The new (royal) addition

Ok, I admit it.  I’m kind of interested in this royal baby stuff.

I choose my words carefully there.  Some people are enamored with the idea and going gaga.  MR was reading me posts off his decidedly more British Facebook feed where people were crying RULE BRITANNIA in all caps.  That’s not me.  Several of my British friends are taking a far more republican slant and expressing their disgust at the hullabaloo over the birth of a baby.   One is annoyed because she is on the verge of giving birth herself and is more focused on her own baby, yet everyone keeps texting her about the royal baby as if she cares.

I fall somewhere in between.  I am absolutely not a monarchist, but I do find all this interesting.  The birth of the prince is historic, because he’s not just another baby, important only to his parents.  One day he will be the King of the United Kingdom, and the remnants of the empire as represented by Commonwealth.  That’s rather a big deal.  This is an event that has been celebrated for centuries, and the lack of a son has caused war and unrest throughout England, brought in new dynasties, and, arguably, paved the way for women as rulers in the Anglo world.  It’s interesting.

I also feel a connection of sorts with Will and Kate.  Prince William is around my age, which is something I’ve always found cool.  I always looked for people who were my age in both life and fiction because it meant they were going through the same stages of life with me.  And indeed, this is certainly true for the Duke and Duchess.  They got married a year before me, and they’ve now had a baby just a few months before me.   Except everyone cares a lot more about what happens to them.

I watched the royal wedding, but this is not surprising, considering how much time I spend watching Say Yes to the Dress and other shows  in the TLC Friday wedding lineup.  Even after my marriage last year, I still get drawn in by the snarkiness of the UK version of Four Weddings (and think how my wedding is better) and the fun of Don’t Tell the Bride (and think how my husband had much better taste).  It follows naturally, then, that I should watch the royal wedding in all its panoply and fabulous dresses.  Seriously–a knockoff of Kate’s dress was second choice for my own wedding dress.

My husband, as I mentioned, is virulently of a different tack.  He posted about exactly how little he cares, and got rather ranty about it.  Last night we were talking and he mentioned that he realized through all of this that he was definitely a republican.  Not in the American sense of the GOP, but in the sense of res publica, a thing of the people, rather than a monarchist.  This got me thinking.  Perhaps I’m interested because I have the luxury of detached interest.  Yes, this is a chapter in history, yes the idea of actual princes and princesses is like a living story book, but this is not my future king.  I may live in the UK, but I’m still an American citizen.  The idea of royalty is the stuff of legends, not reality–all of my government is directly elected by the people.  This all sounds very high minded, and practice has shown that directly electing leaders does not necessarily guarantee better ones (*cough* Dubya *cough*).  On the flip side, the hereditary House of Lords often makes wiser decisions than the crazy-ass Senate.  In then end though, it means that I was raised very republican indeed, and I can’t imagine any other way of living.

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A New Hope

So it turns out that 2011 was my last year of singledom.  I had no idea.

A year ago, at the dawn of 2011, I didn’t know the fiance existed on this planet.  Now I’m going to marry him.  The change stuns me, quite frankly, because after so many years where nothing happened, everything happened all at once, and suddenly I can legitimately buy bridal magazines and have a vested interest in Say Yes to the Dress.

I had to drop the fiance off at the airport the other night, and that sucked, but as we were sitting in JFK’s Terminal 4, we realized that we really only have three more goodbyes, and then we get to be together for always.  And when I feel lonely (or every so often just because), I look down at my left hand and squeal to myself, “I’m getting married!”

But–I am hereby making a promise to the blogiverse.  I’m never going to become what Bridget Jones would call a ‘smug married.’    I still remember that decade of singledom and how much it sucked.  Possibly the worst part was the single v. couple line, the envy I often felt, the wondering why it couldn’t be me too, or why every guy I seemed to meet was already in a relationship.  Was there a memo to pair off Noah’s Ark style and I missed it?

Last night I went out to dinner with some old friends, one of whom I hadn’t seen in awhile.  My friend Robyn asked him what was new, and made a point of saying not just in relationships.  She went on to say how much she hated that, when all people ask about is relationships, as if that’s the only newsworthy thing in a person’s life.  While that is certainly the juiciest gossip, as my friend pointed out, it is hardly the end all and be all.

So I am reminding myself that I have a life outside my engagement, and that people don’t want to talk about wedding dresses all the time.  Everyone has been really sweet whenever I do talk about it, which I really appreciate.  Still, I’m not going to forget what it was like to be single.  Those are my ‘roots’ as it were.  That decade of singledom shaped me in a lot of ways, some for the better, some for the worse.  But those years led me to here, and my engagement.

That said, I hope people also take heart from my story.  When I first got back from my whirlwind month of romance in August, I went to Robyn’s birthday party and I was talking to one of her friends who I know.  She said to me ‘you give me so much hope, that this all just happened so suddenly.’  True story!  Seriously–I was the worst single person in the world.  I moaned and cried and did very little in actuality.  I got some crushes on some dudes in deeply committed relationships.  I went on some dates with a Swede who was the worst kisser in the world and insisted on kissing me in public, and another guy who was the blandest guy in the world.  I tried eHarmony, Match.com, OK Cupid, all with almost no success.

I was seriously about to give up hope.  I started having ‘what if’ daydreams, planning what I would do if I never got married, wondering how I would cope for singledom forever and never having a family.  When other people would helpfully try to suggest that someone was out there for me, I would respond with ‘But what if he’s on the other side of the world and I never get to meet him?’

As it happens, he was on the other side of the world, but I did get to meet him.  And I would say he was well worth the wait.

So the moral of the story is–there really is someone out there.  There may not be plenty of fish in the sea, as it were (a phrase the fiance particularly reviled in his days of singledom), but if you wait and watch, you can catch your fish.  And really, all you need is one.