Why I’m Throwing A ‘Single’s Shower’

Rebel Wilson

by Sophie Goddard |
Published on

Writer Sophie Goddard, 31, isn’t about to announce an engagement, new arrival or foot on the property ladder. So she’s proposing an alternative celebration of her own...

Sitting in the back of a Porsche 911 is nowhere near as glamorous as it sounds. I’m en route to a friend’s wedding, squashed between a three-piece suit hanging from the roof and three heavy holdalls, clinging on to the ceiling bar like I’m on some kind of middle-class safari. It’s as we’re screeching down yet another winding country lane that the couple up front (friends of the bride who’d offered me a lift) ask why I wasn’t at the hen party.

‘Family engagement,’ I mutter, turning redder than the stop sign we’d just sped through. The truth? I couldn’t afford it. Hence cramming myself into the Lotus position for three hours to get to the bloody nuptials. You see, this was my fifth wedding of the summer, and I’d already maxed out my overdraft and credit cards. I’d even considered not going at all (as a single guest, the idea of splashing out on a hotel room, travel, gift and new outfit with nobody to share costs made me baulk), but the happy (read: insistent) couple sweetly arranged my lift, and a pre-paid hotel room. So that was that – I was going. Except the part I was inwardly sighing about – besides knowing none of the other guests – was that I actually had a boyfriend at the time. Unfortunately, the stringent ‘no-ring, no-bring’ policy (if you’re not engaged, it doesn’t count) meant my invite was strictly a one-person affair. Gah.

On average, being a wedding guest costs a wince-inducing £377 (with women paying around £51 more than men). It’s no surprise, either, that London – my beloved-but-heinously-overpriced hometown – is now the most expensive city in Europe for hens and weddings. Even if you forgo the frills (eg, new out t), weddings still dent your bank account in unexpected ways. Like last year, when I forked out on flights to Italy to watch two friends tie the knot, before being asked to hand over, ‘A donation towards our first property together.’ I ate pasta in a can for three weeks to get here and you want me to buy you a house?

This is why I’m proposing we singles have a little ‘Save the date’ action of our own – a Sophie shower, in my case. Now I’m in my thirties, what started as a gentle trickle of invites has reached an almighty downpour. From hen parties to weddings, and even anniversary celebrations (yup, that’s how far ahead of me my peers are), it feels incessant. This year, I’ve got six weddings (so six hens, too), two ‘We’re on the property ladder!’ housewarmings and a baby shower. And it’s only February.

It’s not just the money. Hopping from engagement party to baby shower every other weekend can – naturally – leave us singletons pondering our own lack of boxes ticked. In 2016, milestones like these all still cruelly tend to go hand-in-hand: meeting The One, buying a place (sadly, usually only feasible with a partner in London), getting engaged/married, then popping out a sprog or two... Meaning that in the case of single pringles like me, it can feel like we haven’t left the starting block at all. Sitting with a gaggle of women guessing which photograph belongs to their fiancé’s willy, or the weight of their impending arrival (6lbs? 16lbs? I stopped caring after my third Aperol spritz...) can feel pretty bleak.

Granted, it might sound self-indulgent and a bit ‘poor me’ to throw myself a party, but doesn’t it make sense to give those of us who aren’t quite as far along in life – in ‘traditional’ terms anyway – a pat on the back too? If anything, aren’t we the ones who need it most? When I recently asked a married friend what she thought of baby showers (‘They’re so commercial and grabby,’ I’d complained), she hit the nail on the head. ‘Sophie, I think baby showers or huge 30th birthday celebrations... any of it, really – are just a helpful way of processing change,’ she’d said thoughtfully (she’s a psychology teacher – go figure). ‘These are all such huge milestones to get our heads around, and because life is about to change so massively, it’s reassuring to have the support of your peers.’

But in 2016, should it really be the case that the majority of changes deemed worth celebrating with a bang require an other half – like marriage, babies, or moving in together? Surely celebrating those smaller solo achievements – a promotion! Running that 5k! Nailing that Nicki Minaj verse at karaoke! – is just as important. So, who’s free next Saturday? Bring booze, balloons and as many plus-ones as you want.

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