Cool We Are (Were), by Aly

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Just sayin, for April, we were cool.  We didn’t go rappelling or heli-skiing.  But dressing up and going to the Art Museum for a silent auction and cocktail party was definitely a move in the hip direction.  As excited as I was for our planned date, making small talk and being interesting and engaging is not my forte.  In fact, I would never consider going to a function like this without Kev.  It’s just not “me.”  I am more of a hang out at home and drink wine by the fire kind of girl…even in April.

With that being said, pushing me (or us) out of our comfort zone is what tired dating is all about.  See Naked Glass Walking.   I could say to Kev, “look, I am just not a big crowd kind of girl so let’s just go to dinner and a movie,”  but where will that leave us? Stuck in a no-growth rut, that’s where.  Relationships/marriages need to be pushed and stretched and made to feel uncomfortable at times because it is in those times can one go to another level of intimacy, understanding, and emotional depth.  And sometimes it turns out to be a lot of fun.

Just picture it…the Columbia Museum of Art all lit up as night falls…art appreciators arriving dressed in every range of fashion from artsy grunge to cocktail chic.  Kev could have worn his “More Cowbell” t-shirt  and been received as avant-garde without a doubt.

…and the only cure, is More Cowbell.

There was music, wine, food…and art for sale.  I was feeling very hip and cool.  And having my very own “social butterfly” next to me made it even more enjoyable.  Kev’s ease in a crowd and outgoing demeanor helped me spread my wings a bit.  Over the course of the evening we conversed with several acquaintances whom we had never had the pleasure of getting to know socially.  I also met several of Kev’s colleagues from his new software web world.  I was on a roll!  By ten o’clock the art auction was winding down, but an “after hours” art auction at Hunter Gatherer (a local brewery and restaurant) was next on the schedule, and since we were having such a great time we decided to keep the night going.   By now, approaching ten thirty, we were waaaay off the traditional date radar.  An “after party” at a brewery at TEN THIRTY pm!…I am usually an hour into my stretchy pants by then.

After finding a seat outside we spent the next two hours talking, laughing and sharing our lives with a sweet couple who were also fellow “cool people” for the night.  Inside we could hear the art auction give way eventually to live music.  As the evening closed we parted ways with our friends and expressed thanks for the impromptu “double date,” the great surprise of the evening.  I limped to the car fighting the urge to take my shoes off and walk barefoot through the dark parking lot, but even though I am a little cooler now, I have not lost my senses…metropolitan midnight pavement and sidewalks are full of nasty uncool germs.

Yes, trying new things can be painful but it can also be exciting and rewarding!  Here’s to more “uncomfortable” dates, even if I do decide to wear my Naturalizer flats with a springy cushion innersole.

“More Cowbell?”

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I can fake my way through an art museum crowd for days.

“Oh yes, I love the depth of this piece too, the way the artist used earth tones to suggest angst.”

And meeting new people is not a problem either.  I could even go pro.  Just ask John.  He is Amy’s boyfriend, and even though I met him in the art museum lobby, by midnight we were like old fraternity brothers on the patio at Hunter-Gatherer, a trendy local restaurant where middle-aged coolio’s mingle with the real thing.

And evidently, I know how to keep two women happy.  Alyson was tired after the museum benefit and wasn’t sure about extending the night further at a bar, but an hour later she was laughing and telling stories like, well, me!  Amy pitched in too, fondly remembering something I said in a sermon…four years ago.  So I was feeling pretty sure about myself last Friday night.

But that is not how tired date number four started.  It’s beginning was not unique.  Actually, it was mundane.  Here goes, my opening line to my wife: “What should I wear?”

Aly and I were a little suspect about the night’s attire.  We didn’t think Contemporary Artist of the Year would be formal.  In my mind, the contemporary artist fashion motif is a mixture of bell bottom terry cloth, itchy Mexican wool and reappointed two-ply Kleenex, of which we aint got.   But after we remembered this is Columbia, SC where the radical ordinary wins the fashion day, we went to the closet for our best tired date outfits.

Aly had an easy choice.  She just happened to pop by Stein-Mart after work and buy a great dress and sweater because all women have the upper hand in date situations.  If men had the upper hand, I would have come home from work and unloaded a new set of bicycle tools before I got ready.  “Yeah honey, I knew we were going out, and I just wanted to have something nice to use when I repack the bearings in the bottom bracket tomorrow.”

But there was really more to my fashion question than color matching.  When I asked Aly “what should I wear,” I wasn’t asking what would make me look good to the museum crowd, or feel better about myself.  Don’t really care.  Much.  What I do care about, and I think this is a safe generalization to make for most married or kept men, is how YOU think I look dear.

I was watching that show where the woman who looks like a rabbi and the guy who wears everything two sizes too small crack jokes about the innocent contestants in the dressing room.  They go on and on about fashion this and fashion that and how clothes make the person…only seen it once or seven times.  But none of that really matters to me.  One clothing choice versus another doesn’t makes that big of a difference to my appearance.  There’s only so much that can be done with rangy and receding.

So as not to confuse the issue next month, since fashion isn’t really the point, when I ask Aly “what should I wear,” what I am really saying is, “I trust you.”

So thanks for that.  And you were right.  My “More Cowbell” t-shirt would not have been good.