Supermom recently held a bridal shower at Place de Plume.  J. and I were invited to join them in what I originally thought was a sweet gesture of Supermom’s.  The bride turned out to be one of those tenuous connections that somehow obligates you to say stupid things like “sure, I will host your niece’s bridal shower.”  So J. and I were there for Supermom’s moral support, apparently; only we weren’t of much use in that department.

I had my staff put everything together since, well, I didn’t want to.  They made it look very nice with fluffy flowers and matching bite sized food.  The mean age of those in attendance was 12.  Excuse me, the mean age was 22, the mean mentality was 12. My shoulders tensed as the first round of squeals rang out through the Chateau’s halls (these halls are used to squeals, they just generally are not so chipper.)  Supermom, J. and I sat in the back, sipping on champagne, sherry and martinis respectively as the naïve bride and her equally naïve friends dispensed formulaic pabulum about the magical road they had embarked upon in wedded bliss.  Only, from what we could tell, only one of them had actually embarked on said bliss and she was just three months in.  What started as Supermom, J. and I providing a bank of eye rolls, led to a few sighs and some giggling, ultimately culminating in snarky comments and fits of laughter that caused J. to fall off the back of her chair; thank goodness she wears enough crinolines to have broken her fall.

Perhaps it was the martinis speaking but I finally gave up my position on the periphery and sat down almost on top of the bride-to-be and told her if she didn’t pull her perfectly peroxided head out from its place in the sand, marriage was not going to lift her to a state of ethereal paradise, but plow her over like a steamroller to gravel.

When did we decide everything had to be perfect and effortless?  I spend the majority of my day not doing anything (I did not say not doing anyone.)  Although I am certainly not lacking in confidence, I plump up my feathers a bit more when I set about to complete even one item on my little to-do list.  Why can’t we work very hard for something – even something as romantic as a relationship – and feel good about the toil?  Love is the impetus for the effort, but should not be expected to take its place.

When Supermom married Nate, they were properly matched; they worked together like a well-oiled machine.  When they had children, their entire world was turned on its ear.  They were shocked, overwhelmed and overpowered by these new, permanent guests who had taken up residence in both their house and their relationship.  But Nate and Supermom rolled up their sleeves and gave it a go until the figured it out.  When they look at each other they don’t see an un-smudged, glowing portrait of something that should boast wings, they see a trench-mate.  They would not say theirs was an easy path, nor would they have wanted one – how do they know what they can endure unless tested?

When I married Thomas, I was madly in love.  He was golden, beautiful, dashing and romantic.  Being with him felt like a dream… and we all need a rest from our dreams from time to time.  I would be sitting at home watching our cook prepare the food (it felt very wifely,) when he would waltz in with flowers.  He would sweep me into his arms and dance with me about the room thrice only to stop and lavish me in kisses.  I would smile at him, take his beautiful face in my hands and ask him gently “you did remember to pay the rent today, yes?  The landlord came by again.”  No, of course he didn’t; because romantics like Thomas are never grounded enough to perform the tasks in life one needs to live it practically.  And since no wife of his would sully her fingers with such matters (it was the 1890s, for heavens sake,) I had to constantly outwit him in order to actually have these matters attended to.  I had to to enjoy the romantic.  Give and Take.  Pro and Con.

Albert I married for money and hated him bitterly; it was one of the easiest relationships I have ever had.

Rémy I adored.  He was rich, old, charming, wise and permissive – everything I was looking for.  I was allowed to travel the world indulging in me; I had everything I could ever want.  But I never fully had Rémy’s heart; I simply don’t think he had it in him to give.  He provided for me, protected me, showered me in luxuries and showed me off to his friends.  But there is a small tug to realizing you hold the same place as a coveted Rembrandt in someone’s heart; which would be saved from a fire first?

Let’s not even begin to discuss the issues poor J. has with her “marriage.”

My point is, darlings, fall in love with love if you will.  But work for a relationship – anything worth having should be earned.

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