12/31/99. A day that will live in infamy. The dawn of the new millennium. Or in my case, the night terror-inducing biggest mistake of my life. Because hindsight has the advantage of sobriety (in most cases), it should have been a huge red flag to me that everyone was in a panic about “Y2K” at the time. Half of the invited guests declined, citing a need to stay home in case the country was plunged into darkness and they needed to sit outside with rifles and shoot down looters.
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to get married on New Year’s Eve. What better way to close out one year, or the past, and get a fresh start full of hope and promise? How romantic is that? And it’s a great excuse for an extra special party. It sounded good on paper.
I suppose a little background is in order, so you can understand how I ended up this hot, wise, successful woman that I’ve become.
I was married at 26 to a man I met while I was in law school. Since he’s a pompous, arrogant attorney, I have to be careful about what I say, lest the bastard sue me. Therefore, I will be using a pseudonym for him. Let’s call him Dick, shall we?
Dick and I were dating for a mere three months before he bought a ring. He surprised me with a proposal in month four, and later insisted that upon opening the ring box I turned a shade of green that is usually reserved for the Wicked Witch of the West. I choked back my swirling fear of losing independence, and disappointment in the ring (which is not what I would have chosen had I been consulted) and in a matter of minutes choked out an “ok” with accompanying head nod and shoulder shrug. Exactly how I dreamed of that moment when I was growing up.
We married a year later, and stayed “friends with benefits” for nearly nine years. I use that term because when we only had sex every 4-6 weeks, it’s not like it was a real relationship. We were friends though. Dick was like my gay best friend who enjoyed shopping and reality TV.
Dick, in the ultimate act of innate cowardice, asked for a divorce over the phone when I was 300 miles away with my family. As it turns out, he secretly discovered an old flame on Facebook. I’m using “flame” in the romance sense, not in the gay sense. Which was surprising, because I always said if he ever cheated on me, it would be with a guy because he was hit on by gay men everywhere. I mean, what guy repeatedly turns down sex? And not just any sex. Sex with me. Someone once told that if my sexual energy could be bottled, it would power a small New Hampshire town for a year.* His man card should have been revoked on the spot. But despite the lack of physical satisfaction, I stuck it out, because I figured I had my fun in college, and I had a Catholic upbringing that taught me to admire martyrs. Anyhow, this old flame was getting a divorce, and within a week of initiating contact with her, I was history.
I admit I was furious and thrown into a whirlwind of questioning both my decisions and my intuition for several years. I will not admit to inquiring as to the logistics of renting a billboard along the highway saying “Have you seen this woman? Keep her away from your husband–even if you think he is gay.” That is a rumor I will not dignify with a response. Now I realize it was like being rescued after spending several years trapped on a deserted island with someone you really aren’t crazy about. He was the Professor to my Ginger. And Ginger has better things in store for the future, now armed with many stories about those years in captivity.