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The Marriage Divide

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Monica Hesse is a Washington Post staff writer. (Photo by Adam Cuthbert)
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Neither of my deliveries felt completely honest, probably because I still wasn't sure how I felt about it. I was like the answer to a riddle.

Q: Who is both too old and too young to be married?

A: Someone who doesn't know where her home is.

As melodramatic as it sounds, all of this kind of felt like admitting some sort of geographical allegiance: East Coast friends? Fooled you! It might seem like I belong out here, but in private I'm talking like a "Fargo" extra and making a wide variety of Campbell's soup casseroles.

In the end it didn't matter. You can't choose the age you are when you meet the person you want to spend your life with; my husband and I ended up getting married last September. My Midwestern friends waited until after the ceremony to ask when we'd be having kids, and my East Coast friends danced until 3, carried all the good booze back to their rooms for a continued after-party, then fell asleep in their clothes.

But it turns out that getting married still left me in a state of between-ness. While I was busy planning a wedding, some of my friends in Illinois had been busy having kids. I would log on to Facebook and see status updates that read something like: "is making cupcakes for her son's preschool class. No peanuts!" From the friends of the East, it was more like: "is thinking cupcakes and tequila are a good 4 a.m. snack." No one seemed to be doing what I was doing: "is going to Ikea, then watching three 'Wire' DVDs in a row, then considering the big step of getting a plant."

In the past few months, though, I've been feeling better about my placement. It's nice to have friends who can offer advice in matters marital and domestic, even if that friend is my new sister-in-law, who married my brother at 23 and already owns way more cutting boards than I do.

Recently, one of my most vehemently single friends phoned to tell me that she'd met someone. The romantic pearls of semi-wisdom that I'd saved up during the three years that I was dating my husband and she was occasionally hooking up with a yoga instructor were suddenly, actually, useful.

I'm still the first married friend. And the last married friend. My own time zone on the IWDL.

Which now feels:

a) Weird.

b) Kinda neat.

E-mail: xxfiles@washpost.com.


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