The phases of Facebook engagement FOMO
From pre-Christmas until post-Valentines Day I get hypnotized by a barrage of diamond rings. It’s flaunted on perfectly manicured hands up and down my newsfeed, surrounded by a cornucopia of Say Yes to the Dress-approved buzzwords that usually equate to three things. 1. Someone’s getting married to their “best friend” 2. Engagement season is upon us and 3. I’m going to endure a whirlwind of the insane emotions as I experience intense wedding FOMO.
Because when you’re an unmarried lady of a certain age, you tend to hide behind sassy eCards boasting, “Everyone’s having kids and getting married, and I’m just here…” doing, idk, whatever life-affirming thing you’re up to currently. But what are the true feels behind the memes?
You can keep it to yourself, but I will cop to all the crazy phases I go through when social media gets all bridal.
True Life: I’m 24 and basically moved out of my parents house last Thursday. Life is aggressively fine, yet I haven’t even begun to sort out things financially, spiritually, emotionally…like, I eat cupcakes for breakfast, I don’t know. I am far from embracing true personhood yet.
So my initial knee-jerk reaction to peers looking to build their life together is “but we’re not even people.” It goes against everything I understand about being in your 20s (WHICH IS NOTHING, I UNDERSTAND NOTHING ABOUT BEING IN YOUR 20s, THAT’S HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE).
While it isn’t socially unacceptable, marriage at my age is baffling because for millennials, well…isn’t 24 the new 14?
Once the fanfare of engagement season gets started I linger here for a deep while. The judgment phase is basically me, three chardonnays deep on a Saturday, texting my friend while bitterly flipping through album after album. It gets dark…
“Dude, Jennette, they’re having an engagement party at Olive Garden, so tacky.”
“Jennette me again they posed with an ‘&’ sign and kissed it’s so tacky”
“omg Jennette Cinderella weddingg theme SO TACKY”
It’s not pretty, it’s not kind, it’s not sober and none of it should be taken seriously. (Although I genuinely, bottom of my heart, don’t understand how it’s natural to stand with your fiancé wrapped in a blanket outside of a cider mill. Is that how you relationship? I literally don’t know).
This one is unique to me because all of my friends are in relationships, yet they’re the kind of bohemian living-in-sin relationships that don’t end with me giving a boss ass maid of honor speech and eating my weight in buttercream.
It is selfish. They’re being deeply, deeply selfish.
Something With Feminism
A woman could post “just got promoted to CEO of Apple” or “Totally cured cancer, guys!” and get a tepid amount of social media props. And there’s nothing wrong with finding your soulmate and yadda yadda yadda, but why is an engagement ring picture the thing that accrues more likes than anything else a woman does? Especially when getting married is kinda, well, common. Anyone can do it. Elizabeth Taylor did it eight times! It’s like the defining quality of Elizabeth Taylor, and she had two Oscars, was a humanitarian and vouched for LGBT rights before anyone. JUSTICE FOR ELIZABETH TAYLOR.
Jealousy or More Confusion, I’m Not Even Really Sure
I will cop to this for those Very Committed Women who are starting to get offended: I am single as a character trait. It’s up there with “sardonic” and “goth kid superstar.” Soooo, yeah, maybe it would be nice to find someone who was my tried and true soulmate. Or maybe it would just be nice to have a conversation with someone that isn’t comprised of 95% shirtless selfies (not mine). I guess.
Finally my craziness peaks into the crescendo of, “Wait, should I be getting married?”
If people on Facebook, people I very tangentially associate with via social media are doing it and I’m not, am I missing out on something? Should I fix this? Should I like, trade in a guitarist for an accountant, or dig up my high school ex-boyfriend from whatever hole he’s living in so we can make it legal?
Should I abandon Brooklyn? Abandon 3 am Thai food runs with friends? Abandon an iPhone littered with shirtless selfies (still not mine)? Do I just want to get married?
And that’s when it hits me, like a bouquet to the face. Because the climax of my freak out always turns out to be this: I’m upset about a lifestyle I don’t even want. And to be clear, there is sincerely nothing wrong with getting married if you find your forever-love. I support that choice, regardless of age, if you feel it’s right.
For me, though, I am a virtual child who wants to find herself, stabilize her career. Someone who loathes dating, yet loves adventures, usually with men who are profoundly wrong for me. So at the end of the day my engagement FOMO is laughable, because, well, I want to revel in my newfound independence. Secondarily, I’m sure my friends will get married in a few years time, and it’ll be great/awful, unflattering bridesmaid dresses and buttercream galore. I guess the “everyone is doing it” mentality social media projects psyches me out, when really we’re all creating different stories, and none of them are wrong. It’s ok. I don’t have to get married.
Well, for now, I still have a 166 ideas saved on my wedding Pinterest board.
But one neurosis at a time…
(Image via Fox)