But what about a viewpoint from the other side?
I vividly recall when my man and I met our daughter’s boyfriend for the first time. She was so particular throughout most of her 20’s that a guy never made it to the stage of meeting us. But now, she’s invited us to meet someone over drinks and pasta.
“Of course we’ll like him,” I pant as I try to keep up after we’ve parked the car and he races toward the restaurant. I rein him in with a hug. We stroll for a while in silence, past the Old North Church and Quincy Market, licking snowflakes off our trembling lips. I don’t let him know that I’m just as worried.
If the guy is arrogant or loud, too handsome for his own good or not good enough for our daughter…
Our pace speeds to warm up, but I remark out loud, “We need to slow down or we’ll be early.”
“Good. Let’s see if he’s late. If he’s late, I won’t like him,” my daughter’s father says. I just shake my head, squashing the impulse to pull him back by his ears like an errant boy.
Because secretly, I agree.
We reach the restaurant -one of her date’s favorites, Nadine has told us.
A line meanders outside the door. “Too crowded,” my man grumbles, “we’ll never get in.”
I’ve been married long enough to know what my guy is thinking as he surveys the room: too packed, too noisy. I lower my eyes and examine Dan the Date through my eyelashes – tall, lean, good-looking with a nervous smile. Ah, he’s adorable.
We all sit down. The table of six behind us bellows with laughter. My man winces. Dan waves the waiter over immediately and orders a bottle of cabernet. I hold my breath, waiting for my guy to explain that he prefers a different red.
The waiter appears with a large platter of antipasto with savory pink mortadella, large chunks of white mozzarella squares, and shiny strips of marinated red peppers and green eggplant. The four of us eat and sip our wine. I ask questions about Dan’s work- a lawyer; his parents – teachers; his siblings – he’s an only child. Nadine tells us a story about their first date and we all laugh, including my man, who still can’t hear a word.
Our entrees arrive. I’ve ordered the sautéed chicken and spinach at Dan’s recommendation. My favorite meal here, he says. That’s why he’s so lean, I think, watching the others chew on luscious morsels of gnocchi.
I savor every single bite of my green, fresh-as-a-daisy spinach. I have a thing about spinach. I love it like most women love chocolate on a snowy night. Spinach is the elixir of the soul for me. When I was pregnant with Nadine, I’d go to the grocery store and buy 10 boxes of frozen spinach every other day. I couldn’t eat enough of it.
Now, I peer over at Dan. He’s eating his spinach like it’s rack of lamb, filet mignon, and beer, all rolled into one.
He smiles at me, and I smile back, inwardly breathing a motherly sigh of relief.
Yes, this could work out nicely.
I squeeze my guy’s knee under the table, and he grimaces back. He’s worried about what he’s been smiling and agreeing to all evening, knowing he’ll have to wait to find out.
When we drive home in the dark of night, stomach full and parental concern relieved, I’ll fill him in.
But I don’t think I’ll tell him about the spinach.
He would never understand that with that one green leafy meal, I know Dan is the man for my girl.