On Saturday, 9/20, my dear friend S is getting married.
Saturday night was the bachelorette party, and for a variety of reasons, it sucked hard. Read on...
The party was thrown by S's college friends, all who went to Yale and most of whom were on the swim team together. I arrived at the bar, which was a fairly generic Lower East Side place, around 9:30 and join the group. Squeals and giggles abound, S is wearing a boa and a t-shirt that says "It's All About Me" and she looks like she's having fun, which is all that I care about. I get a beer and sit down with everyone, and listen to Remember That Time At Yale stories for a while. Then the leader (and every bachelorette party has one) pulls out a bag full of pens and quizes, games follow, blah blah blah. At some point during the quiz phase, a bachelor party from Hoboken walks into the bar and heads for us (10 girls squealing and wearing mardi gras beads...like bees to honey). The "best man" sits next to me and proceeds to grab at my ass for the next twenty minutes. More mardi gras beads are handed out, more stupid games, more Yale stories and several Yale cheers later, I notice a big group of former co-workers of mine standing at the bar.
To exposit just a bit, I worked for a Large Investment Bank for 2 years. My husband Kent also worked there, which is how we met. (We had some of the same friends in common and eventually ended up sharing a cab home from a party, which led to me asking him out. Yay me!) He was friends with all the fratholes (you know the type) in the department. I never felt comfortable with that crowd, usually because I was wearing smokey eye-makeup and a concert t-shirt while they were in Brooks Brothers and Ann Taylor. I co-existed with the fratholes (and their requisite One Girl Friend) but never really clicked with them, save for That Guy, who I had a major crush on for months. That Guy was a frathole, but I thought he was my frathole, and I was sure we were meant for each other. He flirted, then treated me like shit, in a repeated pattern, for many months. I finally got over him when I shared that cab home with Kent(see how it's all connected!) and realized That Guy would never share a cab with me - he'd assume I could get home on my own. Because he really didn't care about me. My obsession with That Guy ended because Kent and I started dating, but it was never a situation with much closure. I left my job at the investment bank in 2000, and had not seen anyone from the frathole crowd since. Suddenly, they were all right there in the bar with me, as I was working on a scavenger hunt and wearing 18 beaded necklaces.
So it's awkward.
I'm with people I barely know, I feel like an asshole already, and all these uptight people I used to work with are there. Even the One Girl Friend, who gave me a few snotty glances from the bar and then deliberately ignored me along with the rest of them. Then, because it was My Night Of Suckiness Thay Sucked Like No Other Night, That Guy shows up with his fiance in tow. And I want to leave so bad it makes my throat tighten up and my head pound.
I try to explain the situation to the bachelorette next to me, but at moments like that, you really need someone on your side, who knows the history and will protect you and understands how much you want to talk to him but simultaneously want never to see him again for as long as you live.
The bankers are right across from our group, and I can feel them looking at me, and then I feel Thay Guy looking at me. He sees me, so I go over and hug him and say Hi. I have no idea if there's a suave way to tell him that I'm married now, but it seems important (and makes me feel stronger - why??), and I blurt out, "Remember Kent? We got married earlier this year," like a huge jerk. Small talk ensues, it's his birthday party (what are the odds that his birthday party and this bachelorette party are the same day and location?? why???), he turns to do a shot with the guys.
"Stay there, I'll be just a sec," he says.
And suddenly it's a time warp, and I'm back where I was 4 years ago, when he'd invite me out with him and his friends and then ignore me the whole time. I'd watch the revolving door of girls he'd flirt with in front of me, hating myself for caring, hating myself for being there. I waited and waited and waited for him, but my life moved on. I met Kent, I left that job, I'm married now and I don't miss That Guy (or That Life) at all. Not at all. So why am I standing there, waiting for him, again? How did I end up back there??
This next part was kinda hard, but it felt good. I squeezed his arm, said "Happy Birthday," and walked away.
When we left the bar I didn't even look their way. I don't know if That Guy noticed I'd left. Outside the bar I realized that I didn't care.
(After the bar we ended up at a karaoke bar on Avenue A, where we stayed until 3 - and can I add that 2 hours of karaoke with a group of girls who are all best friends with each other but basically strangers to you is not so much fun. Left there to pouring rain which made finding a cab impossible. Walked to the subway, got soaked, waited 30 minutes for the F train, got home at 4. Sucked, sucked, and sucked.)