Engagement parties, weddings, baby showers and international pole dancing competitions... one of these things is definitely not like the others.
There are certain events that occur in most people's lives that are traditionally celebrated as important milestones. Significant birthdays, engagements, weddings, baby showers, the baby's arrival, the christening, first birthday, wedding anniversaries etc. I'm at the age when most of my (non-pole dancing) friends have either already ticked off a number of these milestones, or are well on their way to doing so. Whenever I go to one of these events to celebrate a life achievement with one of my friends, I always think of that episode of Sex and the City, where Carrie's shoes go missing at a friend's party.
(In case you haven't seen it, here's a quick synopsis - when leaving the party at her friend's house, Carrie is devastated to find her expensive shoes are not where she left them. After much hinting on Carrie's part, the friend reluctantly offers to replace them, but then baulks when Carrie tells her how much they cost. The friend shames Carrie for spending so much money on the shoes. Carrie sits down and calculates how much she has spent on gift-giving over the years to celebrate the friend's life choices, and realises it is a small fortune. Carrie decides to announce she is engaged to herself, and sends the friend her bridal registry - with one item only on it: the shoes she lost. The friend, taking Carrie's point, obliges. Carrie is happy).
I'm reminded of this episode because sometimes I feel a bit like Carrie at these sorts of celebrations. So far, I've resisted the urge to travel down the well-trodden path of betrothal and procreation. Even though I've been with my partner for 8 years now, we remain unmarried and baby-free (much to my grandmother's sorrow). It's not that I'm opposed to marriage and babies, quite the opposite in fact - I'm the first to cry at weddings and I adore children and can't wait to be asked to babysit my friends' rug-rats. I don't know that I will ever get married, but one day in the more distant future I probably will have kids (but I'm not making any definitive statements - after all, motherhood is often only one careless boozy night away...).
But back to the title of this blog post. Being an unwedded non-breeder has started to make me feel like a bit of a black sheep in certain social settings, particularly when people ask me what I've been up to lately. I've noticed that my announcements ("I'm going to the World Pole Championships! We came third! I'm going to the IPC in Hong Kong! I did a fun show at a gay and lesbian nightclub the other night with one of my male pole dancer friends - and we rocked it!) seem to make some people feel a bit uncomfortable. More often than not, the reaction seems to be a few awkward sideways glances, a tight smile, and a change of subject.
Certainly, you can't compare the significance of the arrival of new life on this planet with a pole competition or performance. And publicly announcing that you are tying your life and fortunes to your loved one in marriage is also a big deal (but I will point out that in the time I've been with my boyfriend, I've seen relationships begin, marriages take place, and divorce papers filed, so... ummm.... ahem).
I just want to say that even though I don't have any rings on my fingers, bells on my toes or buns in the oven, things still happen to me that are important to me. When my friends say to me "We're getting married!", I reply "Oh my goodness! That's wonderful!", and dammit - I want the same reaction when I announce "I came second in a competition for my booty shaking pole show!" (after all, I'm sure anyone who's tried both will tell you booty shaking combined with pole is a LOT harder than getting knocked up).
Or maybe I'm just taking the wrong approach. Maybe what I need to do is to take a leaf out of Carrie's book, and start throwing myself afternoon tea parties or cocktail soirees every time something I consider to be a significant milestone event for me occurs. I'm laughing to myself now even as I think about the invitations:
Fiona and David would be delighted to have the pleasure of your company to celebrate their daughter Shimmy's winning of the Miss Pier Hotel competition, for her spectacularly saucy performance to Lithium by Nirvana. The crowd went wild and so will you when she does a repeat performance for you. RSVP essential. Dress: Cocktail. Registry details are available at David Jones.
I wonder if anyone would come???
PS Lou Lou I know you and Dee would come. Love you xxx