You know how when you go on a first date you want to make a great impression, so you make sure you don’t have spinach in your teeth after the salad and you have checked three times to make sure your deoderant is still working. But then your arm gets bumped just as you are taking a sip of cabernet after having just been dazzlingly witty retelling a cute anecdote from work and now you look like you were an accomplice to a bloody murder. Then you cannot find your car keys and you go into a mild panic dumping your entire purse out so that now your new friend can see all the intimate details of the inside of your purse, just as you realize you valet parked. You have now been sufficiently thrown off your game so you are unsure of how the encounter should end. Do you go in for a hug, a kiss, a handshake, or does it end with a pathetic “So, I guess I’ll see you around, sometime…maybe.”
It is not any different when you are in a couple, trying to find another couple to hang out with. A couple with a son the same age as yours, and are people both you and your spouse like, and who seem to both like both of you and no one is looking at porn on their phone at dinner (this actually happened, in a large group of couples, out at a restaurant so I am not just blindly making up outrageous scenarios here).
Recently Cooper has become good friends with a boy in his preschool class. I have had the chance to get to know his mother through a variety of school related activities, and Coop wanted to have a playdate with him so we did that once, with just mom coming over. She is a LOVELY person, very down to earth and seems to have a similar sensibility as I do about raising kids so it has felt very easy. They live in another town, so we do have to schedule playdates.
This weekend we had another playdate scheduled and this time Dad was going to be bringing Will over, and staying for dinner. Dad admitted this was HIS first playdate. He also seemed very easy to talk to in previous moments of contact, so I assumed it would all be fine. Eventually Mom also showed up, and we all enjoyed sitting on the deck, having burgers etc. while the kids played inside and watched various versions of the Green Lantern.
I should mention that this weekend we have were inundated by tiny little bees. I determined they are probably Ground Bees, which nest in, wait for it, the ground. Except this time they chose planters I had on my deck. Despite the fact that I removed the planters and dumped the dirt out in another part of the yard, these little rascals were still buzzing around the railing where the planter had been. And buzzing around the people sitting on the deck. Fortunately both of our new friends are kind of outdoorsy. Dad is a forester, who works with the state walking in the woods most of the time. Mom has been a producer for shows with National Geographic and Discover Channel, so she is used to being out in nature. So the bees didn’t phase them. They also didn’t sting them, unlike what they did to ME. But then I did destroy their home. Bygones.
Not to be outdone by some pathetic bees, my dogs felt it was appropriate to take the entertainment up a notch.
By killing a bird in the backyard during our dinner. I am not sure how they managed it, but all of a sudden Will’s Dad is saying “Oh! He got a bird!” Poncho had indeed gotten a blue jay. His first kill. So proud. When he dropped it, Gus picked it up, ready to devour it. I managed to pick Gus up before he gutted it and got him to drop it, but then I had to collect it in a plastic bag and toss it in the garbage. “Yaaaay, dinner and a show” I said as I dealt with the carnage.
Other less casual, less nature oriented people might have been seriously put off by either one of these things. Other people might think “I am never again going to spend time with these savages with their bees and their bird killing dogs.” I am hopeful though, for a second date with our new couple. One with less buzzing and “fowl” play. Ha. Get it? I hate puns.