My best friend just got engaged. We played phone tag last night for a bit. Then she texted me – “Call meeeee.” I was actually on another call, so I said I would but “Is something wrong?” She said “No but I only get engaged once…” Um, oh my god, I gotta go call Erin immediately, she ONLY GETS ENGAGED ONCE!
She told me the story, and we gushed a lot and reminisced and pondered. I am thrilled, and that’s in the true sense of the word, not just exaggerated top-shelf American language. We used to imagine her winter wedding. Forget the spring, I love snow, she said. She would have a long-sleeved gown with full-length white formal coat, and the bridesmaids would have muffs instead of bouquets.
All girls think about their future wedding day and most dream of the frills. This usually begins around age six when you maybe also have six baby dolls that all have first, middle and last names. Girls picture this marvelous day, with all its grandeur and beauty, with the ultimate prospect of life-long happiness.
In the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby, the main character Nick Carraway says, “The way he looked at her is the way all girls want to be looked at.”
I take pause at this quote to consider what it is that us girls really crave. Sure some wastefully wish for the “big day” to simply be celebrated and do the trendy thing. But I’m a romantic. I know that in the precious hearts of ladies lies an innate desire to be loved unconditionally, to have someone gaze at you from across a crowded room adoringly, piercingly, lost.
The perfect irony would be that you don’t see this. It happens while you are distracted, caught up in a conversation smiling and gesturing as only you can do. You’re admirer has those magical feelings, and you are none the wiser.
This is one of my favorite things to fantasize about, that it’s possible for someone to love me, like me, desire me, respect me, protect me and build a life with me. I’m so hopeful that every girl has this moment, and better yet, if a narrator can tell you, “I saw it.”
Erin will be happy. I am proud to say that I knew from the beginning that they had something special, a kindred sense and natural sway that a discreet observer of the observer can discover.
Always. Forever. These are the words. And it starts with a look.