Companion Piece

weddinginvite.jpg I am at That Age. The age when once every couple of weeks, you check your post mail and instead of a bill (yes, I still use the United States Postal Service to pay my bills) or the 1,000th solicitation from Doctors Without Borders you've received that week, you have a real letter. Or, at least what looks like a letter - it's got a handwritten, maybe even calligraphied address and a return label with the name of your friend or... wait... the name of the parents of your friend...

I am at The Wedding Invitation Age.

Full disclosure, I'm actually a little behind the times. I'm among that "Creative Class" where people are either too poor, too career-focused, too gay, or too anti-establishment to marry in the "typical" mid-20s. But, at 30, I have finally arrived.

I can't honestly say I enjoy weddings. Maybe it's that I don't like being around drunk people. Maybe it's that I work for a divorce attorney as my day job and regularly watch couples begin their spearation proceedings mere months after their weddings. Maybe it's that some of my best friends aren't federally allowed to participate in this ritual, or maybe it's that dreaded experience that starts when I open the invitation envelope... grimacing in anticipation of what's inside:

Will it say "Lynne Rosenberg" or the awful, frustrating, humiliating, "Lynne Rosenberg and Guest"?

I hate that Plus One, because in my world it is a reminder in perfect Palmer method script of my romantic solitude; a numeric imperative command to start flipping through my Rolodex of gay men.

Daniel.... hates awkward conversation with strangers.
Wil... always busy.
Seth... always out of town.
Michael... doesn't answer his phone...

reception_table_.jpg I usually come up empty.

The last wedding I attended the bride and groom very sweetly put me at a table with "the other folks my age," which meant 3 couples in varying states of engagement and marriage, and me with an empty seat next to me. An open plate. A void between me and the rest of the guests. I was companion-less in the truest sense: as a self-declared Word Nerd I was delighted to learn years ago that "Companion" derives from a Latinate root for "one with whom you share your bread."

This was illustrated beautifully a few weekends ago when I took myself out to brunch, alone, with a stack of books and a chip on my shoulder. When the server came to take my beverage order, she pointed to the empty seat across from me and asked, "Not here yet? In the bathroom?"

"Doesn't exist," I responded in far too bitter, far too typically dry fashion.

To state the obvious, I hate being without Companion. Sharing food, breaking bread, I think is one of life's greatest gifts. There is almost nothing more appealing to me than the idea of eating a fantastic meal followed by fantastic sex. Or vice versa. Put it all by the ocean and, voila, perfection.

textmessage.jpgI think it's no conicidence, given this definition of companionship, that food and sex are so intimately connected for me. I remember years ago being out for the night with tentative plans to meet the man I was sleeping with at the time (to call him the man I was "seeing" would be to grossly overstate the nature of our relationship) awaiting a text either stating he was on his way, or – the response with far more established precedence – we would not be getting together and I would be going home alone. The moment I received the latter, I noticed my thoughts immediately shift to the left over pizza awaiting me in my refrigerator. The flow chart in my head was so clear: Sex?-->NO-->Food.

I won't claim it's healthy, but it's prevalent. That connection between food and intimate connection is inseparable, at least in my reality, so it's those Plus One invite cards that really drive it home. After all, what is a wedding other than one big sharing of bread to celebrate love?

Perhaps my dating profile should simply state: seeking companion. Bread not included.