12/25/2016
A season of engagements

It already took enough energy to adjust to the fact that June is no longer the month for weddings, but December. Not that it's important, but growing up I saw all those features on television about weddings happen in June, and I saw them move, slowly, to six months later.

Now, though, I have to adjust again. Again, it's not important, but it seems that every time I go on Facebook these past few weeks I see a friend (or acquaintance, let's be realistic here) of mine get engaged. A flash of a finger - not the middle one - with a diamond ring would say everything that needs to be said. I don't feel cynical about this, no. I instead wonder: what's in the water at this point in time and everybody has the urge to get engaged?

Perhaps it's 2016 being just, you know, terrible. It's a universally agreed sentiment, right? Looks like the world's had enough of all the incessant positivity, so here we are, pummeled day after day with bad news, or at least bad news to us. (You. Them.) So, here's one last grapple, one last attempt to make something happy out of this sucky year. And boom! "This was the year I got engaged to the one I love."

Shalla and I have been together for four years now. Perfect time to get that question from people. "So," they'll ask, "when are you getting married?"

It's never come up.

We have hypothetical conversations. "If we get married," I usually begin, always followed by some non-essential query, like "will we have cats?" or "will we split the cooking?" And then we'll both be disgusted at the idea, and then change topic.

It's not that we hate the idea, but it's just something that feels so distant. I don't know why it feels that way, though. This afternoon, as I drove Shalla to her place after spending Christmas lunch with my side of the family, she looked at me and said, "four years na nga pala tayo!" Some will say four years is a long time, and the question of marriage just inevitably follows.

That, or that other variant that came up this afternoon, something that's more of a declaration than a question: "you'll be the next to have a child!" Logic dictates this, considering four of my older cousins already have kids - one of them just had his daughter nineteen days ago - and I'm the fifth. This is both of us being disgusted at the idea.

Perhaps it's self-doubt that powers this whole thing. We both feel - or perhaps it's just me - we both feel that we're not really ready for any of this. Throughout this month I saw photos of fingers with sparkly diamond rings, sometimes accompanied by a woman who looked so stressed the previous day, and is suddenly blooming today. Throughout this month I wondered if I could ever tell to myself that I am ready to take that next plunge - and I don't necessarily mean emotionally, but financially. These people can call themselves successful, with conviction. Heck, some of these people got engaged in foreign countries, and not just a three-hour flight away, but exotic places.

Perhaps the whole process of getting engaged is more of a declaration that you can take that second step, rather than a declaration, a reaffirming, of love between two people? I mean, after those photos of rings in fingers, and the implicit sigh of relief that comes with getting an actual "yes", what comes after? The wedding. A grand wedding. A same-day edit. A fucking stupid hashtag. A lot of pretend happiness. Wait, Nicksy, you're sounding bitter again. Why did you write this in the first place?

And your responses...

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