Saturday, January 21, 2006


Dating your spouse

Much ink has been spilled on advice about how to keep long-term relationships fresh, often featuring "dating" tips. Wear sexy clothes, wrap yourself in plastic wrap, goop each other up with massage oils. Light candles, make quality time to stare into each other's eyes with the kids stashed away at grandma's house.

I don't have advice about this. My sense is that most of this stuff doesn't work that well. B and I, for example, have tried meeting each other at a bar and pretending we just met, but I found it too difficult to stay in role. It seems to me that the hot, chocolatey endorphin-rush of dating and falling for a new person is difficult-to-impossible to recreate in a long term relationship, and that couples substitute for that by setting up shared experiences that are inherently stimulating or exciting, like travel, hiking, theatre-going, or the high-tension world of competitive bridge.

Yet every now and then something just works. Last night we had a fabulous date. Generically speaking, it was dinner and dancing. But that doesn't really do it justice.

First of all, we did dancing before dinner. I find it much better to dance on an empty stomach, and I don't understand how anyone can do it the other way around.

And it was ballroom dancing -- mostly foxtrot to Glen Miller. We had something of a breakthrough in the boy-has-to-"lead" thing, which I've always found to be the most challenging aspect of ballroom dancing. We were so in synch that we deftly glided around a dance floor that was shaped like this:


The fact is that we were dancing at home, and had to navigate around furniture and walls.

This may sound weird, but I think I discovered the sexy in Glen Miller's big band sound. There's this throbbing beat, and then those trombones come in with their languid "whaah, whaah, w-o-w-w." Hot stuff!

Then we went to dinner. B likes walking places, and we walked a mile in the snow to (and from) the restaurant. A mile in the snow! Kind of a cross between a sophisticated urban setting and a country barn dance from a hundred years ago.

The restaurant was the Unbelievably Good French Place. Small plates of one delicacy after another. The home-made, thinly sliced deli meats looked like dark little communion wafers that allowed you to commune with the food gods as they dissolved on your tongue. And the foie gras -- which I can only describe visually as a jiggling bulb of fat -- seemed to have the capacity to transport you into another dimension of time and space, even as it quietly assaulted your arteries.

I said to B: "This is food is so good that -- if we had it in France, we'd say, 'isn't it great that we came to France so we could get food like this?' "

Okay, so I'd had some wine, but we were in the zone. The 20 minute walk back through the snow seemed like no time at all.

That's beautiful *sigh*

My favorite is when those nights carry over, and leave you feeling as if you're floating on Cloud 9 for days.
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