My husband and I have now been married just over four months (for those of you who enjoy fractions, you may realize that's one-third of a YEAR! 'Til death do us part - hot damn, we're on our way!) and since we returned from our honeymoon I've noticed something - people love asking "How's married life?"
Now, generally this innocuous social pleasantry causes me to respond slightly like Tony the Tiger, with an immense, slightly freakish grin and a "Grrrreat!" (although I don't subsequently provide the fortified frosted breakfast deliciousness). However, after I responded to this question several times, I began to see a pattern forming - I realized that with each inquiry my answer was growing increasingly enthusiastic. It didn't feel like it was enough to respond with a simple "Great" - I found myself expounding upon it, haranguing passers-by in the hallways, regaling innocent, inquiring individuals with joyously weepy details of my matrimonial bliss, actually uttering words like "soulmate" and "eternity" next to the watercooler. This never failed to result in me wandering stupid-faced and starry-eyed back to my desk, leaving in my wake an overwhelmed and regretful coworker who will doubtlessly refrain from initiating conversation in the future.
After several weeks of this, I had another epiphany - I noticed that, more often than not, the people doing the asking were single females. It was as if, upon returning from my honeymoon, all the wide-eyed singletons (thank you, Bridget Jones) came flocking to my cubicle, eager to delve into the mystical world of the Married Person. The same women who had once worked with me as a lonely, wistful (or cranky and bitter, depending on your perspective) single girl - with whom I swapped stories of dating dilemmas ("That bastard! He did WHAT?!") and bemoaned the sorry state of Los Angeleno manhood - were suddenly different. It was subtle, but I sensed it - a divide, a lapse in the sisterhood.
I hadn't changed...right? It's still me, just with a band of metal on my finger. Yet it seemed that, in meeting and marrying my husband, I had crossed some invisible line of communication in the world of women. I was now One Of Them - the most mysterious of all beasts in this town - a dating success story.
Is this why I wax romantic in my replies? Is this my unconscious response to the pressures of representing the Possibility? See, girls? Good ones are out there! You too can succeed!
Or am I just an asshole who likes to rub it in? Lookee here! I got me a HUSBAND, bitches! Isn't he neat and shiny?
I recently has the chance to turn this around on a male coworker who got married several months before me. He was marching purposefully down the hall, looking rather harried, when I wandered out of the kitchen, guzzling coffee and clinging to a handful of Girl Scout cookies like my life depended on it (yes, I earn my paycheck). In a caffeine-and-sugar-induced blur, I threw it out there - "Hey! How's married life?" He stopped, looked at me with tired eyes, and sighed "It's...all right. I feel like I've been married for ten years already." Rather taken aback at this lackluster response (and precariously balancing Thin Mints), I tread lightly: "I feel like I've been married for ten years, too - in a good way" I nervously chuckled. He smiled wearily and said "You're really lucky."
Then he scurried along his way.
And, you know, I am.