The Legend of Heather and My First Date is a story that is told often since it's the kind of thing that leads to marriages and tales for years and years later. You can read about that HERE (and yes, it's definitely worth reading!). While it's not "romantic" in that traditional sense, its combination of the Vince Vaughn movie Fred Claus, sugar free candy, nervousness, Match Dot Com, bad computer dating advice, sickness, and music somehow led us to a third date, but due to a minor fender bender that Heather was involved in, we never had a second date.
Today, we did.
That date was supposed to involve bowling, but since a snow-related accident left Heather sore, it wasn't possible to have a proper date that night, and though we still spent the evening together, we never had that date.
Now, after 10 years, we went with her brother Keith, his wife Karen, and his daughter Kendall, as well as her friends, to a bowling alley for her 7th birthday.
Now mind you, I haven't been bowling in a while, so I'm not rolling strikes or spares, but we did have a lot of fun doing our best to make the game respectable. Granted, a 76 isn't Kingpin or braggable, but I'm sure with a couple (dozen) games, I could break 125 again.
A lot of our relationship as of lately isn't about the big things. As I said, we do a lot of Groupon dates going to things like glow in the dark mini golf, ice skating, stained glass creation, and fishing for glorified minnows, but no matter what we do, it's always a good time (as Carly Rae Jepson and Owl City sing).
In the end, it's not the expense of the date. Most times, expense leads to lack of fun anyway. I can remember a first date nearly 2 decades ago where the gal and I ended up at a fancy restaurant (her choice), and she wasn't holding back on my expense with the things she was ordering, though I went with a burger to offset things.
In the "getting to know you stages," it's supposed to be about the conversation and mutual connection - not cost. Besides, in my time on computer dating sites, there were a lot of women that refused to be paid for out of a fear that they would be seen as "owing" something for it. Others insisted on coffee shop first dates to keep things slow and humble. I understood, and so I never minded. As for me, I felt the chivalry thing to at least do the first reach for the check, but when it comes to expectations like those from the Princess of Clinton, New Jersey, at the get go, there seems to be a sense of dating one of the Real Housewives of Hell, which clearly meant no interest in a second date.
In the end, I guess I'm a lot like Billy Joel. "I just want someone that I can talk to... I (want to) love you just the way you are."
In the end, I'm happy to have a wife who isn't too full of herself that she won't do the alligator roll down! I'm happy that she's more concerned about fun than the number she ends up with.
I'm happy to have a wife who doesn't mind my drop leg / weird walk or inability to come off as some athletic prize jock on her arm, especially when I don't bowl strikes, throw touch downs, dunk basketballs, hit homers, or push weight after racing like I'm Usain Bolt. I'm even happier to sit here looking at a room full of pictures and memories that have happened since our first date.
And even if the revised second date is an appearance at a 7-year old's birthday party with bowling and Chili's (man, those Crispers are some fine chicken! You don't need to go all out on me to put the yum into it!), it's a good feeling to think of the past, present, and future of where we and I fit into all things as we spend time with her side of the family.
And so, yes, even if those first dates are done, there are still plenty of date nights and romantic getaways to enjoy! What would life be without experiences like that with Heather?!!
Here's to life, love, and the good things.
If you're reading this, I wish you the same joy.