Thoughtful Thursday: Bridesmaid

February 24, 2011

Thoughtful ThursdayThe saying goes, “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.” In terms of weddings, the opposite is actually true of me — well I’ve only been the bride once, but we were the first of anyone we knew to get married, so I never had to attend a wedding in which I lamented being single or wondered when my turn would come.

I’ve been a bride once, and I’ve also only been a bridesmaid once. Oddly, except for one friend, everyone else who might have asked me to stand in their wedding did not have a wedding party at all. DH, on the other hand, has been a groomsman in more weddings than I can count. There was a stretch in our mid-to-late 20s when he literally stood up in every single wedding we attended, sometimes several per year. We have more than gotten our money’s worth on the gorgeous Armani tux he bought from a runway sale (though not until after our wedding, so he had a gross rental tux for our wedding).

Anyway, I’m bringing this saying up because it keeps occurring to me in another context: jobs. Apparently I am good enough to make the short list but not to hire. Last summer, and then again this week with something very close to my dream job. The same thing happened to DH this week with what would have been his beyond-his-wildest-dreams job — that is, we’ve both been waiting to hear for months, but we both found out about our bridesmaid status this week.

The bridesmaid saying also occurred to me during the years of infertility. Always the auntie, never the mommy. I won the mommy role eventually, though there were times I wondered if it would ever happen, just as many perennial bridesmaids wonder if their day as the bride will ever come. Job-wise, I know that someone will hire me (and DH) eventually, and of course we’ve both been chosen in wonderful ways in the past. It’s just a bit of a blow to our egos, and our bank account, to get bad news the same week.

It’s no fun to be #2 — or in the case of infertility, #0.

When have you been a “bridesmaid”? When have you been a “bride”?

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11 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Bridesmaid”

  1. Elana Kahn Says:

    I was only ever a real bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding, and I was so young at that point (almost 15) that there was no jealous or anything. Once I was in college, I was totally jealous of anyone getting married, and I went to a few weddings where I felt a bit sad that it wasn’t me. Then, once I was married, I felt like everyone else around me was having kids right and left and I couldn’t even get pregnant once. It was incredibly depressing…until of course it was my turn. Now I am much better about being jealous of those who are pregnant, especially because I’ve now become “one of those” who got pregnant with no real effort involved. Those are really the only instances I can think of where I’ve been the “bridesmaid” and wanted so much to be the “bride”.

  2. Cat Says:

    The infertility comparison is very appropriate. I, too, felt like everyone and their sister were getting pregnant so easily, sometimes more than once, while we struggled. Then suddenly I was pregnant with our own little party. I don’t know if I feel like a “bride” though. More like the weird cousin no one can relate to.


  3. I must admit to feeling like a bridesmaid now … again. It seems that so many of my friends are gestating their second child, and the journey for us has become even more complicated than it was the first time. I take solace in the fact that the bridesmaid has a way more exciting time at the wedding. Then again, I’m the opposite of you, in that I’m not the type of person who gets asked to be the bridesmaid. I have idiot-level trouble keeping things outside of writing in order. And though I enjoy close friendships, I think most of my friends know that asking me to participate in their wedding would do our friendship more harm than boon. Strangely enough, my husband who is way more well-liked than I am has never been asked to officially stand up at a wedding either. Ah well.

  4. WiseBursche Says:

    Good TT question.

    Bride: When I became pregnant with Kaiser/Lola on my own, when it finally sunk that ‘Woohoo’ I was on the way, I felt like the bride. It was like my chance to step up and not stand back in line.

    Bridesmaid: My trysts with a college literary magazine….I was in the editorial team but could not become the main student editor because of some stupid age thing. Instead, the girl who was a second choice (but was the member too) got the chance. Again, number of years later, I was editing a student magazine that I completed with no other faculty support (but a lot of help from the students). A senior faculty was the Chief Editor. For all the work that went it, and everything else, I did not get any thank-yous out of it. When the magazine was released, it was the Chief Editor who presented the work to the guest. Bluh! I stood back, and was reminded of the ‘failure to launch’ at the other time too.

  5. Kymberli Says:

    This one stabbed me in the heart parts. I also found out this week that I was the bridesmaid for the job of my dreams. I applied at the end of December and got the “thanks, but not thanks” email this week. It was especially sucky because I was *this* close to landing it. Oh, well.

    For the whole run of time that I was ttc, it seemed like everyone around me got pregnant – to include my then 17-year old sister and several teenagers that I taught. Ouch.

  6. Tara (TIMO) Says:

    I don’t know that I’ve ever been in the bride/bridesmaid position. My best friend and I were both planning on getting married on the same day (in Colorado and Ohio) so being the bridesmaid in each other’s wedding would have not been possible. My engagement was canceled so I ended up being able to stand up in his wedding.

    In terms of IF, I certainly felt that way in the moment. But looking back, I was never really in that position but once. We were helping friend’s redecorate their house and set up their nursery. She was pregnant and due at the same time my chemical pregnancy would have been due. Though at the time, I didn’t realize it so I wasn’t really phased by what we were doing. It helps that out of 6 couples that are all close friends, one couple is remaining child-free by choice, one hasn’t started TTC yet (but has known endo) and the other 4 are all IF to some degree. The fourth couple just had their IVF baby on Monday. It seems as though we were all brides/bridesmaids at some point.

  7. strongblonde Says:

    literal: i’ve been a bride once. i’ve been a bridesmaid 4 times and am scheduled to be one in november for a total of 5. it seems totally weird to me. aren’t i too old to be a bm?

    figurative: i always felt like a bridesmaid during the IF process. always. everyone was getting pregnant. i saw people in clinic who were pregnant. my MA was getting pregnant repeatedly. it was just too much. additionally, i’ve been feeling like that with my grant. i know you have to write several in order to increase your chances of funding. but good grief. the emotional let down is awful. not to mention how it contributes to feelings of inadequacy…just like being a bridesmaid!

  8. celia Says:

    We eloped because apparently my threshold for annoying bullshit is three months. My husband planned the entire trip to Vegas. I have been in enough weddings to be heartily sick of it. OMG, I am irritated just thinking about wedding parties.

    I was a job bridesmaid three times for this bitch I went to school with who always got hired and I found out was stealing my recipes. I am a little sweary today.


  9. I’ve never been a bridesmaid IRL, but it’s also not so much a tradition with Dutch weddings (don’t know about France, but the friends we have here now were already married before we got to know then anyway).

    I definitely felt like the bridesmaid during all those years of IF and during my job search here in France, although that was actually worse then being a bridesmaid, because most of the times I didn’t even make it to the shortlist.

    I’ve felt like the bride at my wedding, and when I was pregnant and I hope I will feel like that very soon again!


  10. I was late being a bride and late being a mom. So this post resonates with me.

    I’m sorry to hear that both you and your husband received ego bruising news this week. But I also like the way you know that your day will come.

    FWIW, those were some dumb employers.

  11. loribeth Says:

    I was only a bridesmaid once, which was a source of angst in itself for me. We moved around a lot when I was growing up, usually a fair distance from our extended family, so I was never asked to be a flower girl or bridesmaid for my aunts or cousins. The one girlfriend I thought would ask me to be a bridesmaid asked my sister but not me, which still stings. Dh’s brother & his fiancee asked us to be the best man & matron of honour at their wedding. I barely knew SIL at the time & I was floored that she would ask me, although we have become good friends since then. I didn’t really enjoy myself because (a) I kept thinking that some friend or cousin should really have been in this role, & was probably hating me for it (b) the four other bridesmaids were a fair bit younger than I was (even though I was only 25 at the time) & let’s just say their tastes were a lot different than mine…! & (c) our own wedding had been just six months earlier, & hardly anyone from dh’s side came — a lot of the more distant relatives & family friends had never met me, so I knew that I would be the focus of almost as much attention as the bride. I was more nervous walking down the aisle that day than I was at my own wedding.

    I most certainly had that “always the bridesmaid” feeling about pregnancy & babies, too. Not so much at work.


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