Friday, July 22, 2005

If you're feeling sad and lonely, or, Unhappy hour

The other night, I was on the verge of a meltdown at work. It had been a long day, an intern was driving me crazy with his sheer stupidity, and so when a partner stopped by and said that "we" were going for drinks, I couldn't have been happier. Not only did I get to leave (since a command from a partner to go to a bar is still a command from a partner that must be obeyed, right) but someone else was going to pay for the alcohol I would doubtless be imbibing that night. Perfect! The only problem was that the partner in question was the Partner Who Hits on Me (hereinafter "PWHM"), none of the other summers wanted to go, and the other partner whose company was requested promised with a glint in his eye that he'd meet us at the bar. (Sure enough, he did not show.) I had already committed to going, pretty much as a reflex, when I found out it was just us. It was definitely too late to suddenly remember a prior commitment, so I just steeled myself and went for it.

The first thing that PWHM decided to do was notify me that he had just been dumped by his girlfriend. "I didn't even know you had a girlfriend," I said sympathetically.

"No, I guess I don't usually talk about my personal life," he sighed. (Wrong: you do. You just never mentioned her to me. And how else would I have known, considering you are constantly putting me in potentially compromising positions?) "She's a really great person. She just has a lot of trouble getting close to people." (I'd have a lot of trouble getting close to you, too.)

At this point we ordered drinks. I've bragged about liking scotch before so I knew that I had to put my money where my mouth is and order it. I also knew that I couldn't gulp it but would have to sip it appreciatively, with the air of a connoisseur rather than a high school freshman who just found the key to the liquor cabinet. I got a little nervous at that point because I remembered that I had skipped lunch due to a time-pressured assignment.

I sincerely hoped that we could discuss subjects interesting to me (read: safe), such as: how did you decide that you wanted to practice our highly specialized area of law? What made you attend Law School X? Have you seen any good movies lately? What do you think about that whole Tom Cruise thing? But no. He wanted to talk about his love life, and since that was apparently nonexistent, he wanted to talk about mine.

One thing I have never understood is why older guys at law firms make me talk about my boyfriend in detail. If they are trying to kick it to me, capitalizing on my joblessness and obvious desperation to get my career started on a positive note, why hear about how happy I am in my relationship? But I was starting to feel the scotch, and I decided my boyfriend was a relatively safe topic because, in theory at least, it notified him that I was not going home with him. My babbling about how great my boyfriend is, however, led him to my Least Favorite Topic: why I am not married yet. The better question here was definitely why he is not married yet, considering he's got at least 20 years on me. But somehow, in the past six months, all anybody I meet wants to know about me is why I'm not married. I have to say that this is a fundamentally unfair question to be asking a girl, considering it's not really up to me, but even if it were, there are plenty of good reasons why I am not married yet and at my age, I really don't see why I have to explain them to anybody.

Then it hit me. He just wanted me to confide my probable discomfort with my unmarried status to him so that he could feel slightly better about being middle aged and unable to sustain a relationship, despite being rich, not bad looking, and very well dressed. I mean, all girls must be terrified of reaching 25 and not being married, right? Ha. I considered giving him the satisfaction and decided against it. Instead, I smiled and told him that I'm just too young and there's no reason to rush anything.

Then he said the saddest thing to me. "But if it works, and you're happy, take it from me: you should just get married and get it over with, because that doesn't happen very often."

Wow. I thought my existence was kind of miserable, but this drunken, misguided advice set me straight. Yeah, my job situation sucks. I don't have one for after law school, I have more debt than I care to discuss (or think about), no one takes me seriously as a professional ("you like law? that's so cute!"), but at least I can say that I don't feel compelled to rush into marriage just because I'm in a relationship that doesn't make me want to kill myself. I thought that was pretty standard, but I guess I'm luckier than I thought.


Blogger Shaytg said...

Hi Hi ... Its great to be away and still be able to get updates on your life even though Im not sitting next to you for 8 hours a day, although be back soon. How come the free alcohol only flows when Im not around??? See you soon.

- Fellow intern ... Lets call me "S"

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