…about my three kids suddenly in school all day?  About reaching my late thirties, letting go of young motherhood, and staring down an entirely new, as-of-yet-blank chapter in my life?  About my beloved children growing so big and so tall and so fast that tears spring to my eyes if I let myself even think about it?

No, my friends.  Read a different blog for that kind of sentiment.  Here’s why I’m really freaking out:

I lost my wedding ring.  And.

No one has hit on me.  At all.

Not a man, not a woman, not even my usual crowd of admirers at the gas station down the street.  (I don’t want to brag, but I’ve had quite a bit of success there in the past.)

No one seems to have noticed that a) I’m painfully attractive, and b) I’m not wearing a wedding ring, which means I’m also, presumably, painfully available.  I haven’t gotten so much as a sidelong glance from a potbellied greaseball in his sixties.  Where have all the cowboys gone?

Now, I feel inclined to assure my three faithfuls that I did not lose my wedding ring on purpose.  I was applying lotion (okay, bronzer) after a shower the other night and took off my wedding ring to avoid gunking it up.  I didn’t notice it was gone until the next morning, and I expected to find it right on the bathroom counter where I left it.  I looked to the left, to the right, upwards and downwards and sidewards and still…no bling.  I sighed and figured it would turn up soon, but a week later, still no bling.  I have since deeply intensified my search tactics but as of this morning, I am still without bling.  What’s a girl to do?  I’ve always believed in making lemonade out of lemons, so there was really only one way for me to handle this problem:  work the ringlessness like nobody’s business.  I’ve been dieting, working out, applying extra thick layers of the bronzer and actually washing–and styling!–my hair since that ring disappeared, all with the bottled hope that my youthful splendor would revisit me in the form of a compliment or pick-up line.  But apparently even the biggest hair and the orangest skin and the barest finger are not enough to make a married thirtysomething look like a single twentysomething.  Who knew.

This entire episode brought to mind a conversation I had with my good friend Rachel at the lake this summer.  She was lamenting about how she had lost her wedding ring also, and not a man alive seemed to notice.  She even had her own husband calling her daily to see if anyone had asked his wife out on a date.  It was important to him that this should happen.  Their conversations, she told me, went something like this:

Jason:  “So, how’d it go today?”

Rachel:  “Nothing.”

Jason:  “Nothing?  No one?”

Rachel:  “Nope.”

Jason:  “Did you shower and shave?”

Rachel:  “Yep.  Hair and lip gloss, too.”

Jason: “Well, something will turn up.  Maybe you should hit Costco tomorrow.”

You can never presume to know the secrets of a marriage, but I’d say this is a couple who loves each other.

Rachel and Jason’s team-building experience illustrates a point I’ve been trying to articulate in my head for some time.  Isn’t it interesting (and a little grotesque) how we married couples eventually, inevitably, morph into a single person?  I’m not talking about the whole Cleaving-To-His-Wife kind of thing, which is the pretty part.  I’m talking about how I sometimes meet an interesting, attractive woman and think, I should introduce her Derrick–they’d be perfect for each other! This happy thought is always immediately toppled over by another one:  He’s already married to you, dummy.

Oh yeah, that’s right, I reply to myself, ever surprised by how surprised I am in remembering this.  Geez, I was just looking out for him.  It’s like we’re so overlapped with each other, I’m actually checking out girls for him.  I’m not sure exactly what this means, but my gosh it can’t be healthy.

Which brings me a reassuring thought:  Have strangers failed to notice me because Derrick is losing some of his mojo, too?  Perhaps my husband’s stuffy, tangible married-ness is seeping out of my own pores, deflecting any good pick-me-up karma that would normally come my way. Yes, that’s it.  That must be it. If he would just buff and bronze himself up a little more it would spill over into me, and surely the potbellied greaseballs would vie for my affections once again.  And then I could finally bat my eyelashes, toss my hair, and shake my head down at them with the compassionate, heavy-lidded eyes of a woman who’s seen too much of the world.

“Sorry, sweetie.  I’m so flattered, but you see…(sigh and another head shake)…I’m married.”

(Oh please, Universe.  Let me need to say it just once.)

“I figured you might be.  Your husband’s one lucky man.”

“Thank you.”  (Coy smile.)  “Thanks very much.  You’re too kind.”

“Not kind, miss.  Just honest.”

(And please let him say miss and not ma’am.)