I hate showers.
Wedding showers & baby showers (Are there other kinds?).
There is a voice in my head that tells me I should like them, or at least tolerate them with a positive attitude but every time I find out another one of my friends is having a celebratory baby/wedding shower, I cringe internally.
I am a single 32-year-old woman. I am living on a single income, and I work in the education industry. I’m paying on various debts (student loans, car payments, etc.) in addition to all the normal fees associated with having my own place. I can’t afford to buy a home, so I rent. Every penny I earn is accounted for and given a home in my budget. Basically, things are tight. I don’t think my friends truly understand this.
At this point, all my closest friends are married, and many have children of their own. They appear to get so amped for someone else to join the “parent” club. Not only are they buying little outfits for the baby showers, but also sporadically gifting these things throughout the year unprompted.
Why don’t I share this desire? Am I missing a crucial piece of empathy? Why don’t I care?
I guess a part of me feels like it is an exploitive practice for those of us who don’t make tons of money but are friends with individuals who get to follow the traditional marriage, baby, white picket fence path. I feel the societal pressure to show up, smile, and pay-up. It is expected of me. If I chose to show up empty-handed, I doubt anyone would say anything about it to me, but the expectation is there.
I guess it’s hard to wrap my mind around laying gifts at the feet of individuals whose income swamps mine completely. I go to these things and feel like a peasant paying taxes to the wealthy lords. "Here m ’lady, I lay before thou ye finest diapers and teething toys."
In the south, and I guess in more in more places now, lingerie parties/showers were a big-deal. A bride-to-be would dispense her measurement for guests to bring her risqué scraps of cloth to wear for the honeymoon. In a way, that is a clever idea; Those fancy panties are expensive. It still feels weird purchasing a strappy black body-suit for someone all the while wondering if I’ll ever get to wear something like that for someone else. Is this the only time I’ll be buying this sort of thing? Sexy little outfits for everyone but me.
I recognize I probably sound bitter and selfish. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong for me to feel this way, it’s just the truth about how I feel. For years, I’ve used the argument that I need to show up for my friends in this way because someday I’ll be in their shoes. But the older I get (and the more jaded I am from failed dating attempts, and relationship failings) the more I’m questioning whether I will actually ever be in their shoes.
There is this quiet longing and jealousy that lives in my heart when I see their lives continue on this ever-evolving path. They’re wives and mothers. I’m still the same as I was upon graduating college nearly 10 years ago. I want to fall in love too. I want to be a mother. But wanting something doesn’t give the thing life. There is only so much I can control about the path my life takes.
So, I hate showers. I hate spending money to continue feeling left behind.