Today's New York Times has declared that dating is dead. That we now live in the age of the "hook up." Folks fuck, then go out for pizza. Not the other way around...like the good ole days. No more dinner and a movie. Art show openings. No more cups of coffee or walks through the park. Nope. That comes later. After the condoms get rolled out and the lube jell warmed up. We're talking first names only, people.
At first, I was astonished by this news, but then the Ranger, in his no-nonsense Ranger way asked, "Do you honestly think we'd still be together if the sex hadn't been great right out of the gate? If, when you first met me, you hadn't considered me a nice piece of ass?" Well, there's that. It WAS, after all, my birthday. There was a lot of champagne involved. And who REALLY cared what his last name was anyway...not like I was EVER going back to Fish Town. At 43, I felt I deserved to unwrap my own present to myself. Plus, most importantly, hadn't I learned a lesson the last go-around...marrying a nice man I dated for weeks before the nasty, a man full of urbane conversation, a proponent of cloth napkins - only to sleep with him back to back. Kiss. Kiss. Night. Night. Look how that turned out.
But is the buck really in the bang? Is it THAT simple? And if so, why did no one explain this to me in my 20s when it might have actually changed the course of my life? Here I was searching for artfulness, a kind heart, and witty repartee when I should have been checking the thread count on his sheets, the bulge in his uhum...pocket, and the breakfast fixin's in the frig.
Maybe this is why I'm heartened by the fact that The Chef is now head over heels with someone he's actually DATED. Yes, that dirty word. Okay, so they dated on the Web before dating across a table, but I think that certainly counts. They exchanged words, ideas, dreams, weirdness, fears, phobias. And still, they managed to steam up the windows when we dropped by the other night for peanut soup and dumplings. What is it with The Chef and his dumplings anyway? I think he enjoys the metaphor. Everything perfectly tucked and safe in its own world. And why not.
We liked The Archaeologist quite a lot. We like that she's funny. And that "on site" she probably wears khakis with extra pockets and loops, carries a pick ax and brushes and has to don a big, floppy hat to ward off additional freckles. Accessories, ladies. It's all about the accessories. So sexy. Even the Indiana Jones kind.
And there we were for the first time -- The Ranger and Second Edition -- acting the old married couple at the table. Recognizing all the signs of early love. Under the table grappling. Sly glances. Whispered innuendos. Jack Johnson on the IPod. Jack Johnson, for the love of God! Yeah, they couldn't wait for us to leave. "Here's dessert. Enjoy. We've wrapped it up for you so you can savor it IN YOUR OWN HOME!"
Indeed, we slunk home, the Ranger and I. At the crack of 8:15 p.m. And enjoyed our own date.