I am a single mother wearing a fake wedding ring. Lying about my marital status makes me feel safer.
I am a single mother by choice.
A handyman made me feel weird in my own house after sharing that I was unmarried.
Now I’m wearing a fake ring and pretending to be married to a friend.
It was at the end of the evening on an excessively hot November night, in the kitchen of my house, tears streaming down my cheeks, that I said “yes” to my forced marriage. It was a simple affair – no guests, no fancy dress, no big cake, just Ben & Jerry’s in the fridge and a ring in her hand.
Having a husband wasn’t something I necessarily wanted – but I found I needed it.
All it took was a new dishwasher, an emergency to have it installed, and a scary evening with a repairman for me to realize I had to put a ring on it, a fake ring. Although I’m not technically married, to the outside world it looks like I am.
I make believe that my house is married
I have a wedding ring. I have pictures of one of my college buddies scattered around the house. I have a 40 x 40 inch framed photo from my brother’s first wedding leaning against my living room wall; “We just didn’t have time to hang it up,” I said.
I chat over and over about my husband being at Lowe’s for the thousandth time today because he just can’t find what he needs for his project or watching the game with his buddies . He’s still somewhere in the world being ridiculous, but he’s also still on his way back, anytime now.
My fake nuptials may seem extreme, and maybe they are, but to me, they were born out of necessity. I was done with feeling uncomfortable and unsafe in my own home.
It all started when my dishwasher had to be installed
A visit I had scheduled with a repairman kicked me over the edge.
The man I hired to install my new dishwasher wore a button down shirt in his profile picture. He had a long detailed description of his experience and skills. Even better, it had five star reviews and was available to install my dishwasher that day.
When he arrived at my house in the early evening, there was not a button-down shirt or khaki pants but a plume of smoke, a stained and disheveled T-shirt and uncomfortably low-cut basketball shorts. He seemed nice at first; we chatted and he offered to put my old machine on the sidewalk.
He also asked me about my husband and the father of my son. It didn’t occur to me to lie, so I told him I wasn’t married.
Things started to get uncomfortable
He told me it would take about an hour and a half to get the old machine out and install the new one. He started calling the service appointment a “first date” and peed with the door open twice. He asked me for a drink; I understood later that he did not ask for water. There were times during the visit when I wasn’t sure where he had been in my house.
He left five hours later, after I asked him to leave. He had blocked my ability to pay him through the app and insisted that I pay him by check to avoid losing part of his payment on the platform.
As he took my check and took his leave, he looked at me and said, “I notice you don’t have security cameras in your house. With that, he took my remaining sense of security with him.
After speaking with Jason Ross, a police detective in Indianapolis, it became clear to me how naive I had been when it came to my safety and security – and that even though my idea of a backstory n isn’t terrible, calling backup is probably a better solution. “I think a more effective tool would be to ask a friend to be present with you if there’s a service person coming to your residence,” Ross said.
Ross added that while security systems, doorbell cameras and other devices are great resources to have in your security toolkit, don’t overlook the security value of just being a good neighbor. “One thing that I think is often overlooked in our culture these days is having a good working relationship with your neighbors,” Ross said.
After the repairman’s car cleared my driveway, I checked the rooms in my house for unlocked doors and windows. I called ADT and ordered security cameras. And I told my neighbors, Abby and Steve, to be on the lookout for him coming back.
When it comes to repairers, technicians, window cleaners, roofers, salespeople and foreigners in general, I’m going to be less confident and more cautious. And even if it’s not a perfect plan, I’ll be much more married at the next service appointment.
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