Wednesday, April 21, 2010

becoming a lawyer's wife, year two.

(read last year’s thoughts here.)

My college education omitted so many important life skills that I sometimes find it hard to believe I actually have a diploma.

Mingling is one of those skills.

Last night, as Jordan and I awkwardly shuffled from one group of pompous law students to another,* I realized that nearly three years into adulthood, and I am still a terrible mingler and terrible talker of all things small.

This does not bode well for a future lawyer’s wife.

In fact, I think there should be a support group: Future Lawyer’s Wives of America.

And then, as we get older and our husbands pass the dreaded bar exam, we could be called: Lawyer’s Wives Who Don’t Want to Be Lawyer’s Wives But Who Are Proud of and Love Their Husbands in Whatever They Do.


The truth is, this year’s banquet went no smoother than the last.

In fact, my best efforts to be the gracious wife were thwarted. For example:

- When we arrived early,** I tried to teach Jordan the art of the important phone call. We were two of only about 10 in the massive ballroom, and we were the only two not lining up at the bar. Solution? A fake phone call, of course. So I pull Jordan outside, whip out my cell phone… and it begins to rain. Two familiar faces walk up behind us, demanding to know why we’re outside standing in the rain. Moment of grace and beauty thwarted.

- Do not be deceived: Jordan is no loser. He has several friends at school, some of whom I know, and a few of whom were at last night’s event. Yet every conversation we entered ended with a, “Oh, excuse me, I think I need to go mingle.” I'm sorry, but in the middle of a conversation you have to go mingle? It wasn't long before I discovered: "I need to go mingle" is just code for "I’m going to go suck up to the dean of the law school before he dismisses me and forgets my name." Despite our semi-best mingling efforts, Jordan and I were left standing alone on more than one occasion. Moment of grace and beauty thwarted.

- In an event where approximately 100 were in attendance, Jordan and I were two of three, maybe four, non-drinkers. Now, the old me would have dreaded the awkwardness of explaining to people why I don’t need to get in line at the bar. However, at a business function last year, I discovered that one of the classiest PR professionals I know is a non-drinker. I never would have known. Instead of flaunting her non-drinking ways, she always goes up to the bar and orders a Sprite or ginger ale. Genius! I tell Jordan before we leave the house, and he agrees it’s a grand idea, since the first 30 minutes of the banquet are spent waiting in line at the bar. We get in line like everyone else — a first! — and order two Sprites. “Sorry,” the bartender looked on us with pity. “We only have alcohol here. But you can go get water over there,” she said, as she pointed down the hall to a decanter full of water, melted ice, and one lone lemon slice. Moment of grace and beauty thwarted.

- As the hour of mingling (one hour! solely for mingling! at dinner time!) came to a close, Jordan and I were greeted by one of his former moot court coaches. Finally! We introduced ourselves and proceeded to have a successful session of small talk, when the coach suddenly interrupted, as if he'd just remembered something. "Ah, yes, Jordan here tried to convert me last year!” The coach’s wife looked incredulous. “Tried to convert you to what?” Apparently, she’s a devout Jew. Very devout. You know, I hear that during small talk, you’re not supposed to bring up religion or politics. I’m pretty sure there’s a reason for that. Moment of grace and beauty thwarted.

- Last year, our table of choice wound up being an absolute nightmare. This year, I figured we’d sit with some of Jordan’s friends. But thanks to our religious detour, we were late getting in line for dinner, and took our seats at a table in the back. By ourselves. Moment of grace and beauty thwarted.

- As we sat down to dinner, I assumed we’d be able to have some water or sweet tea to drink with our meal. Silly, silly me. Only alcohol here! If we wanted water, we had to walk across the room and refill our plastic, bathroom-sized water cups out of the decanter. Jordan and I had to do the walk of shame three separate times to refill our glasses. Moment of grace and beauty thwarted.

So there you have it. Soon, Jordan will formally join this world, and I’m not sure we’re ready. You know what, though? I think it's okay. Okay to be a little different, a little spastic, and a little clueless. Hey, at least we're genuine!

(And, bonus points for the fact that we don't have to do this again next year. And that even if we did, we'd just laugh through the whole thing, come home, put on our pajamas, and watch "Glee.")

*do you think my attitude negatively affects my mingling abilities?

**my husband never, and I mean never, gets anywhere early. He will admit to you that he has no concept of time. And yet, perhaps because he hates these things as much as I do, he was determined to get there right. on. time. I’d like to point out that we don’t even make that kind of effort for church.


mom said...

Dear Daugher
There are some who would argue that moments of grace and beauty are born in thwarted situations such as you just endured. Aren't you so glad to have a hubby you can laugh through thwarted moments of possible grace and beauty and most importantly remain graceful and beautiful to him?? (and your parents). I must add that after years in the legal field and many many social events, I have never heard of serving nothing but alcohol!!! If anyone failed at grace and beauty it was the hosts/caterers for this event. I hope you came home and poured yourself a cold one (coke)and laughed it off!! xxoo

mom said...

p.s. This photo is fabulous and I want a copy!!! Beautiful couple :)

Anonymous said...

WOW - love, love the picture - so great of both of you - love the dress, btw and your door stoop is lovely! Now, I totally agree with your mom on the "only alcohol" issue - how socially tacky to be so presumptuous to assume that EVERYONE would want an alcoholic drink! Also agree that whoever planned said event lacked taste and social etiquette to not offer something else - water at the very least; might we assume here that maybe by this point and such an event, they felt everyone NEEDED a drink?! LOL You two are precious! M

katie said...

This is why I drreeeaadd office parties and after hours events. I can't tell you how many times someone offers me alcohol over and over and over again. Then I have to explain and yada yada yada... so not fun.

Elizabeth's Awesome Public History Blog said...

And I thought history graduate student parties were bad....

I've never been to a work party that didn't serve things beside alcohol and here's why: mixers. Drinks like Seven and Seven are made with tonic, club soda, sprite, coke (rum and coke anyone?), and a variety of juices. So were they serving straight shots or was it wine and beer only? I think you got played by some bartender to lazy to open a soda bottle.

That line about only serving alcohol sounds so off and next time ask if they have rum and cokes. When they say yes, ask for a rum and coke, hold the rum. If they say no... well, I can't do anything about that.
Elizabeth W.

Glamourshoes said...

The moment of grace and beauty comes when you realize that living your life authentically is all that really matters. I am not your typical doctor's wife (I learned to weld at 40!)and my husband doesn't enjoy mingling with his colleagues when he finally has time off. We treat the few events we are required to attend like a date night. We get dressed up, eat free food and prefer to sit by ourselves, where we only have to talk to each other and he can fill me in on all the office gossip without being overheard! It's really all in how you decide to look at things. Eventually, you will find the other non-drinking rogue "Glee" watchers to mingle with, but in the meantime, it is REALLY no one's business why you don't want a cocktail!