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.

Dish Rag Date

Tired Dating promises to give you the honest unadulterated dish on all our dates.  We pledge honesty, and we edit it accordingly, mainly for our own children, two of which have already replied “gross” or “I’m never reading that again.”  Maybe it was “The ‘N’ Word” or any mild reference I have made to marital dalliance.  Hey, no apologies here, maybe some of the marital dysfunction in our system today is because too few practitioners of the art and craft of marriage talk about the journey with honesty and reality.  This is hard work.

And so is being committed to dating each other in tired middle age.   We willingly and daily give our best efforts and energy to our children, but that often translates to a scarcity remaining for each other.  Too often all we have left are the few drops wrung from the already dehydrated cloth of life.   That is probably a bad analogy, but let’s go with it: If your marriage was a kitchen rag, what would it be like?  A new Williams Sonoma with embroidered Rooster?  (Why is Kitchen Rooster décor so popular nowadays?  I think someone should bring back the “Kitchen Monkey” or the “Kitchen Snap-on Tools Calendar.”)  Or, is your marriage, more akin to that wadded up rag in the far corner of the counter that begs to be laundered, the one while being completely dry smells like wet tennis shoes and mayonnaise pot pourri?

Both examples are extreme.  If you have dragged multiple offspring into your third decade of marriage like we have, one glance in the mirror or bank account probably leaves you with several conclusions.  One, plastic surgery or hair plugs might not be bad ideas.  Two, maybe you should have stayed in that crappy job just for the money.  Or, hopefully, the third conclusion fits best:  No journey that doesn’t leave its mark on the traveler is worth much.

Take our March date for example.  We made it to date night with no plans other than using a gift certificate to Solstice Kitchen.  One hundred bucks, so it was a good meal, but because of our poor planning, the remaining reservation was 9 o’clock.  The only people I know who eat that late are Skinny Girl Bethany Frankel and the Amish during harvest season.

But we needed it, that late dinner.  And it was one of the best I can remember.  Halfway through, already past ten, we were laughing about my recent cost saving propensity for digging food out of our trashcan.  I realized how naturally our conversation was flowing.  We didn’t need a double date wing couple to aid the flow.  We were genuinely engaged in the moment, and Alyson ALMOST bought my logic about how it is completely okay to retrieve the night’s chicken carcass from the trashcan to make our own chicken stock.  “You boil it anyway, like three times, it’ll be fine.”

We got home about eleven I think, or maybe a tad after.  Grace Ann was home for spring break, and all three kids were still up.  They had made some cookies and were watching a movie.  And what they thought they knew was their parents had just been out for dinner.

What I hope they will learn is their parents are doing the best they can. And, if there will ever be a success story they can tell their children about us, it will be this one:  they washed their kitchen rags regularly, and a few are still in use.