Always a bridesmaid, never a… no, I'm not getting into that cliché

Bella's back story

Always a bridesmaid, never a… no, I'm not getting into that cliché.

So what if everyone I know my age is getting married and here I am, still emphatically single, with no future prospects? That doesn't make me pathetic, does it?

But, then again, why am I asking you this? You're probably in the same boat I am, aren't you?

Name's Bella – Bella Swan – 24-year-old virgin and staunch single gal; nice to meet you.

And here I am – again – with another invitation to attend a wedding for a friend who I've grown apart from so much, I don't even remember how we met.

I'm forced to parade in pink taffeta and pretend I'm "so happy" for this young woman who's about to spend the rest of her life (or the next year or so) living with the same man; making him dinner and cleaning up after him.

Yeah, needless to say, this hasn't really been a goal of mine.

Not to say I haven't dated from time to time. There have been the casual flings, the one-night-stands, and the "serious relationships."

But, really, is this all there is after college?

Don't I deserve something more?

I want passion, romance; a man who is willing to fight for me.

But, I guess the pool of young men to choose from here in America can easily leave a poor girl wanting.

I've lived here in Philadelphia for most of my life; except for that wonderful respite.

I lived in Sussex for about three years while I attended an elite prep school: Lancing School. Ahh, those were the days.

My best friend, Alice, and I owned that school. I wonder what she's doing now.

We were inseparable, Alice and me. We hung out at her house (mostly), terrorized all of the younger students (including her little brother, Edward), and just, generally, had an amazing time.

Myself, I left England after I graduated from Lancing and returned to Philly. I went to Penn State, have recently earned my degree in Journalism and am now an entertainment reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer. I'm also quite the eligible bachelorette: Auburn hair, sparkling brown eyes and a set of killer curves. (I'm no Bettie Page, but I hold my own).

I guess that makes me the perfect candidate for a bridesmaid.

Today, it is Jessica. A classmate I was somewhat close to during our days as lowly interns. And now, she expects me to put on whatever god-awful dress she chooses with a smile?

Why do women do this to each other? Did Alice Paul really die for this?

Now I'm stuck at another lame wedding; another chance to drink copious amounts of champagne and grind against some semi-cute groomsman on the dance-floor.

Praise be the wonder of the mid-20s; the quarter-life crisis.

The need for shameless human contact seems to be overshadowed only by the need to drink oneself weight in gin.

And these are supposed to be the "best years of my life?"

I must be up for some serious, third-degree burns in my future.

So, I guess it would behoove me to tell you about my most recent "mistake." His name was Ben, and we dated for about two months.

He's the type of guy my parents would approve of (which should have been my first clue that there is something desperately wrong with him): he's a law student, he's gorgeous, he comes from a good family and he was a member of some Kappa-douche-bag fraternity.

He was custom made for a life in Philadelphia society.

And he was about as boring as an hour of C-Span.

But that didn't stop him from trying to get to second base with my on our first date.

I'm not a prude; a kiss on the first date is acceptable if it feels right.

But, trying to unhook my bra in your "certified, pre-owned" Lexus outside of my apartment complex? That's beyond douche-y, my friend.

But, for some unknown reason, I stuck with him. I have been brainwashed well.

Either that, or I'm some kind of masochist; I haven't decided.

We continued to carry on this façade of courtship until I was to the point of wanting to pull a Sylvia Plath.

And then I ended it.

And here I am, dateless and giving the eye to the third groomsman from the left on Mike's side of the wedding party.

He looks vaguely like Billie Joe Armstrong (minus the eyeliner), and those guys always get to me: spiky, dark hair, a devilish smile; oh yeah, we'll be making out in a coat room before the night is over.

Good thing I packed the Starbucks mints in my purse.

I know I'm meant for more than this…I just can't figure out what. When is my "real life" supposed to start, anyway?

Edward's back story

"She's too manly, she's too skinny and she looks like about ₤5 a lap dance."

What the hell is wrong with girls today, anyway?

I'll be graduating from Cambridge in about two months, and now I'm seriously thinking about long-term relationships.

Unfortunately, I don't see too many girls my age worth having such a relationship with.

The girls I meet are either too concerned with the residual effects of collegiate bullshit, or are just not mature enough to handle being in a relationship that lasts for more than two weeks.

I don't get it. Isn't this a female problem? Not being able to find someone worthy of commitment. Was I becoming a bird in my old age?

Or was the "Grandpa Eddie" reputation sticking with me?

See, in school, I was always the responsible one. I was never a man to drink too much, party too much, or ever take advantage of a girl. Some might say, I was a bit of a square, really.

So, what the hell am I doing in this dance club tonight?

Call it peer pressure, but I just couldn't say no to Jasper or Emmett.

My two best mates, how could I ever refuse them? Even if the resulting "sure, I'll tag along," meant that I would be face-to-face with some poor young woman's cleavage. Although, it's not as if she wore that top to hide anything.

I was about three beers and two rum-and-cokes into the night (far more than I generally allowed myself) and I didn't have the heart to say no to "d'ya wanna dance, luv?"

No matter how drunk and desperate she sounded.

Part of me said yes to this night because Jasper is most likely soon to be my brother-in-law. He hasn't asked Alice, yet; but he has picked out the ring and is waiting for the right time. Smart man.

I'd love for him to be my brother; though, he already is in everything but an official title.

He's certainly worth enough to make me go out on a night on the tiles with a variety of random, loose women.

He's found the perfect girl, and he feels like celebrating. I wish I could be so lucky.

I've only ever envisioned one perfect girl to be a part of my life: Isabella Swan – Bella, to those who know her best – Alice's best friend.

She was both the bane and the reason for my existence in secondary school, but she left before I had the chance to show her I am now a man.

And, every other girl has paled in comparison to her ever since. Wow, I don't think I've sounded so pitiful in my whole life! That rum really is getting to me.