Navigating Loneliness/Career Path/Endless Bridal Showers as Twentysomething Women: Girls in White Dresses

After college graduation in 1993, I was a nanny for a summer in the Hamptons.  It was my first time away from home, as I went to college in the small town in Upstate New York where I grew up.   I remember feeling lost after graduation, missing my group of friends, who lived all over New York State and wondered what was to become of me.   I didn’t have much in common with the woman I worked for, but I vividly remember her talking about the day of college graduation at Boston College.  “I walked around the Reservoir feeling depressed and wondering what was next.”  I ended up in Boston and always think of her when I drive past the Reservoir in Chestnut Hill.  It was a small nugget of information but it validated how I was feeling.  And I felt that way for a long time.

I wish I had Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close to read in my twenties, but it was fun to read and look back with fondness and sadness at the struggles my friends and I faced, which as I write this sound very Gen X-whiny, but they were real at the time:  working at bad jobs because we didn’t know what else to do, dating bad boyfriends or talking about our friends’ bad boyfriends, hanging out in our apartments (or parks in the case of this book), for hours on end with nothing to do but brood and feel lonely as the only single girl at the time with a bad job (or so it seemed), going to a ski house/beach house with a group of random people and feeling out of place and of course, dating guys we weren’t even sure we were interested in or were mildly repulsive so we wouldn’t be alone, and of course, attending bridal shower after bridal shower.

My favorite chapter in the book was about one character’s endless bridal showers: and her sullen bridesmaids having to travel to, dress up for and paste a smiles on their face and feign enthusiasm for the work shower, the mom’s shower, the mother in law’s shower, the mom’s bridge club’s shower.

I’m sending this book to all of the single girlfriends I have that are still in their twenties and recommending it to my once single girlfriends who were with me for the ride.  Which I sort of miss right now as I turn 40.

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