Weddings are beautiful, rare occasions that bring people together and bind them forever and remind you how very, extremely fucking single you are.
When my BFFL got engaged and asked me to be her maid of honor, I had a serious boyfriend, so I could be genuinely happy for her. Four and a half months before her wedding, I got dumped while I was in the shower, so I had to find a way to keep being happy for her without killing myself. There were only three things that helped: remembering how much I love my BFFL, and alcohol (twice) — ironically, I only cry when I’m drunk, so maybe alcohol didn’t help as much as I’d like to think.
After I got dumped, I decided that I was just going to go to my BFFL’s wedding stag. I was going to get heroin-chic skinny, chop off my hair, pierce my nose, go to the wedding without a bra on, meet the man of my dreams, and then become a millionaire by marketing my new gardening product idea, Chia Dick: Gardening for the Single Gal Who Just Wants to See Something — ANYTHING!! — Grow in Her Presence. After the first two months of shuffling around in a deep post-breakup depression while muttering, “I am the cheese, because the cheese stands alone,” I realized that I had forgotten to get addicted to drugs, and people were beginning to ask me if I was a “maid” or “matron” or honor. I misinterpreted this question and thought they were asking if I owned nicer clothes.
For the final two months leading up to the wedding, I did absolutely nothing except obsessive compulsively create and delete different OKCupid accounts. One of my accounts was just an About Me section that said: If you have health insurance and you’re wearing a clean shirt right now, let’s get married (or at least watch some people get married). My favorite account was a picture of my way hotter friend and one sentence: Dumbledore is my ideal man, but he is fictional (and GAAAAAY!). Neither account landed me a wedding date.
Then, suddenly, the two months were gone. My BFFL and I were at the wedding venue in Pennsylvania with the rest of the bridal party, going over the ceremony. I was standing by a Pennsylvania river watching her rehearse her vows, and something small and vital inside me altered. I consider myself to be a feminist in many ways. Yes, I am terrified of women, but I’m also super glad we can all vote. And I respect my female body enough to not let a man give me a hickey, unless he is willing to give me 12 hickeys that spell out “FEMINISM.” But standing by that river, watching my BFFL recite those vows, I was beginning to think that maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t be the cheese forever. Maybe this wedding wasn‘t going to destroy me; maybe it was going to revive my faith in relationships.
Until my BFFL finished rehearsing her vows, turned to me, and said, “Hey, soooo we have an uneven number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, so you’re gonna have to walk down the aisle first, by yourself.” I am the cheese, because the cheese *walks alone.
The morning of the wedding, the bridal party went straight into beauty mood. I slept in later than the other bridesmaids because I was awake until 3AM fashioning a noose out of bedsheets, so I missed breakfast. We were given mimosas while we endured having bobby pins shoved into our scalps until we were beautiful. Then we were given more mimosas as we did our makeup. Then we were shuttled to the wedding venue, where we were given glasses of champagne to sip while we got dressed. And as we sipped and laughed and lent each other tampons, someone came in and told us we had 30 minutes until the ceremony started. As my BFFL put her wedding dress on and stood in front of her closest female friends as a single young woman for the last time, I felt something happen: I was starting to cry. Yes, this was a beautiful moment that totally merits crying, but…I only cry when I’m drunk. I hadn’t eaten breakfast and I’d spent the morning drinking champagne cocktails like this wedding was an unlimited brunch. I was drunk.
Thirty minutes later, I walked down the aisle at my BFFL’s wedding, alone, and it was fine. I didn’t trip and fall and die, and I didn’t even think wistfully about my ex. People probably assumed my makeup was smudged because I was feeling deeply emotional about being there for my BFFL on her big day, but I was actually just drunk.