For this prompt, I simply played the song, “I Will Survive,” by Gloria Gaynor. Check out the video version and see what resonates for you (then write for 20 minutes).
Here’s what I wrote:
I’m working hard at letting go of Mr. Right. So much so that I’ve actually been working on reversing my inner dialogue. For instance, if I’m invited to a party, I no longer think, “I could meet a nice guy there, so I better dress well, curl my eyelashes, touch up my sideburns.” Instead I tell myself, “Go have fun with your friends. Everyone else there will be part of a couple, straight, or battling bad breath. You aren’t going to meet anyone at a party, so give it up: let it go.”
This may sound harsh and pessimistic to you, but I find it liberating. And I practice some version of this now no matter where I’m headed. Flying to Chicago? You won’t meet anyone at the airport or on the plane. Grocery shopping? Forget it. Having lunch alone? Bring a book. A Saturday writing workshop at the Writing Salon? All women.
I’m turning every fantasy on its head, but I still can’t give up this hopeless hoping when I attend a wedding. I’m working on it, but letting go of this one makes me sad because, well, it’s just so fucking romantic.
Last week was no different. Though I was attending this wedding with my close friend, Mario, I still popped in my cufflinks with that familiar tape playing in my head. And when I saw the cute single guy sitting next to us during the wedding, laughing at our pre-ceremony remarks, the little dying fire inside me was stoked a little.
Later, at the reception, we found that same guy sitting at our assigned table with two seats open next to him. When it was obvious he wanted to sleep with my friend and not me, well, that’s when the pity party started up again.
While they chatted away and the lesbian couple next to me talked about the wedding cake, I poured myself another glass of wine and proceeded to get good and drunk.
I make it a habit not to dance at weddings. It’s usually too depressing: the tacky Deejays, the rough mixes, the stupid fake floor—everyone forced into intimacy because of that little square laid over the carpet—it just bums me out. Plus, relatives always cluster together and it always makes me feel more like an outsider. I was doing a fine job of feeling like an old maid, watching another friend dance with his partner of thirteen years (and the bride). But when Gloria Gaynor came on following that familiar clash of symbols and sang, “At first I was afraid/I was petrified,” I knew my gay forefathers would frown on me if I didn’t get my ass out of my chair and dance to what I consider the gay anthem. So I joined them.
It turns out the bride was a great dancer, and she was wearing red pumps under all that cream tulle. (I always ask the bride to show me her shoes; it’s a ritual.) She kissed me when it was over (good luck as far as I’m concerned), and it was all downhill from there.
I watched as she and the groom fed one another chocolate cake covered in candy pearls, and I got teary. I tried my best to catch the garter (Mario actually caught it, so he’ll probably marry the guy at our table who couldn’t keep his hands off him). I was even tempted to catch the bride’s bouquet, but I knew the ladies who were lining up would never allow it. Still, when the bride tossed those red roses over her head, one petal fell off. My eyes went right to it, and as soon as I could, I slipped it into my pocket. It’s drying on my desk right now, right next to a great old black and white photo of my parents.
I guess I still have some work to do.