Naked Glass Walking

“What do you wanna do?” is the champion of frustrating questions in a relationship. And the predicted follow-up, “I don’t know…What do you wanna do?” is a close second.  Having been caught in this incessant vortex of accommodation to no fruitful end, I resolved to start our dating scenario on a decisive foot, declaring to Aly,  “Alterna-cirque is in town. Tonight after dinner we will attend a burlesque show with belly dancers, fire breathers, and women who will politely and professionally take their clothes off as they walk on shards of broken glass.”

And she was game!

We drove to the theater, umm, warehouse, and noticed a much younger and obviously hipper couple walking toward their car, he with keys in hand.  I rolled my window down to ask a question at which time nervous Aly put the death grip on my arm and whispered, “don’t talk to them.”  She is sometimes fearful of my disposition to seek a laugh, sure that I was about to ask these strangers leaving the venue, “Did you see any boobies?”  All I wanted to do was ask for their parking place, and when I did, I found out why they were leaving.  SOLD OUT!

Missed it by that much.

So we went to see the anti-feel good movie of the year, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Given the vivid depictions of rape, animal mutilation, and anal probed tattooing, it is safe to say burlesque would have been the tamer of the two.

But it really didn’t matter.  After twenty-two years and three kids together, we have seen it all.  We have celebrated everything shy of winning the lottery.  We have slumped beside the graves of close friends and closer family.  We have cleaned all manner of bodily waste and re-gurge, and nursed everything from a yanked uterus to an unhealed emergency tracheotomy neck hole.

Burlesque is nothing compared to a marriage as strong as ours.  We could eat burlesque for breakfast, if we wanted to.  Anal probed tattooing though?  Well…not so much.

Good date.

The Classic

First dates are unique.  There is nervousness, anticipation, and anxiety about what to expect.  Then, of course, there are all the questions;  “what do I wear?”,  “where will we go?”,  “what if he tries to kiss me?”, “what if we don’t have anything to talk about?”, and the list could go on.  I remember my first date with Kev.  May 6, 1983.  Apparently it took a long time, and a lot of encouragement from his sister Jody for Kev to muster the nerve to ask me out.  We double dated with Jody and her boyfriend because Kev only had his learners permit!  Our first date was the “classic” dinner and a movie; you can’t go wrong with dinner and a movie: T.G.I. Fridays, (the original T.G. I. Fridays that doesn’t exist anymore on Elliston Place in Nashville TN.)  Then it was on to see Tootsie at Melrose theater (also no longer in existence).

Well,  our “First Date” for this new year’s resolution came with some of the same questions, but the main question was, “where will we go?”  Do we start the year off with a bang and do something outrageous like the Belly dance Burlesque Festival of Doom?  What about a USC basketball game?  Or, what about grabbing something to eat at a Food Truck Rodeo?  We were overwhelmed with our choices.  Planning a date with forethought and intention was a stress producer, and quite frustrating.  In the last eighteen years dates have been last minute affairs governed by the social calendar; not intentionally planned for each other’s company.

So we went with the “classic”: dinner and a movie.  We chose our “go to” restaurant, Garibaldi, and had an absolutely wonderful meal while seated at the bar.  I can tell you that our appreciation for good food and drink has certainly matured since T.G.I. Fridays.  If you’re going out to eat, make it count!  The cornmeal battered oysters, lettuce wedge with homemade dill dressing, pan seared grouper with lemon/Dijon/mushroom sauce and rainbow trout almandine were a treat for all the senses.  As we ate the night away we discussed our children (yes, our children were a topic of discussion), our dreams, our future and our past.   I must say I probably enjoyed Tootsie (May 6, 1983) better than The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (and I definitely would not recommend it for a REAL first date), but that really didn’t matter.  Sitting in the movie theater eating candy after a great conversation-filled meal made for a “classic” evening.

It seems apropos that our first date of the New Year would reflect our very first date.  And, while I planned what to wear, I didn’t really worry about whether he would kiss me or if we would have anything to talk about.  The butterflies of the very first date in the 80’s have grown into a deep seated comfort and love that warms me now like a fire on a cold winter’s night.

If you are reading this, you are probably married or have a significant other. Whether the “butterflies” for your spouse have been crowded out by the daily stresses of life or even replaced with emotional numbness, anger, resentment, frustration, and disappointment…try dating each other again.  No, it may not solve every problem, but the result of an evening intentionally planned and joyfully executed may bring back something even better than butterflies.

Aly All In

He's the adventurer...if you call catching a Frisbee an adventure

I have a confession to make.  This “year of dating” was totally Kev’s idea.  He has the well deserved reputation in our family as the romantic, while I am the pragmatic (some would say grumpy) one.  But he caught me at a weak moment.  I was a captive audience during the drive to Charleston on January 3rd as we drove to see our friends for dinner.  The conversation started something like this…..

Kev:  “Why don’t we do something this year we have never done before, you know, have a goal, make a plan and accomplish it? So when we get to the end of the year we can say, “we did that!”

Aly:  “We are sending a child to college this year!  We’ve never done that before!”

Kev:  (not really what he had in mind) “No, I mean something unique like not buying any new clothes for a whole year, walk from Greenville to Charleston as a family, renovate the house together, plan one awesome date a month.  I dunno, we could really make it fun; something we would look forward to.”

Aly:  (feeling tired already just thinking about it) “I am going to need some time to think about this.”

To be honest, the push and pull of married life, finances, work, children, grocery shopping, meal planning, meal making, meal cleaning, laundry and the like can take a toll on the romance and intimacy in a marriage.   It is easy to put your spouse and time with on the back burner (or in the attic).  It is easy to get into what I call “survival mode”… just doing the things that HAVE to be done to get through each day while not focusing on the things that SHOULD be done to add joy and strength to our marriage and life.  We, or should I say “I”, often get it backwards  – time with my spouse should be the first priority, not the last thing on the “to do” list.

So, I am all in even though I am responding contrary to my natural tendencies.  I expect to be changed and challenged by this project.  And, even if I am still tired, I can look forward to some awesome dates with my sweet, romantic, and ever patient hubby.  Let the adventure begin….

Tired Dating

When I hear someone say they are going on a “date” with their husband or wife I am usually a little creeped out; seems like a force fit, recalling a time when the two “daters” had much more time and a ton more energy to do what was about to be done.  I “dated” Alyson in high school and college.  For every one, my nostrils were flaring and I was pawing the ground.  I couldn’t wait to be with her.  My mom marveled at the speed with which I could bolt into the house from track practice or work, shower, dress and leave with a mere “see ya, bye,” on my way out the door.

I wrung every last ounce of “date” out of Alyson.

That was 25 years ago.  We have three children now.  They are striking and talented.

And they make us tired.

It’s not their fault.  Kids just do that.

And jobs do too.  And credit cards.  And plumbing.  And church…church is exhausting.  (Who knew loving Jesus required so much time in the car and committee meetings?)

Our first date this year (which does not count in the rotation) was a Tuesday night affair in Charleston at 82 Queen with friends Matt and Allison.  Awesome time.  Great food and wine.  And three hours in the car with no arguments erupting from the backseat.   “Let’s plan twelve dates this year, one a month.”  Ok.  “And lets blog about it.”  Ok.  So our plan is hatched.

It’s not the most intellectual of pursuits, but to us, it’s important.  And I am of the opinion that the intentionality with which we address our relationship will be directly proportional to the deepness of it.  I still love this short blond girl very much…and I still want to be with her.

This blog is about tired Alyson dating tired Kevin.  And as the year progresses, if I ever make a reference to sleeping together, you will know that is exactly what we are doing.

Probably.

12 dates in 12 months

Queen of Hearts... Aly outside the window at her parents restaurant, The Gamery, in Gainseville, Fl

This is not a test.  It is for real.  Alykev has decided to blog.  Actually, we have decided to date one another this year…at least twelve times, intentionally, with forethought, planned and executed.  One a month.

Some may read this and think, “oh no, they are having marriage problems and a counselor has told them to do this….why else would they do something so, well, corny?”

The answer: because the other option was walking from Greenville to Charleston, and Aly said that wasn’t happening on this side of Heaven.  So this was the next best option for Kev.

To Date.  And Blog.  Share everything about dating each other.  The bliss.  The bull.  And the bounty. (didn’t say “booty” but I could ’cause we’re married.)