Thursday, June 01, 2006

Who Knows

Over our spur-of-the-moment sushi dinner, I tried to explain my frustration.

"But I'm not invited, see? And, well, I guess my feelings are hurt."

He clamped his chopsticks around a piece of his roll. "But you don't want to go, right?"

"Well, that's not the point," I said, mixing a pinch wasabi into my soy sauce. "The point is, I'm not invited, and she hasn't even said anything to me about it. No 'Hey, I really wish you could come to my wedding,' or 'If I wasn't over my guest limit already, I'd love to have you there.' Nothing." I picked up a piece of my own roll and dipped it into my sauce. "I mean, I work with her, for God's sake."

"So what? Just be glad you don't have to go. That means you don't have to buy a gift."

"That's not the point. I feel left out."

Talk of the wedding has been circulating my office for months. When I started my new job, my new coworker hadn't even begun to plan her June nuptials, save for booking the reception's location. "You better get on that," I admonished in my first few weeks of employment. "Get whatever you can out of the way as early as possible so you don't have to worry about it later. And some things take time. The dress, the fittings, all that stuff. Get it done now." And, so, she began. She updated me every day with her progress, asked for my advice with regard to the bridesmaids dresses, even brought her dress to the office after she bought it, just to show me her gown. She showed me the invitations, and had me address a few that the calligrapher had forgotten. "Would you mind?" she said, placing three invitations and three envelopes before me. "Your handwriting is so much better than mine."

And of course I didn't mind. I was happy to help. I love weddings. What girl doesn't? I was more than happy to go over menu selections, wedding etiquette, resurrecting the things I remembered from my own almost-wedding years ago to aid in any way I could.

And then I noticed that there was no calligraphied invitation in the mail for me.

It's become an elephant in the room for me. I'm sure she feels awkward about it, me not being invited. And, really, there's a perfectly good explanation for why I'm not on the guestlist, checking off whether I'd like chicken or fish on my RSVP card: Because I just started here six months ago. She didn't know me enough to invite me back then. But, then, she hadn't invited anyone until a few months ago. And then I realized that, since she and her brother (both of whom are my coworkers here in the office) would both be at the wedding, I'd need to stay here at work to hold down the fort. Understandable.

But still. To say nothing? It seemed rude to me, made me feel like the one kid in grade school that didn't get a coveted invitation to the popular girl's pool party.

"They're your coworkers," Billy said, his mouth full of spicy tuna. "Not your friends. Don't worry about it."

"But I do worry about it." I held my chopsticks so that the bite I was about to take hovered before my mouth. "I'm very sensitive. My feelings are hurt."

"But they shouldn't be," he argued, swallowing.

"Yeah, well, they are. And they don't want to mention anything about the wedding or the events the day before the wedding in front of one of our other guys, because he's not invited. But it's perfectly okay to talk about it in front of me? Oh, don't worry about Laurie's feelings. She'll be fine." I took an angry bite of sushi.

"I don't know why you let it get to you like you do." He shook his head, surveyed what was left of his roll. He pushed around some rogue grains of rice on his plate, considering his next bite.

I grabbed a sliver of ginger, took a tiny bit of it, squished the fleshy texture between my front teeth. In truth, I didn't know why it was bothering me so much, aside from the fact that I felt left out. He was right, I didn't - don't - particularly want to go; I wouldn't really know anyone there, and I'd probably feel out of place among the group of 200 who have all known each other since adolescence. I know there's no need for me to be there. But something about the fact that there was no apology being made for my lack of an invite was grating at me. "Maybe," I said, trying to formulate my thoughts into concise and accurate phrases, "it's just that it makes me feel like they don't like me. Like she, in particular, doesn't want me there. Maybe that's what hurts."

"But it shouldn't," he reminded me.

And something about the way he continued to blow off my gripes irritated me. I put my chopsticks down, looked at him. "But it does. And telling me it shouldn't isn't going to change anything."

There's this huge chasm between men and women when it comes to complaints. Men think you're telling them about your problems so that they can help you solve them. Women just know that you're not at all looking for a solution; you're just bitching. And they let you. On the other hand, if a man complains about his day, and a woman offers her advice, she's written off under the pretense that she doesn't understand, that she doesn't grasp the situation like he does. I don't offer solutions when Billy laments about his day. I offer "I'm sorry, babe," and maybe ask some more questions to get him talking. With my questions, I'm lancing the boil; him talking about it is letting it out. I just wish he would understand that I only need the same.

He tries, he does, to give me what I need when I just want to complain. But he can't fight his autonomous reaction to advise. I see him push it back, but up it comes without his urging. He can't help it. And I hate it. I do. I won't lie. It makes me want to clam up and not talk to him. But I can't keep myself from bitching, just like he can't keep himself from advising.

When you choose someone to be with, for any amount of time, you have to understand that there are some things that are never going to change. He will always be taller than me, he will always be charming, he will always make me smile. Those are good things. But, at the same time, he will always think he's right, and he will always offer me solutions instead of commiseration when I complain. And that will always drive me mad.

But you detest in other people the very things you detest in yourself. We butt heads, Billy and I, because we're both always right. We both want to be the boss of everything.

"Turn here," Billy said from the passenger seat as we left the parking lot after dinner.

"I know," I said, huffily, like a child. I flicked my blinker on to illustrate that I knew.

"Sor-ry," he said, laughing, throwing his hands up. "I was just trying to help. But no, you're Miss Independent. God forbid anyone try to help you."

"Hey, you can't stand to be told things you already know, either. So don't give me that. You're just like me."

He didn't say anything; He knew I was right. He just smiled at me and grabbed a hold of my hand. I couldn't help it; I smiled back, and laced my fingers through his.

He drives me crazy with that: Telling me what to do, what I should do. Sometimes, it just makes me want to scream. But I've heard myself doing the exact same things. And, anyway, I know, changing the things about him that rub me the wrong way would change the things about him that rub me in all the right ways. I wouldn't love him like I do if he wasn't exactly the man he is, Know-It-All and everything.

And he knows that.

Of course.


Leandra said...

LOL, I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to strangle hubby with his "advice"...Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, you should both read it, it talks about that.

I totally agree about being snubbed on the wedding, only because she involved you so much. An apology would have been nice...I'd feel the same as you. Try not to let it bother you tooooo much...

Jasika said...

Oh Laurie how I have missed your writing and how it takes the words right out of my mouth...or um..the thoughts out of my head. Cause my words NEVER make that much sense.

I feel you. I feel you. I feel you. Hate that "advice". All I want to hear is "that fucking sucks". Then I will proceed with "i KNOW right?!". Then I feel understood and he feels helpful. Simple, really.

Its so refreshing to read about someone so in love.

Michele said...

It is kind of rude to include you SO much in all the wedding details and then not even aknowledge that you are not invited! I would not go on and on about wedding stuff to someone I was not going to invite!

Cheetarah1980 said...

that coworker is plain rude. she shouldn't talk about the wedding with you, if she doesn't invite you. Hell you addressed envelopes for her. That's just shady in my opinion.

And yeah, men aren't good for venting. Sometimes it's more frustrating to share with them cause they just don't get the need to bitch like a girlfriend would. I once got an email called The Rules (According to Men). One of them basically said, tell us your problems when you want a solution. Go to your girlfriends if you want to bitch.

Liz said...

I am with Michele and Cheetrah- To have you involved in the details, ask your opinion and do her favors.. that is SOOOOOO rude and low class. She really should be embarrassed!

Trish said...

They do problem solve. It's true.

I love a good bitchfest, but not gonna happen with a man. I think it baffles them.

theotherbear said...

All the way through this story I was thinking this was a conversation you should have had with another woman. She would have replied with something appropriate like "Oh, what a bitch". Men are SO not good at that! You don't always want advice, sometimes you want someone to agree that you're right for feeling the way you do!

Oh, and by the way, I am now having huge feelings of guilt for asking a work colleague to assist me with printing my wedding invites 7 years ago and not inviting her to my wedding...

portuguesa nova said...

Oooh. It absolutely kills Antonio to know that I'm not looking to have my problems solved, I just enjoy complaining. Kills him!!

That wedding thing completely blows. It is indeed the elephant in the room. One of my friends recently had a wedding with like 700 guests. Both of their families are so big that they couldn't invite some of our really good friends from college that always turn up at group dinners and other peoples' baby showers and bridal showers and stuff.

Awkward city.

No one ever offered anyone an explanation.

I heard something once that who you invite to your wedding doesn't reflect who your friends are, but who you want your friends to be in the future.

My guess in your situation is the same as yours, that you weren't enough on the radar when the guest lists were being made (and you know they were prob. being made before they even got engaged)...still its weird.

Just last week I was having lunch with a girl who is a friend of a friend of my sister's. I barely knokw her. It was only our third lunch together. She'd gotten married a few weeks prior in a teeny tiny ceremony with only family. Still, I felt quite odd not having been invited, even though there is no reason I would've been.