A group of pals gathering to watch their friend’s short film. It’s bad, as short films often are, but it’s still nice to be together.
Sharing your dream-wedding vision board—a poster board covered in magazine cutouts—with your kickball team. Now that Carrie is engaged, you’re starting to feel like the odd woman out (a feeling compounded by Carrie’s frequently referring to you as the “odd woman out”).
Extremely friendly reporters. Like, bordering on handsy, although it will be more than twenty years before that type of behavior is broadly discouraged.
Running a personal ad in the local newspaper. This wasn’t as desperate in 1996, but it also wasn’t undesperate. You have no choice, though. You’ve already worked your way through your entire Rolodex of acquaintances.
Exchanging handwritten letters with the stranger who responded to your personal ad and then making a collage out of their letters.
Staring at your smiling reflection in the mirror for upward of an hour before a date. This gives you ample time to determine the most flattering angle for your chin, and you can now hold this pose in any context. You look forward to the day when it can be immortalized in a photograph—likely at the next wedding or graduation you attend.
Defining the relationship, and then renting a billboard to announce your new relationship status to the world.
Having your partner take a home video of your child’s birth to rewatch at a later date. He made you do it, which is interesting, because he’s not the one who had to expel a human from his body.
Wondering if vague feelings of permanent dissatisfaction are normal, and then consulting an encyclopedia to see if anyone else feels similarly. They do, although that’s not an encyclopedia, that’s “The Bell Jar.”
Sharing your opinions with people who don’t care. In 2021, this is called “Twitter,” but, in 1996, this was just called “marriage.”
Arguing with your partner about where to eat. He says that the Italian restaurant on Third got rave reviews from the Beverlys, and you say that the Thai place on Broadway is a favorite of the Johnsons. You wish there were some way to see multiple opinions of a restaurant simultaneously, but, in the absence of that, you insist that the Johnsons have better taste. Your partner disagrees, and you decide that you truly hate him. You wish that you’d had more options than simply marrying the first person who responded to your personal ad. You’re now trapped. You’re truly trapped.
A preteen Mark Zuckerberg reading your obituary in the newspaper and wishing there were some way to click “like” on it.