My friend Jenny called me last week to tell me she’s getting married. Jenny and I go back to days of big hair and acid wash jeans, so she’s an old, dear friend, but we’re not the closest these days. I mean, we’re close enough for me to get a personal phone call a couple of days after the ring appeared, but not close enough for me to have to be a bridesmaid. She warrants a place setting of her everyday china, but probably not the Kitchen Aid mixer. I’ll be invited to the Bachelorette party, but I won’t drive two hours to actually go. But I will show up early for the wedding to be sure everything is going according to schedule (my list-making reputation goes beyond the Playground, you know. I’ve been working on that compulsion for years, people).
(She knows I have a blog, but she doesn’t read it, so it’s safe to discuss it here.)
So, I adore Jenny, and while I offered appropriate congratulations and listened to the early planning, I couldn’t say the one thing I really wanted to:
DON’T MARRY THAT SORRY BASTARD!! (That phrase isn’t exactly on Miss Manners approved responses list.)
See, I can’t stand the Sorry Bastard she’s marrying. Jenny is smart, articulate, funny, sweet, and cute as a button. She has a couple of degrees, several licenses, and is out changing the world daily. She brings home pretty big bucks and is well-respected by her colleagues. Sorry Bastard (SB) is an “artist.” A wanna-be songwriter. As far as I can tell, that involves sleeping on Jenny’s couch all day and playing PS2. He might go play with his expensive toys (you know, the keyboards and computers and things he needs to be a songwriter), but no songs seem to be forthcoming. He’ll get a part-time job occasionally, just to pay some of his bills, but he always quits because it’s not his “dream.” (I know it’s hard to break into a creative business, but there’s a reason folks tell you not to quit your day job just yet.) Jenny, on the other hand, works full-time, does all the cooking, cleaning and laundry, caters to him and still finds time to sit in the stands at his softball games. This has been the standard for about ten years. Needless to say, the grapevine speculates that Jenny finally told SB to either propose or get the hell out of her house — at 35, she’s ready for a grown-up relationship. She could do so much better than SB and all of her friends would love to see her with someone who has half her class and intelligence. I know she loves him, but seriously, we all know love isn’t everything a healthy relationship requires.
(Yes, I understand that I don’t need to like the men my friends marry. Heck, it took me about ten years to learn to tolerate Counselor Shelley’s husband. He, at least, supports her (in many ways), makes her happy, and treats her like a princess. Just ‘cause we hated each other wasn’t a good enough reason to twist my panties up. I’m not the one living with him, and I only see him a couple of times a decade. But I still have a shovel ready…just in case we need to hide the body.)
So, back to Jenny and my problem with the Sorry Bastard she’s marrying. Now is when I wish life was really like a romance novel. Oh, the things I could do if I got to write the book from here on out. Jenny’s Spunky Friend (SF) — that would be me — who kept her mouth (mostly) shut for ten years, loses it at the sight of the ring. SF hatches a plan to get the wedding canceled. After several complicated and amusing plot twists, SF manages to get Jenny to see the light and dump the Sorry Bastard. A Handsome Hunk for Jenny awaits in the wings, and HH just happens to have a French best friend, Sexy-Cutie, who falls for Spunky Friend. The four have a few more amusing adventures, a Black Moment where the girls get pedicures and drink margaritas, and then a non-sappy reconciliation scene that sends both happy couples to Happily Ever After.
Ah, the joys of fiction. Alas, Jenny wouldn’t be very happy with me if I actually tried something (and Darling Geek would probably object to me snogging Sexy-Cutie — even in the name of research).
So my choices — as I see them — are limited:
1) Smile and nod and pretend I’m really happy for Jenny and the Sorry Bastard and just steel myself for another ten years of Jenny only being moderately happy. (I could spend that time researching the best divorce lawyers in that part of the state…)
2) Take her out for drinks and explain that I think she’s making a huge mistake with this sorry bastard and risk angering her to the point she not only hates me now, but won’t feel like she can call me when the marriage goes to hell and she needs a friend. (I’m also not sure this would do much good. I know several of her good friends — I mean the kind who are bridesmaids and will be getting her the Kitchen Aid mixer — have attempted to do gentle interventions over the years and achieved nothing.)
3) Hire a hooker to drug SB and take very compromising photos that are then delivered anonymously to Jenny.
4) Break out my shovel (very handy, that shovel. First you can beat him with it, then you can dig the hole to hide the body.).
I’m open to suggestions for a better set of options. I mean, none of these are really ideal — although the one with the hooker could at least be amusing, and the one with the shovel would provide me with much personal satisfaction.
I care about Jenny very much, and I want her to be happy. If I thought that Sorry Bastard would actually work hard to make her happy, I’d support this marriage with a genuine smile on my face.
I know love is powerful and complex; that’s why I write romance. But for all the crap the genre catches, romance does show how important it is for partners to be on an equal footing of respect and responsibility. Maybe I should hand Jenny a stack of romances and hope she gets the message.
Unless y’all can come up with better suggestions, I guess I’ll just start researching those divorce attorneys and polishing my shovel.
Ever been in a similar situation? What did you do?