Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Better Off On Their Own

For some reason, my husband and I never have had much luck when it comes to “double dating” with other couples. As a result, we tend to go a lot of places alone. Somehow it just seems a lot easier that way.

Take, for example, the night one of my husband’s old childhood buddies called to invite us to join him and his new girlfriend for dinner and a movie. We thought it sounded like fun, so we agreed.

The guy and his date arrived at our house at about six o’clock that Saturday night. After the introductions were made, the two of them sat on our sofa, stared lovingly into each other’s eyes, and then began to passionately kiss each other. My husband and I silently sat there, feeling extremely awkward, for the next 20 minutes as the couple, oblivious to anything other than their kissing, completely ignored us.

“Uh, can I get you anything?” I finally interrupted. “A drink? A snack?”

“A crowbar?” my husband added. “A bucket of water?”

They didn’t hear a word we said.

As it turned out, my husband and I were so hungry, the sound of our stomachs growling began to disturb our dog, so we left, went to a fast-food restaurant for burgers and came back…and the lip-locking duo never even realized we’d been gone.

Another time, we made plans to go to Old Orchard Beach on a Saturday night with a young married couple (I will call them “Todd” and “Julie”) who lived across the street from us. Todd told us to be ready at four o’clock sharp, so we arrived on their doorstep at 3:59. That’s when Julie informed us that Todd had decided to lie down for a nap at 3:30. She said he was so tired, she was going to let him sleep for a while.

So my husband and I sat there and waited…until Mr. Snoozy finally rolled out of bed at 5:00. Then he made us wait another 45 minutes while he shaved and showered and had his wife iron a shirt for him. If we’d have been smart, we’d have told them to just forget about it and gone off without them, but no, we were too polite (or too chicken) to open our mouths. And little did we know that the night was about to get even worse.

Just as the four of us finally were leaving, their telephone rang. “Let the answering machine pick it up,” Julie said, her hand on the doorknob.

The message, however, made her stop dead in her tracks. The caller was a sultry-voiced woman who identified herself as Lisa, saying she’d had a great time with Todd the night before and was wondering why he hadn’t called her.

“No wonder he’s so tired today,” my husband whispered to me out of the corner of his mouth.

Within seconds, we felt as if we had ringside seats at a World Wrestling Federation event. Todd and Julie launched into such a shouting match, birds out in their yard flew away in terror.

“I swear, it was just a wrong number!” Todd insisted.

“Don’t hand me that, you lying sleaze!” Julie screeched. “Sure, you were working late last night! HA!”

My husband and I would have crept out of their house and then bolted back home, but unfortunately, they were blocking the doorway. Then suddenly, in the middle of all of the yelling, Todd turned to us and said, “Come on, let’s get going or we’ll never get to the beach!”

We just stood and stared at him. “Um, I think we’ll take a rain check,” I said, forcing a weak smile.

“We’re still going and that’s all there is to it!” Todd snapped. “Now go get into the car!”

Like fools, my husband and I obediently climbed into the back seat of Todd’s car…and suffered through the longest ride of our lives. Todd stared straight ahead and drove without uttering a single word for the entire 80 miles, while Julie leaned against the passenger door, her arms folded, and sulked. And when we finally arrived at the beach, after what seemed like 100 years, Julie refused to walk on the same side of the street as Todd because she didn’t want to be anywhere near him.

Having my appendix removed would have been more fun.

And then there was the drive-in movie we went to with yet another couple. Twenty minutes into the first movie, the woman’s contact lens fell out, and she spent the next hour frantically searching for it...with the car’s overhead light on. My husband and I ducked down in the back seat because people in nearby cars kept glaring at us and loudly saying things like, “I wish those idiots would kill their lights!”

Just the other night, an old high-school friend of mine called to chat. “You haven’t even met my new husband!” she said. “The four of us will have to get together some night and go out to dinner.”

I’m pretty sure I’m going to have the flu that night.

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