An Excerpt From Save The Date: The Occasional Mortifications Of A Serial Wedding Guest

He showed up at my door wearing jeans. They were black, but they were definitely denim. Oh, dear. He looked so proud of himself, like, weren’t black jeans pretty much exactly the same thing as a suit? Jeans could be wedding-appropriate, come on! Well, no, not exactly. But if I said they couldn’t be, not for this wedding and probably not for most, I feared he’d only get angry and start railing on the bourgeois perceptions and expectations of my nouveau riche friends. He had on a jacket, at least, and a pressed button-down shirt. He’d shaved. He looked stressed, not angry yet, but on edge and ready to rage at being found fault with over something that he hadn’t cared about doing in the first place. This was my deal, not his.

“You look great!” I said.

“Are you sure?” he asked, his eyebrows relaxing slightly. “Jeans are okay? They’re black jeans, so they’re practically black pants. I couldn’t find a decent suit. I tried and I couldn’t. The suits were all shitty. And expensive. I’m not going to buy a suit. Why would I buy a suit I’m not ever going to wear again?” He was very nearly talking himself into being pissed off again, and I hadn’t said a word.

Christoph and I hadn’t been dating long. I wasn’t even referring to him as my boyfriend. But the truth was, I wanted a date — a boyfriend — at this wedding, not least because it seemed as though all of my friends were partnered up, married, or on their way to being so. It was exhausting going to weddings with so many solidly formed twosomes, even if the members of those couples were my friends. There are aspects of being a couple that no one else should be included in, and aspects that no one else wants to be included in. Still, that can make a single person feel a touch lonely, a little bit rootless and reckless, particularly at a wedding. When it’s time for everyone to get up and dance, or at the end of the night, to go home, and when everyone but you has someone to do that with, well, it can feel less than fabulous, regardless of how independent-minded and self-actualized a person might be. Sometimes at a wedding you just want a teammate to fall back on, when conversation lulls, when you need a refill, when it’s time for photographs. I wasn’t on any sort of fast marriage track, obviously—I was thirty-three; if I’d wanted a husband more than anything else, I figured, I’d probably have one by now—but I didn’t want to be the third wheel yet again, and I didn’t want to be that single girl longingly waiting for her wedding setup, either.

I had on a Diane von Furstenberg dress. The lower half of it was a slim navy pencil skirt, which led to a navy waist that tapered in and extended to midtorso. Above that, the top was an ivory bustier dotted with colorful flowers, held up by navy straps. With his jeans, I hoped, we’d look rock ’n’ roll as opposed to mismatched or inappropriate. It was a Lower East Side wedding after all, and we’d be surrounded by friends I’d had for a long, long time. These were people who, fingers crossed, would still love me even if I brought a date who did not meet the dress code to their wedding.

Excerpted from Save The Date, available for sale today! Reprinted with permission from Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.