It has finally happened. That thing that I KNEW was coming. That moment I have DREADED for the last year. That thing that I have suspected was a likely inevitability for the last 2 or 3 years. The thing about which I have mocked my best friend from high school for the last few years. I refer to, of course, the wall of shame.
A wall of shame, by definition (probably in Wikipedia) is a shrine located in the parental homestead, dedicated to the marital prowess of every child that crawled forth from the homemaker's womb. All the children, that is, save ONE. So, the wall of shame then pertains to the one celibate sibling remaining--his or her wall of shame.
Now, the intensity of the shame associated with this most dreaded wall is dependent upon a few different variables. The first and foremost being, the unwed child's age status in relation to the rest of the siblings. If, for instance, the youngest child is the owner of the wall of shame, said wall would be infinitely less shameful. For a time. However, as one's birthing rank increases, so does the level of shame exponentially and consequentially increase.
My friend, for example, is number 3 of 4. Having only one married younger sibling somewhat lessens his level of shame. Except for the fact that his younger brother has been married about 3 years. Which brings me to the next variable--time length.
One's shame is increased in conjunction with the longevity of said wall's existence. I am certain there is a measurable amount of shame (probably a metric equation) that is accrued with each year. In his case, it would be 3. Pretty damned shameful.
Also, some amount of shame may be accrued depending upon the number of years that one has remained single, as compared with the married siblings. For example, I have another friend with 4 married sisters. She happens to be the youngest, which greatly reduces her level of shame off the bat. However, every single sibling was married by 20. She, being nearly 24, has added a heaping shit load of shame to her wall.
Unfortunately, I have pretty much every variable to consider with my own wall of shame.
I was talking to my sister last week, who informed me that my baby brother was engaged. I had talked to him at Christmas, and he had informed me that were things to continue progressing in a similar manner, said engagement would most likely occur. So I was sort of expecting this.
I am the oldest. STRIKE ONE. Major shame associated with my wall from that variable alone. My next sister down has been married for about 3 years, my baby sister for almost a year. 3-4 liters of shame, at the very least. And me, being nearly 28, will be likely be single anywhere from 6 to 10 years longer than my siblings. Hectoliters of shame to be sure.
In fact, in relation to the rest of the extended family at large, the only cousins who remain unmarried are a 19 year old missionary, and a 17 year old female. God help me if she pulls a similar feat as my baby sister. The shame would be too much.
It was a weird feeling when I found out my brother was engaged. At first, I laughed. Because I didn't really know what else to do. Because my life equation is so very different than his. Because to me, he is still just a little guy, barely home from a mission. Yet he is taking such a huge step in the direction of "adulthood," one which I for whatever reason have yet to take. I can't imagine having been married for the last 6 years. I don't think I was ready.
After laughing in incredulity, it really sank in. I AM the last. I really really am. At that point, I felt very melancholy. Which I wasn't expecting. Although I had spent some time dreading this particular occurrence, I really thought that I, for the most part, didn't care. Wouldn't care. But I cared. I really did. For the first time, I felt left out. Like I had failed. Like I would no longer fit. Like this would put me on such a different wavelength than the rest of my siblings, that things would no longer be the same.
At that point, I needed a McRib. And a cheeseburger. God knows, NOBODY EVER needs a McRib and a cheeseburger. And 2 gallons of Dryer's Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint ice cream. I drove to the nearest McDonald's (at midnightish) and sat in the drive through for a minute. I thought about the ground up patty of mystery meat, pressed into the shape of a riblit, slathered in bbq sauce. And then thought, "What the hell am I even doing? I don't want that thing even a little bit." Shoving that filthy thing down my gullet was as bad an idea as I had recently entertained. So, I aborted mission and went for the Dryer's thin mint instead.
Let me clarify something; I am NOT some marriage hungry fiend, wallowing in sorrow from failure after dating failure. I really am OKAY with being single at this age. It will happen for me when it happens. I'm not in a hurry. However, on a different (albeit somewhat related) level, I'm still a little bummed about being the last. About my most thoroughly shameful, wall of shame. I'm just bummed about the dynamic change, and all of the familial wondering about just WHEN I'll get married. It gets old.
Now, after a week, I am okay with it again. My life time frame is just different than that of my siblings and most of my cousins. And I'm okay with that. There is not ONE damn thing wrong with being 27.6 and unmarried. Not a thing.
As long as my seminal vesicles don't dry up, who cares if I'm in my 30ies before I trick some girl into marriage?