Snowflakes in France

Reflections of a 20-something woman in publishing

Category: husband

“No one asked you to change it”

I read a wedding post today where it was noted that “the wedding is kinda like married life, it often comes with unresolved feelings.”

Now that wedding day is more than a month behind me. Jon and I have continued into married life, which, to those who ask how married life is treating me, I have to admit is much the same. Of course there is a legitimacy that comes with our legal union. As Jon quotes from a Seinfeld episode, Everything sounds better with ‘my wife’ in it. (And Kramer confirms with “My wife has an inner ear infection.”) We can now pick up each others’ dry cleaning, and I don’t feel so weird going to the vet, where I used to hope they wouldn’t refuse treatment because my last name was different from our dog’s. Now it’s the same.

But I also changed my name at work. And in addition to all the bureaucratic hoops that I have to navigate to make sure I still have access to email and people can still find my phone number on the directory, it seems I also have to confront social opinions on marriage and the choices that come with it. It’s something I admit I naively didn’t think I would encounter by following the social norm and taking Jon’s name.

A senior member of my department came by wondering why he couldn’t find me on the office chat. I explained that IT had just fixed it so there might be a lag before it showed up in searches. I concluded with, “Oh, this whole name-change thing is quite a process.”

“Well, no one asked you to change it,” he said with a pointed look. And walked away. (Yes, he studied gender studies at a school in NY and no, his wife did not change her name)

First of all, society kinda does ask me to change it. But I esteem those women who keep their name because they feel a connection to their father’s family, or because they have an established professional reputation, or simply because they were born with that name and they see no reason to take on this new family name for the sake of society’s preferences. Those are good reasons. And what’s more, women who keep their name put up with a lot of snarky comments and confused reactions. But none of those reasons really applied to me. I wanted Jon and I to have the same name because we’re in the same family now. This seemed the easiest way to do it.

But this comment, aside from popping a little How dare you! thought bubble in my head, makes me question how wifedom is changing my view on feminism. Maybe not necessarily my own view, because I’ve always taken the side of Women Have Choices! Yay! Let it continue! But more the side of those who advocate breaking all gender roles. I find that as I wife, while I do break some traditional gender roles, I actually like others. And what kind of feminist does that make me?

Unresolved feelings indeed.

A Belt is not a Ring

The Belt arrived!

I was somewhat worried about it, because it’s been about 9 business days since I ordered it! But it was coming from Canada.

Jon is going away tonight for his brother’s Bachelor Party in Michigan. I going to try to fit a proposal in sometime between now and when he calls a cab to the airport… eek!

Happiness, Bliss and a Homeless Man

We’re engaged. Gah!

I ordered the belt, and then he proposed about four hours later. I guess we were definitely on the same page, which is what I was going for, the ring is beautiful, and I still have a surprise for him! So I have no complaints (quite the contrary).

So, the story of the proposal…

As you know, the plan was to go English Country dancing. He knows me so well! But I screwed it up and brought shoes that would scuff the floor of their rented facility. Not allowed. I was a bit heartbroken, but we decided to go on another Tuesday, stopped by a bookstore and then came back to Hoboken.

Why don’t we walk along the water, it’s such a nice night, he said.

So we did. And then he took an abrupt right onto the pier.

We walked all the way to the end of this pier, and looked out on NYC

Well darling, he said, if we had gone English Country dancing tonight, I would have said that you had a very pleasant temperament, and you would have commented that the dance was nicely done. And I would say that although I may not have the annual income of a Mr. Darcy… (which is 20,000 a year, ha!) I feel that I can still provide for you. And I care about you very much, and love you, and Alice…

He got down on one knee…

Will you marry me?

Yes. Yes! Yes!

Did I know he was going to propose? It ran through my head that this would be a good setting, but I don’t think I actually believed it was going to happen. I was also slightly worried about how close the ring would be to the water, but luckily that was not a problem.

So we’re standing there blissfully in our own world, when a homeless man walks up.

Excuse me, he said, I just have to tell you that you are a beautiful couple. I saw you from all the way at the other end of the pier and you’re just glowing.

Thank you! (I probably started “glowing” even more at his comment).

I don’t know much about these things, I’m a homeless man, but you look like you’ll be very happy together. And thank you, for allowing me to tell you.

And he walked away. I don’t even know if he knew we had just gotten engaged. Talk about perfect validation.

The ring? Sorry, I was so caught up in our blissful state, I forgot to tell you about the gorgeous ring:

So sparkly!

I love it. So we went out for dinner, and called family and friends and had a lovely, overjoyful night.

A belt and a ring

You think we women are the only ones who get overwhelmed and freak out with that awful gut feeling that you can’t, you simply won’t be able to do the things that the Wedding Industry insists that you do to make everything perfect? The men apparently suffer too.

The more I talk about color palettes and bridal parties, decorations and venues, the more he feels the pressure to do his part, the proposal, not only perfectly, but also quickly, so that I can start with all my plans. And I get that, so I’ve stopped talking to him about it because I don’t want to put that awful pressure on him.

And now I feel disconnected. Which is wrong. The marriage/wedding/proposal is about US. And this has become about him planning a proposal and me planning a wedding without talking about anything. So I’m making it about us again. And I’m planning a surprise proposal too, and then we can plan the wedding together.

Knowing that it is important to him that he surprises me and makes a moment of it, I’m not going to steal his thunder. I’m going to propose to him after he proposes to me. I’ve decided to order a custom leather belt from an Etsy seller, with the following text hand-stamped into it:

A belt is not a ring. But with a little effort, it is never-ending. The belt is not–God forbid–sparkly, but it does hold your pants up. A belt and a ring, together? Supportive and beautiful; Sparkling and strong. From Maryland to Boston, Hoboken and beyond. This is our love. Will you marry me?

I thought about getting a ring, but a) I don’t know his ring size and the rings I liked were not re-sizable; b) I think he’d like a belt much better; and c) I really like the juxtaposition between a leather belt and an engagement ring. It’s kind of poetic.

I’m very happy with the entire plan. Please let me know what you think. I realize that it slightly questions traditional proposal etiquette, and gender expectations, but I like that. I also realize that I could propose to him instead of waiting, but I think he’s very excited about his plan and to ruin it would be crushing.