Another friend bites the dust? The author of The Panic Years helps you deal.
You’ve walked down the aisle dozens of times—just not as a bride.
In fact, your best friend just picked out a $450 crystal-encrusted sleeping bag that she calls a bridesmaid dress—which you are to wear ("after you lose those pesky last 10 pounds," per her instruction.)
Never mind that you can't afford the thing in the first place.
And it has finally whittled down to you and the five-year-old flower girl vying for victory in the bouquet toss.
Oh, yes, wedding season is upon us again, and for all the SPSs (self-pitying spinsters) out there who are dreading the season of engraved toasters and hollow toasts alike, I am here to help!
But these scenarios are no reason to Panic—and let the fear that "it will never happen for you" start to warp your way of thinking and ultimately undermine your sense of self. Sure, the friends who were infinitely more likable before they got engaged are now relentless reminders of your singleness, but you’re going to need a mightier resolve to withstand the forces of The Panic Years (Want to know more? Watch author Doree Lewak explain in Tango's exclusive video).
Probably more than any other cultural condition, wedding season is known to help compound the Panic Years—filling even the sanest single girl with at least some self-doubt.
So, before you become permanently blinded by not-so-pleasant pastels and a seething jealous rage, here are my top five tips—your secret weapons to surviving wedding season.
Secret Weapon #1: How not to be bitter at your friends’ weddings.
Yes, somehow even the ugliest sister from your sorority has managed to land herself a man and get married while you can’t even scare up a date for her wedding. This unjust, but true scenario has all the makings of the Panic Years – unless you do something about it. So what if a less-desirable friend ties the knot before you? This is no reason for your bitterness to boil over, is it? Is it?!! Remember, you’re going to have to learn to accept—not fight—the reality of your “friends” getting married. And eventually, you will not just fake—but feel—true joy at your friends’ weddings, despite any humiliation you must suffer through while wearing peach organza.
Secret Weapon #2: How to exercise wedding day restraint.
Of course bridal backlash has crossed the mind of any SPS with even the mildest case of The Panic Years. One of the high points in the life of a SAP (settled and pious) friend is to point out the obvious at weddings: that someone else is getting married and you’re not. These haughtily-nuptialed friends seem to take pleasure in your Panic pain. But now is not the time to lose what’s left of your composure and decimate any chance of hooking up with a single groomsman! Let their insensitive and pointed comments roll off your back as you seductively strut your stuff on the dance floor and your married friends are left to argue over their intake of refined sugar over the Viennese table.
Secret Weapon #3: Be a bridesmaid—and live to tell about it.
It’s the inevitable duty of “the best friend.” You knew this day was coming ever since she designed her own engagement ring on a high from her third date. You are conscripted as a bridesmaid—and there’s nothing you can do about it.
This “honor” is the rite of passage every SPS must suffer through, and it’s the war story no soldier wants to rehash. But in truth, her wedding is only one day, and you hope your friendship is forever—so try to curb any unwieldy bitterness, at least until the cameras stop rolling. Sure, you might be at the mercy of your friend’s ridiculous wedding demands now, but just think that one day it’s going to be your turn—clearly this bitchy bride-to-be needs some payback, and boy, will you be able to turn the tables on her!
Secret Weapon #4: Why wedding day sabotage is still not the answer.
It sounds so tempting, doesn’t it? A sloppy toast here, making out with the groom’s uncle there. For some SPSs in the throes of The Panic Years, wedding day sabotage can more than cross your mind, it can impel you to pull the catering hall’s fire alarm during the reception slide show. Sure, you may want to wring the undeserving bride’s neck now, but it’s a real testament to your growth to take the high road and celebrate with her, not sabotage her big day.
Secret Weapon #5: Never let ’em see you scowl.
Don’t let the bridesmaid blues grip you—or taint your friendship with the bride. So the next time you’re at a friend’s wedding, try to adjust your attitude even a little and the day—and your entire outlook—will be that much more positive. After all, seeing someone you care about find her beloved should feel like a sweet wine going down, not a concept you’re choking on. If a friend just announced her engagement, send her a congratulatory card, not an anonymous death threat. Remember, that self-obsessed slut will do the same for you one day.
Doree Lewak is the author of The Panic Years: A Guide to Surviving Smug Married Friends, Bad Taffeta and Life on the Wrong Side of 25 Without A Ring.