Shortly before I came back to college, my parents went on a date. When Dad arrived home from work to pick Mom up and found himself in the midst of the chaos that is our family (we're a bunch of odd ducks, we are) he made a comment about this not being a standard picking-up-my-date experience.
It got me thinking about what is a standard dating experience. From what I gather, a "date" can take a variety of forms, but it always involves going out, to the point where "going out" is virtually a synonym. You go out to a restaurant to eat, you go out to a movie theater to see a movie...I'm sure there are lots of other things you could do. It doesn't seem to matter, as long as you're going out.
I've been in a relationship for over 9 months now, and if memory serves I've been on a date once. Maybe twice, if you count the time the Cobbler and I went to a restaurant and a play with my parents, sister, and grandmother.
The other one was over Christmas break, when one of our mutual friends (who is dating the Cobbler's best friend) came to the Cobbler's hometown for a visit, and I came to visit, and the four of us went out. (The two others are bloggers as well, but I won't refer to them by their blog personas because I don't know if they've come out as a couple yet.) It was utterly delightful, but at the same time I found myself oddly...lonely, I guess. I missed the Cobbler's family. Some of the most utterly delightful dinners of my life have been had while sitting around their kitchen table, with his siblings laughing and joking and generally just being a bunch of energetic kids. (His parents are utterly delightful too, though not quite as entertaining.)
Now, don't get me wrong. I'd love to go out with the Cobbler again (of course, I just plain would love to be in the same room with him again) and I'd jump at the chance for another double-date with Those We Do Not Speak Of. But I'd also love to just go to his house and spend an evening with his family. There's a few reasons for this: Firstly, they're dears. I'd want to spend time getting to know them better even if the Cobbler were just my friend. Secondly, they're my potential future in-laws, the grandparents and aunt and uncles of my potential future children. I have to evaluate whether my offspring will be spoiled properly. And thirdly, they're his family, and thus an essential part of who he is...but that's the topic for another post.