Nobody ever tells you about the dating that happens after you’re married. There’s the dating of each other, which includes lots of really romantic trips to the grocery store and steamy discussions about whether or not you should sign up for Blockbuster Online.
But then there’s the dating of other couples. You know what I mean—you’re out there playing the married couple field, trying to find another couple to hang out with; a couple that’s funny and smart and gets your collective sense of humor. A couple who are interesting and serious and silly all at the same time, whose kids aren’t annoying, who like the same restaurants, who aren’t too clingy, who aren’t too distant, who don’t dominate the conversation, who don’t try to sell you Amway or Mary Kay, who can be called in advance or at the last minute, who have access to their own babysitter, and who share important common interests such as hairstyles of local news anchors.
A good couple is hard to find. Several weeks ago, we invited some new friends out and had a great time. We laughed at their jokes, they laughed at ours. We each told our sad stories and everybody acted personally mortified at all the right moments. We had a good amount of differences and commonalities. We left that night waving goodbye and promising to get together again.
“I like the Smiths!” I said.
“Me too,” Ryan said.
“Do you think they liked us?” I asked.
“I think so,” he said.
“I guess we’ll know if they call us and invite us somewhere.”
“Yeah, good plan. We’ll let them make the next move.”
But the Smiths never called.
“Maybe they’re just busy,” I said one day.
“Yeah, it seems like I haven’t seen them for a while,” he said.
But they still didn’t call, even after we drove past them, like twice.
“I don’t think they liked us. We’re probably too liberal and irreverent,” I said.
“And I probably told too many weird Psychology stories,” he said.
He was probably right. He told a really weird one that night.
But, then, last Saturday, Mrs. Smith called my cell phone as we were driving home from the bookstore.
“It’s Mrs. Smith!” I mouthed excitedly to Ryan as I pointed to the phone.
She was calling just to chat and see how it was going and to make sure we hadn’t fallen off the face of the earth. See? I knew they liked us! After about a half hour, we hung up.
“The Smiths like us!” I said.
“Did she ask us to do anything?” he said.
“Well, no, but she didn’t have a reason for calling. You don’t just call people you don’t like for no reason.”
Then, Mrs. Smith called again last night for a reason, but not a very big reason, and we chatted again.
So, I did it. I asked the Smiths out again.
“You’re kidding?” Ryan said, “I thought we were waiting for them to invite us! That was The Plan!”
“I know, but I just kind of got caught up in the moment.”
“What did you say?”
“I said, ‘We sure had a great time with you guys’ and she said, ‘So did we’ and then I said, ‘We should get together again’ and she said, ‘For sure’ and then I said, ‘What about this weekend, are you doing anything?’ and she said, ‘Let me check…….Nope, we’re free’ so we’re going out Saturday night.”
“She probably felt pressured. You should have just stuck with The Plan,” he said.
“Regis says to go with your gut,” I said.
As if it wasn’t obvious before, we clearly live in a sit-com.
Later last night we were walking around the neighborhood and knocked on the door of our backyard, kitty-corner neighbor to see how he was recovering from his recent surgery. No one answered the door, which meant that either the surgery had gone well and he was out and about, or it had gone very poorly and he was dead on his bathroom floor, having dialed 9-1 before giving up the ghost.
We walked down his steps as he walked up the driveway. He had just been at our house knocking on our unanswered door.
“I was coming over to see if you guys could go out this weekend,” he said.
“You’re kidding,” Ryan said, “We just made plans an hour ago.”
The neighbor looked like he understood that we were letting him down gently, which we weren’t. I had just messed up The Plan and it was coming back to haunt me. So, Ryan quickly counter-offered and we agreed on next weekend just in time for the catchy theme song to start playing and the credits to start rolling, ending yet another episode of our life as we know it. If we could have thrown in a pratt fall somewhere, we’d totally be on our way to an Emmy.