Before The Wedding

I climb three flights of moving escalator stairs to the top floor of Falabella, a well-known department store in Colombia. I’ve never been to this level before. Usually I enter on the ground floor, peeking around the ladies department before exiting to more familiar territory.

But I’m not here to shop for myself. I’ve come to buy a wedding present.

On the third floor, I’m directed down a long, gray hall equipped with special service desks. There’s the desk to pay your bills, the travel desk, the insurance desk, and the wedding desk. I stop in front of the latter and sit down in front of two perky shop assistants.

I smile back at them and offer up the names of the bride and groom. One of them starts clacking away at her keyboard, the glow of her computer screen reflecting off her hot pink lipstick.

Underneath the glass surface of her desk, the cover of a wedding album stares back at me. The shot is taken from above, showcasing the perfectly polished and gorgeous Paisa bride and her groom, another perfectly polished specimen. Her blonde hair is set in perfect ringlets, her French manicured nails clasped around her new husband’s hand.

Falabella propaganda

On top of the desk are two stacks of flyers. One features a wistful looking bride in white gloves and matching white veil, the words above her head stating, “One more motivation to get married. Choose your list of gifts in Falabella.” The next pictures a smiling baby, advertising baby shower list services.

What else could a young woman need?

The clerk stops typing and prints out a list of available presents the couple has chosen. I circle a knife set and some other piece of kitchenware. She floats off to check the store’s inventory and leaves me to my thoughts.

While I wait, I imagine my good friend and his bride-to-be sitting in these chairs scanning catalogs, or walking around the store picking out cutlery and rice cookers and washer/dryer combinations. I picture their excited faces, their giddiness, not because appliance shopping is so thrilling, but because it must all feel so grown up.

I try to envision myself in the hot seat, choosing my own list of household goods. My mind rejects the thought. I glance at the flyers again. The baby stares back at me. A slight shudder washes through my insides.

It’s not that I am anti marriage or babies. I’m not. Anyone who is living the life of their dreams, whether it be traipsing around faraway places or raising babies with their high school sweetheart in their hometown, rock on.

I just don’t see it for myself. While it’s long been evident that the life I lead now and in the future will always be far from ordinary, for the better part of my adult years I had wished that someday I would have a nomadic partner and kids of my own.

It’s only recently that the fantasy has begun to fade. It’s been replaced with visions of myself running a successful internet-based empire, expat-ing in some of the world’s most cosmopolitan hubs, going to uber-cool events with an uber-cool group of international friends, acting with complete freedom and confidence at every turn.

When I see the future me, the me of my fantasies, I’m not wearing a ring. There’s no man’s hand attached to mine. No picking out toasters for my bridal registry. And yet I am satisfied.

At this point, my dear, caring readers, whom have offered me lots of support and advice over the years, like when I broke up with my boyfriend almost a year ago, may have the urge to write in the comment box: “Don’t give up! You might change your mind!” or “You’re just saying that because you haven’t found Mr. Right yet. Don’t worry, he’s out there waiting for you!”

And I’d say to you that you might be right. It’s possible that in a month’s time I’ll be caught eloping in some drive-through wedding chapel in Vegas. I’ve been known to change my mind.

But if you’re not right, if there really is no Mr. Right but a few Mr. Pretty-Cools-But-Not-For-Forever, I’m still going to feel satisfied with my life.

I am so happy for my friend, marrying the woman he loves, following what his heart says is right.

And I’m so happy it’s not me.

  • zach t
    April 19, 2012

    hi jasmine, 

    I found your website via the vagabonding profile.  I immediately subscribed simply because i thought your picture of u holding the koala was really cute and i was really attracted to you.  That is something i would never have to courage to say in real life but behind a computer in nowhere Australia, i can say anything, haha.  

    I have to admit i admire your “self reliance” and desire to chase your passions and dreams.  Many girls i meet are somewhat boring to me meaning they don’t have any dreams or passions and simply find most of their fulfillment in husband.  There is nothing wrong with that but i feel that having a loved one is A source of happiness, not THE source of happiness.  Therefore, i think most people, if not all, yourself included, want to have someone to share the so called ride of life with.  I know i do, but that right someone is hard to find and i am not going to change who i am or what i love doing to force a relationship.  And dont you want kids?  i can’t imagine anything more incredible.  My other point is that no matter what you chase in life- travel, your own island, money, sport, drugs…etc – their is a void in every human that cannot be fulfilled.  Anyone who claims to have it all together and perfectly happy, is normally full of it.  

    btw- i am of your similar demographic- 26,single, havent really dated much, american, moved to az from east coast after uni for 3 years, now in western australia, but would like to know more about your spiritualism? i am a christian which may explain my void statement.

    feel free to email me if you make it to WA.  i will take you on a date…

  • Jasmine Stephenson
    April 19, 2012

    Hi Zach,

    Thank you for stopping by :)

    I agree with your point that most of us have a spiritual void, and very few are able to transcend it. However, I don’t think that getting married or having babies will fill my personal void (not that I think you were trying to say that, I’m just saying…)

    I will take you up on your offer if ever I’m in Aus again :)

  • Jeremy Branham
    April 23, 2012

    Fall in love with yourself and be who you are.  You don’t want to ever go looking for the right man but you want to be every bit the person you are supposed to be to attract him.  It’s often said that when you aren’t looking is when you find someone.  However, I think that is a reflection of where your focus is.  When you aren’t consumed with finding someone because you want one but are content with who you are, then that is when the right time comes.

    With that said, you may never find that guy.  However, the dreams of being a nomadic couple with kids is possible.  I’m not going to tell you that you will change your mind or it will happen.  Just know who you are and what you want in life and make sure that anyone that comes along for the ride will be a partner in your vision for life.

  • Jasmine Stephenson
    April 23, 2012

    Great advice Jeremy :)

  • Ryan McCoy
    May 7, 2012

    It is very refreshing to hear an angle on marriage (male or female) that isn’t either 1. Marriage rules, I can’t wait to do it. And so will you eventually. or 2. Love is a sham, lets BURN DOWN Hallmark. 

  • Philip Johnson
    May 25, 2012

    Great, great concluding lines. And I totally know what you mean; I think I might be OK never owning the toaster of my dreams.

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