Every little girl dreams about her wedding – about the dresses, the decorations, the dinner menu and, of course, the diamonds. Finding the perfect guy, fitting into the perfect dress and living the perfect happily ever after are goals us girls are socially, culturally and maybe even hormonally programmed to pine for. Sure, there are some exceptions, but for the most part, marriage is not a foreign concept for females.

I’m no exception. I’ve dreamed about the dress, I’ve decided on the decorations, I even know what I want the dinner to look like. Many a girls’ night has devolved into discussions about the diamonds, and I’ve done plenty of page-turning in the bridal magazine section of the bookstore. Suffice it to say, I’m no stranger to musing about matrimony.

What is strange to me is thinking seriously about what I’m going to wear to a wedding that’s say, a few months away. And not a cousin’s wedding, or a family friend’s wedding. It’s a wedding in which one of my girlfriends, just a year older than me, is planning to promise her love, loyalty and lifelong devotion to her boyfriend of four years. I mean, I knew it was going to happen eventually. I just never expected people to start seriously singing the wedding march this young. Growing up with Sex and the City, Melrose Place, Friends, Will and Grace, Scrubs and god knows how many other television shows and movies about the single lives of people in their late twenties and early thirties, I always assumed myself and my girlfriends would spend the better part of our immediate post-college years playing in the proverbial big city, with nothing but the height of our heels to hold us back from doing whatever, whenever. I never thought so many people would be so paired up so soon. But, with graduation just around the corner, it’s amazing how many people are getting engaged and even actually walking down the aisle.

In the past few months, the aforementioned friend – who has been engaged for over a year now – has cemented a summer date for her big day. My freshman year roommate has a new rock and a tentative plan for taking the plunge in 2010. Another friend from freshman year just confessed that he’s planning to pop the question in the next few weeks, and one of my old summer camp comrades is working up the courage, and saving up the cash, to do it too. My boyfriend’s best friend just had his engagement party, and my manager at work was recently discussing dresses for her upcoming nuptials. Goodbye Sex and the City. Hello Engaged and Underaged.

According to an article in The College Dispatch – published by students at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania – a 2002 CNN poll revealed that 63 percent of 17 to 23 year-olds were seriously considering or in favor of young marriage and, in 2004, MSNBC found that young marriages had recently increased by 17 percent in the United States. Apparently, my friends aren’t the only ones doing the “I Do” thing young.

Now, my boyfriend’s first reaction to the whole issue was to say he could theoretically see himself getting married within the next few years. Then I made the question a little more specific. Suddenly, he wanted me to put him down as providing an official ‘no comment’ in reaction to the entire issue. Personally, I don’t know how I would feel if he were to get down on one knee to do anything other than tie his shoe. Female fantasizing aside, actually asking him if he could see us getting married made me nervous. Facing the finale of all of my single-girl city-seizing fantasies in any sort of real way is just a little too much for me to wrap my head around right now. How other people are doing it, I don’t know.

What I do know is that people are pairing up at an alarming rate, and although my dreams of dancing with my gal pals are absolutely still feasible fantasies, the settings have switched from hip clubs to hotel ballrooms. And while I’m going to keep relegating the whole ring thing to the realm of my fantasies, I do have big plans to pop an important question of my own when my boyfriend and I go out to dinner tonight.

After all, I’m going to need an escort for all these engagement parties, and a date when the big days come. And this way, I get to see him in a tux without any of that pesky permanent commitment stuff.


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