At 2:00, we decided to drive out to the Stuart Moore in Newport. He had heard that they were having a sale through Valentine’s Day, and that the wedding bands he had his eye on would be heavily discounted. Rather than wait, look around other stores, and continue delaying the inevitable drain on my savings, I relented, and we were off. Two hours and $2000 later, we had drained two flutes of complementary champagne, discovered that the left hand is the ring hand, and ordered the bands. It was all but official.
By 4:00, we’d parked at a Yardhouse, which is the sort of place that he hates but I love, having come from a town where it and Red Lobster are the two options for special occasions. He sipped a second champagne. I had my usual IPA. We shared Gardein sliders and Gardein wings with ketchup, two things which, for a vegetarian, are proximate to heaven. He reviewed the ring receipt about five different times while I broke the news to my mother, who promptly lost her shit, in the best possible way.
Around this time, I finally made the fact that we’re getting married official by posting it to my Facebook. For my generation of Americans, this is more important than actually buying the rings. To do this, I had to end my relationship with my boyfriend of 2 ½ years and then send him an invitation to become engaged to me, effective February 10, 2013. The Facebook iPhone app, though, made this impossible. I sent at least five to ten different engagement invitations, and all were lost. Consequently, for an hour and a half, I was single again. I celebrated by finishing my IPA and ordering a Pilsner. My now-ex-boyfriend stuck with the champagne.
Back in the car, the avalanche of congratulatory “likes” began. Close friends, enemies, my 12th grade English teacher, high school acquaintances who really let themselves go in their early 20s, family members, my step-mother. My straight best friend wished us “many happy, gay years of marriage”- a gay-friendly straight guy’s way of saying “no homo”. A college acquaintance said she was “going to cry”. My page flooded with heart emoticons and “congrats!!!” Every statement was punctuated with three exclamation points, indicating an effusion of semi-combustible good feeling.
By the time we got on the 405, around 5:00, I was in compulsive Facebook check mode, refreshing every five seconds to see who’d liked us, who’d “congrats!!!”ed us, who’d “much love to you”ed us, making note of who had “:)”ed us and who hadn’t. We’d already decided that this was Round 1 of the weeding out process: calls are worth a definite invite, since anyone who actually gets on the phone with you in 2013 is either blood or close to it; texts and Facebook comments are a maybe; a simple “like” gets a frowny face; and silence gets what it is. I thought of it kind of like those radio contests. First 500 callers get to see Beyonce. First 50 legit congratulations get invitations to our wedding.
As a result, my childhood best friend and my 84 year old grandmother are not coming to our wedding. Not to mention my sisters and his parents. Disinvited on the grounds of inadequate, untimely, non-social network-based rejoicing. That said, a girl whom I met once in a study group in college and haven’t seen or talked to in four years will have a front row seat. She left three comments on my wall, and each had half a dozen smiley face emoticons.
Nightfall and we had 100 likes- a personal record- and I’d completely forgotten that we had actually become engaged. Had I a diary, the entry would have read “February 10, 2013: 100 likes on a Facebook post. Psyched.” Around that time, my ex-boyfriend, who was lying in our bed next to me, accepted my engagement request, causing him to miraculously transform into my fiancé.
Bam. A huge picture of us together, along with other, smaller, chronologically spaced-out images of us together- at Oktoberfest, in front of the Pyramids, eating pineapple buns, at a vineyard- popped up on our mutual Facebook timelines. Another wave of 50 likes poured in.
“Hooray!” “So happy for you too” “U DESERVE THE BEST!!!” “OMG. OMG. OMG.” “CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!”
I devolved into frenzy and obsession, hovering over my iPhone screen, scanning the names and comments, fiendishly grinning whenever something new popped up.
At 7:20, my new fiancé confiscated my iPhone. Turned it off. He then remembered my iPad and MacBook Pro and confiscated those.
Spent, we both collapsed on the bed, turned on Netflix, and continued our Sherman’s March through “House of Cards,” wherein we become so engrossed in Kevin Spacey’s deceitfulness and Robyn Wright’s coolness that we both end up going to bed at 1 am on a school night.
I fell asleep in his arms, thinking of the alarm clock, and its shining promise of an iPhone- and a Facebook- regained.