From the moment I realized boys were cute and not gross, my first inclination was to like The Bad Boy. My heart went to A.J. when I listened to Backstreet Boys on repeat until my CD skipped, then to JC when I decided NSYNC was cooler anyway (clearly, I was in error). There was also Diddy, who I realize is not a bad boy at all, and D’Angelo, who was probably very nice except for when he forgot his pants. My love for bad boys escalated to a new level when I snuck out of high school to see Westlife perform at the mall. Upon getting in trouble I screamed at my mother “it was worth every minute!” (kids, a warning, don’t scream such things at your parents).
This bad boy obsession penetrated my dating life as an “adult”. I know I’m not the only one. Through college and into the real life, we aways fell for the men we were supposed to stay away from. Relationships were actually situationships, complication was normal, and broken hearts became currency. When I’d finally hit a wall, I opened my heart up to the possibilities, and so far, am pleasantly surprised at how wonderful the “right” kind of man can be.
So, when my dear friend Ashley got engaged, we celebrated! I’d watched her go through similar ups and downs with an ex, then fall in love with the man who captured her heart. Over lunch one day, we talked about what felt like excessive celebration to her. “There’s so much champagne!” she lamented with a wink. Between the toasts, hugs, notes of congratulations, and engagement parties, it felt like perhaps there was too much celebrating going on.
The thing is – I think every bump along the love rollercoaster is just another badge on your girl scout sash to carry with pride. It’s no longer realistic to believe that we’re going to fall in love with our first boyfriends because life never looks the way we expect or hope it to. We should all be so lucky, after all of the ups and downs, to find love. That love (and a bomb-ass-ring) is something to be celebrated. I truly believe engagement parties go beyond enjoying a new union that works. They are a celebration of finding your pace. Of learning what you deserve. Of saying goodbye to the dudes who don’t deserve your time. And of finding someone man enough to treat you that way.
So here’s to Ashley, and my other girl (or ghurl) friends who have recently gotten engaged. Well deserved and many cheers to you.