I’m something of a hopeless romantic. But don’t mistake me for the crying-over-When-Harry-Met-Sally type (though I’ve always had a thing for Meg Ryan). No, I fall clumsily into the I’d-like-to-be-romantic-but-I’m-hopeless camp.
It’s just one of my blind spots, like tennis, that I just can’t seem to figure out. Because I try, I really do — like when my wife and I went to Las Vegas for our sixth wedding anniversary.
We had taken an early morning flight, and the sun was breaking over the horizon in the most picturesque way. The flight attendant had just served us some granola and yogurt for breakfast. Inspired by it all, I said, “I really love …”
My spontaneity must have elevated the pitter-patter of my wife’s heart, which overtook her senses, because she didn’t hear the rest of my sentence. So she reached for my hand and asked me to repeat it. “What did you say?” she said, turning toward me with a glimmer in her eyes.
“I really do love yogurt,” I said. “We should buy it more often.”
“Oh, sure.” There was a pause. Maybe she was filing my request away to the grocery-list portion of her brain, I guessed. “I thought you said, ‘I really love you,’ ” she said, a bit deflated.
“Oh.” I had let my feelings for bacteria-fermented dairy ruin the moment.
“I do love you,” I said, but it was too late.
And it’s not just the big things. Even for date night, it can be difficult for me to come up with something new. While I’d say my wife and I have a better-than-average social life for a couple with three kids, I have been told (by one half of that pairing and my 18-year-old babysitting daughter) that I may have vastly overestimated that assessment. Still, this job helps.
We’ve attended the opening night of new restaurants (Marble Room) and seen the premiere of plays (Great Lakes Theater’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Covering the city has introduced us to Jukebox’s Tuesday vinyl night and brunch at Touch Supper Club. Over the holidays, we even tried duckpin bowling at Tremont’s Hi & Dry followed by a late-night bite at Prosperity Social Club.
But most nights when we go out, it’s something comfortable: beers at Platform Beer Co. or dinner at the Plum. Home by 11 p.m.
We can do better. I hope our “52 Great Dates,” with a year’s worth of ready-made nights perfect for discovering our city and each other, makes it a little bit easier, whether you’re a candy-carrying romantic or just plain hopeless like me.