Back before I was an incredibly successful unpaid writer of free content on the internet, I was just a lowly unpaid intern trying to make my way in DC. My days were spent doing incredibly fulfilling tasks such as making copies, showing my boss how to sort alphabetically in Excel, and figuring out which bars had the best happy hour on a Tuesday night. I’m now realizing this doesn’t differ significantly from my current job description and have just poured myself another glass of wine. The organization I worked at had about 150 summer interns, which meant that at any given time one of them was bound to be hosting a party so that we could all drink while ignoring every rule of professionalism in the book to hook up with each other.
I found myself at one of these refined fetes sipping from a fifth of Jose Cuervo in my hand and chatting with a friend of the hosting intern. As the conversation progressed, I found out that he was an active duty Army Ranger and spoke fluent German. By “spoke fluent German,” I mean he threw out a couple phrases with “ach” interspersed, and that was good enough for me and Jose. As you may have guessed, I’m a very refined lady and would never do anything so uncouth as to hook up with a strange man in a strange apartment filled with my coworkers. Ha. I grabbed him and the bottle of Jose and found an empty room immediately. What can I say? I’m a patriot. #SupportTheTroops
We woke up the next morning cuddling in a twin XL bed, as adults do. One of us was still drunk (spoiler alert: it was me). He asked if I had any plans for the day. Mistake #1. It’s called a ONE night stand for a reason, kids. “Would you want to come to a party with me tonight? I think you’d be a great date and we’d have fun,” he asked. “Of course! What time?” I innocently agreed. “It starts at five. We can go to your house now and pick up some clothes for you in case you stay over. I’ll drive!”
Mistake #2: getting in a car with a one night stand where they’re your only way home (this was pre-Uber). Mistake #3: Not wondering what the fuck kind of party starts at 5 p.m. on a Saturday. I was sufficiently awake enough to direct him to my house and throw approximately one dress, one sock, one bottle of contact solution, and one toothbrush into a backpack. I then fell back asleep in the car immediately.
Two Hours Later
I woke up, forehead pressed against the glass of the passenger side of the car, legs cramped from curling up in the seat, and mouth drier than a Baptist wedding. I un-stuck myself from the leather seats and winced at the sunlight assaulting my eyes. I looked suspiciously out the window and saw green. Just fields of green. And farm animals. We were clearly not anywhere near DC. “Where the hell are we?!” I turned to ask my date, frantically pulling up Google maps. “Oh good! You’re awake!” He smiled and took my hand. “We’re almost there. The wedding is in Hagerstown!”
There are two problems with this statement. 1) I had no idea I had agreed to attend a wedding, and 2) Hagerstown is a solid two-hour drive from DC in the middle of nowhere. There I was, last night’s mascara creeping slowly down my eyes, stuck in rural Maryland, attending a wedding of people I had never met with an Army Ranger whose name I couldn’t entirely remember. I began processing this information as we continued driving and frantically texted my friends to let them know I might have been kidnapped. “Okay,” I thought to myself, “maybe this won’t be so bad after all. Dinner, open bar, hotel sex… I can get on board, sure. Just drink through the awkward!”
I would like to tell you this is the worst part of the story, but that would be a very self-serving lie. “You know,” he turned and grabbed my hand, “I’m so glad you’re coming with me. I was kind of nervous. This is going to be my first wedding since my wife and I separated.” *Mic drop*. I’ll give you all a second to process that nugget of knowledge he dropped on me, because it took me about a full minute to respond with anything other than, “hmmmmmm.” I asked how long they’d been separated. “About a month,” he replied, squeezing my hand.
Well shit. WAY TO BURY THE LEDE, BRO. At this point, I was just silent with disbelief and a pounding headache. We got to the hotel, I thought through every possible escape route, and I could not see a way out of attending this wedding and eventually having someone tell this poor bride that she had a rando drunk intern crashing the most important day of her life. I’m pretty sure you can envision how most of this wedding went, but here’s a quick summary:
Wedding Guest (to me and Army Ranger): “Oh, how long have you two been together?”
Army Ranger: “We met last night.”
*awkwardly long pause waiting for the punch line*
*me chugging champagne*
*sudden realization and horror dawns on Wedding Guest*
Wedding Guest: “Oh… oh!!! I thought you were joking… oh… well how… interesting!”
*I continue to chug champagne*
To say that it was the most awkward wedding reception of my life would be an understatement. The only thing I could really do was accept the awkwardness with my head held high and maintain as much dignity as I could, making sure to stay away from the bride and groom to avoid upsetting them. Just kidding, I drank all the champagne I could get my hands on and ended up befriending the bride back at the hotel bar after the reception, where I helped her rub whiskey out of her dress with a cocktail napkin. I’m 85% sure this is the only reason she didn’t have me thrown out.
Army Ranger drove me back home the next day with promises to call before he redeployed the next month. He did indeed call me. Repeatedly. I had no desire to get involved with this clearly crazy not-yet-divorced man, so I let him down gently and maturely by blocking his number and refusing to return any of his voicemails (I really pride myself on consideration of others. It’s one of my best qualities). And that’s the story of the time I was possibly kidnapped to attend a wedding across state lines. .