I recently met my good friend's sister. The way the visit worked out, the sister and I had some time to hang out the following day, after my friend left to fly back to Oregon.
Over a glass of wine, the three of us sat talking, and my friend's sister told me that whenever I woke up in the morning, we could go out and get breakfast together, and she'd be happy to show me around her town a little bit, as I hadn't spent much time there.
"And of course, if you'd like, we can go ring shopping! I know some great jewelry shops!"
Back up a little bit. I'm in a relationship. Have been for about 2.5 years. I'm 30. In the last year, I moved across the country to be with him. So, would I like to go ahead and get - if not hitched - engaged? Sure. And I don't see the point in pretending that's not the case. I don't try to advertise or bitch about it, but I'm not going to lie about it - definitely not to my closest friends. But, now I have to wonder.
I mean, I figured my friend would give her sister some backstory on me. She knew where my friend and I had met, she knew the basics of why I live in the south ... but is "she's waiting on her slacker boyfriend to propose" on the short list of details about me that I expect people to hear before they meet me? Yikes.
It brought me back to a conversation my boyfriend and I had before we moved out here. Two friends of mine had been together for 10 years, and I knew she was ready to get things moving. Get married, think about starting a family. So when I saw him, and she wasn't around, I'd nudge. And I wasn't subtle.
"Dude. What are you waiting for? When are you going to put a ring on it?"
It made me feel annoying, but I checked with my girlfriend, and she was totally OK with this type of encouragement. [I mean, I could write another blog post about why and how it is that there are certain decisions in hetero relationships for which women are basically removed from the decision-making process. You can't nag. You can't push. You're not supposed to complain, lest you be one of those gross old-fashioned girls who actually - gasp - wants to get married. Yuck. We're not supposed to care. And it's not like you could do something crazy like ask him.]
When my b.f. heard me talk about this couple, and about how the fellow needed to get his shit together, he wondered if I was trying to give him a hint.
"No, dear. They've been together for a decade. It's a different situation."
But that conversation was a year and a half ago. Are things different? Is living in the south affecting my views on marriage? Out here, people give me a sidelong look when I mention that I moved across the country to live with my boyfriend. People check my hand when I talk about him. I've literally been told that Jesus wants me to get married. His stepmother told him it bothers her that he hasn't at least bought me a ring.
I don't know. But I do know this: I told my boyfriend the ring shopping story when I got home. I'll let him decide what it all means.