Life seldom goes by way of Fairy Tale. In the real world, we can't all be princesses. Not every girl will get the guy of her dreams, even if she kisses a hundred frogs in the process. Sometimes, in some things, you'll always find yourself on the outside looking in. Former romantics make the worst cynics, and I was no exception. For a long time, I lived miserably in the bitter barn - until I finally made the decision to put my fairy tale dreams away for new ones and realized that even alone, I could make my own happy endings happen, with or without my frog prince.
Nonetheless, the onslaught of the Bridal Wave can sometimes make it hard to be among the last ones standing. It's a battle some days to keep from wallowing in the old negative vibe of the bitter barn when I'm bombarded with reminders that I'm being left behind. Thankfully, my friends and I, who are all swimming in the same wedding-tossed sea, have formed into a tightly-knit support group. No one is allowed to wallow for very long - and anyone who shows signs of doing so is given a strong kick in the ass to remind her that she's worth a hell of a lot more than the lack of a ring on her finger. We help each other keep our lives in perspective - and from jumping off the deep end.
No matter how full and how happy life is as a footloose and fancy-free single girl, I can't help but feel a bit wistful and hope that, despite the odds, I'll know what it's like to have someone waiting for me at the end of the aisle someday. But I'm working on embracing the fact that should that day ever come, it's only to be another drop in the full cup of a life well lived. As my life is slowly opening up more every day, I'm coming to believe that's true.
So I'm clambering up my quirkyalone surf board and paddling out to meet the Bridal Wave as it comes. It's bound to be rough going at first, but I'm crossing my fingers that with the right attitude and a lot of positive support, I'm going to weather it with my heart whole.