Dec 19

To Wear or Not to Wear | A Dilemna

A perfectly hypothetical situation that did not happen to me.

A girl walks into a bar. She’s going to hear her friend play some live music and hopefully meet a few people to chat with. She’s going alone, which is a nerve-racking thing to do if you’re a female. But all the girlfriends she called couldn’t make it. As she enters, she sees a couple she knows.

Chatting it up with them, her pulse slows. This isn’t so bad, she thinks. I know this couple. I’m not lame!

But 40 minutes later, they leave. There’s no one else she knows in the bar. Panic rises. I’m going to sit here all alone, looking like a fool. She spots a group of girls and guys, about her age.

Knowing there is no way in hell she’ll be “cool” enough with a wedding ring on, she slips it into her pocket. She’s not going to pretend she isn’t married.

But she is going to control how the information comes out.

Mustering her nerve, she cracks a joke to the group. They look over…and respond.

After 15 minutes, two girls and two guys from the group are now engaged in conversation with the girl. She’s relaxed again. Cool once more, she thinks. I’ve still got it.

But then, the two girls in the group want to leave. The guys that are with them seem conflicted– leave with the girls or stay with the new girl at the bar?

They decide to stay with the girl. She’s relieved that she doesn’t have to attempt another conversation with a stranger. The guys are going to stay.

Another 30 minutes go by. The girl and the two guys are talking and laughing. They realize they all know the same people from high school! It’s a fun lighthearted time. Each person has their own drink. No one is buying for the other.

Then the question gets asked. “So are you with anyone?” one of the guys asks the girl.

“Yes,” she says without hesitation.”I’m married with three children.”

The news is out. She’s married. Whatever fun and intelligent conversation she was having falls flat on the floor. It’s as if she has morphed into a warty old woman who must be disposed of immediately.

He looks at her finger and a moment of anger flashes across his face. Then he recovers. He grabs her hand, waving it in the air- revealing her crime. “But your finger! You don’t have a ring on your finger?!”

“I know,” says the girl, “but I’m still married. I don’t need a ring to remember that.”

“But you deliberately aren’t wearing it? That’s lying!” he says indignantly.

“No it’s not. I knew you would never come talk to me if I displayed my marital status, so I waited to tell you until we had this nice little chat. In my world, when you meet a stranger, you say ‘hi what’s your name?‘ and then ‘what do you do for work?‘ and then comes ‘are you married or have a family?‘. I wasn’t going to keep it a secret.” He says nothing because he knows she’s right. Had he seen her ring, he wouldn’t have even bothered with hello (this comes out later).

His silence doesn’t last long. He’s pissed. He says she’s disrespectful and a liar. He says he would never go out in public without a ring on if he was married. He scolds her.

And then, she fights back.

“Excuse me, but are you married? No? Well I am. I’ve been that way for over a decade. You on the other hand, have never had to hold onto commitment when the going gets tough– when you mess up, or your partner messes up. You don’t know what it’s like to be in my shoes. It has nothing to do with a ring. Marriage isn’t some fairy tale. But you don’t know that yet do you?

You know how hard it is for some stranger to size you up instantly, based on what you’re wearing? To make judgments and assumptions without so much as hello?

Isn’t it my right and duty to divulge what information I want to, when I want to? Is it a law that you MUST know I’m married before you say a perfunctory hello?

Are you a female? Do you know what it’s like to be alone at a bar? No? Well I am a female. I’ve been dealing with these socially awkward situations for years. Men can go to bars alone, ring on or not. No one flinches. But the rules are different for women.

How would you feel if I told you the reason I wasn’t wearing a wedding band was because I had gained too much weight from babies to fit into one? (It wasn’t true, but it was the girl five years ago)

Are you mad because I took your money and made you buy me a drink with no intent of putting out? Oh wait, I didn’t do that, did I? I didn’t use you for alcohol.

Are you mad because I lied when you asked me the question 30 minutes into the conversation? Oh wait, I didn’t do that either did I? I believe I was perfectly honest after talking for a half an hour. I’m sorry, was that too long? Were you hoping for that information 2 minutes in so you could not give me the time of day? My bad.

Do you feel so awful because I wasted 30 minutes of your pitiful horny life talking about interesting things when you could have been shacking up with some other chic? You could look on the bright side — I  probably spared you a nasty case of Syphilis.

When did a bar become a brothel?

Why do the common rules of decency and human civility disappear when you walk through those doors?

Would you ever treat me this way in the grocery store? At church? In line at the DMV?

Would you get away with waving my hand in the air claiming I’m a liar because I didn’t warn you of my committed status before we exchanged words?

Let’s switch genders. Would a girl do this to a man who sat in a bar without a ring on? If he was honest and upfront and normal and human- revealing his marital status in the normal flow of conversation? I think she wouldn’t have quite the same temper tantrum you are having right now.

According to you, I am a disrespectful wife and liar because I didn’t announce to the world with a sharpie pen on my forehead….

I AM MARRIED. PLEASE IGNORE ME. DON’T TALK TO ME BECAUSE I’M NOT GOING TO PUT OUT AND THEREFORE I’M NOT WORTH THE TIME OR EFFORT TO CHAT OR GET TO KNOW.

Have you ever been a cute young girl who transformed into a larger, older version of herself that she doesn’t recognize anymore? A girl that wants to know she can be in the world…

As a human..

As a woman..

As a person who has control over what she offers and what she takes? No I think not.

Until you are all those things…

back off.

***

Talk to me in the comments about what has happened to the social scene. Why are the expectations on women and men different? Do you agree that a man would have been treated the same way the girl was in this scenario? Why are bars shacking shops only? Is it lying to not wear a ring? Is it offensive to wait to offer up marital status and quote “waste” the time of a guy? What do you think?

P.S. This wasn’t part of the discussion but it is ironic and funny and hilarious. The first story that the guy told the girl that night? Turned out to be a complete lie.

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