I was dancing on a bar with my sister and her friends when I leaned down to speak to a St. Maarten local. “How do you say ‘bachelorette party’ in French?” I yelled. The DJ was blasting dance beats and the bartenders were doing body shots with customers. Waves crashed in the darkness behind us. The tall, Caribbean man turned to me, the whites of his eyes ominous in the moonlight.“L’enterrement de vie de jeune fille,” he said. I shuddered.
Funeral of the Life of the Young Maiden.
I immediately sobered up. We’d been drinking Bahama Mamas from penis straws, dancing on tables and somewhere in this bar, one of us was wearing a giant inflatable johnson and inviting fellow bar mates to play a ring toss game.
I began screaming: “Ça c’est l’enterrement de vie de jeune fille de ma soeur!” You’d think someone needed CPR or I was reenacting the Normandy invasion. I was screaming as one should scream when there’s been a death. (And I’m not talking about le petit mort.)
May and the bachelorette friends laughed because they didn’t understand me. The French-speakers laughed because my grammar was so bad and my accent worse. I had gone to that deep, dark, existential place one can only go when one is married with children and full of blue coconut booze.
I was screaming for my own maidenhood. Where did you go, Young Me?
I texted my best friend three time zones away. “Dude. What did we do for MY bachelorette? My brain is mush.”
I needed to know if we had formally laid my maidenhood to rest. It seemed, at the time, of utmost importance: to grant my youth a proper burial.
Turns out Lisa had thrown me a sit-down bridal shower brunch at a trendy hotel. (The Viceroy! Now I remember! Screw you early-onset Alzheimers!) The only Chippendales involved were the velvet tufted ones we sat on as we sipped earl gray and nibbled scones. Attendees brought their old journals and we read entries from our maidenhood days aloud. No strippers, no table-dancing, no humiliations beyond the semi-public recitation of overly-written essays of love and longing.
Mother nature took my maidenhood on her own, peacefully, without much ado. I didn’t even realize it was happening. It was a slow, quiet enterrement.
Yet here I was 8 years later, standing on a bar with my sister and her friends, warm Caribbean breeze on my cheeks, wearing a monokini from Target that I call a “momokini” because it covers my belly button, herniated after 2 pregnancies. What’s different between Maiden Me and Modern Me? I have love and family in my life. I am pursuing all of my passions. I don’t make the same mistakes I used to make. I take care of myself.
If maidenhood means freedom, I have never felt more free than I feel right now.
Hey, Ominous Eyes: THE MAIDEN WILL NEVER DIE! She just becomes further embedded into who we are. Another layer. Another ring. Another wrinkle, another story. Building and building until we become the ultimate fabulousness we shall all be— dancing the Macarena in the senior facility, twirling someone else’s bra over our head for reasons we cannot remember…