"Don't tell anyone," she said, "but I have a date."
"You do? With who?" I asked her.
"Just this guy, he's kind of friends with my friends, I don't know."
"Sounds good," I said, "but why so hush-hush?"
"Because," she explained, "I don't want to jinx it."
Makes sense. I guess.
New couples are always fascinating to me, and by couples I'm talking about people who are actually together, actually on the way towards itemhood, actually looking at some kind of potential in the other beyond the next meal or the next sleepover. (There are other terms for those last two and I'll let you insert your favorite here.)
Think of those early times together. When is anyone ever again so fascinated by what someone else has to say? When else could the smallest things become grounds for a person investing so much hope in another person?
One friend was sold by the fact that the girl he had dinner with liked Old Style as much as he did.
Another was convinced that her new guy's love of '70's rock was a sign that he was something different.
Yet another swore that the girl he'd been set up with must be the one he was destined to spend the rest of his life with, because she also cited The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for Super Nintendo as one of her biggest influences in life.
Old Style? Video games? "Hair of the Dog" by Nazareth? Is this what we're putting our hopes into? The casual observer might say that if these are the things determining the future of our species, we're all surely doomed.
I respectfully disagree.
In all honesty, what else do we have to hold on to in anyone else? Where else is there to start?
How many people lament the fact that things would be okay if they could just find someone who was as into [insert defining interest here] as they are? Reading, science, art, music, computers, travel, antiques, Dungeons & Dragons...the lamentations are almost endless.
Judging by my friends' comments, it seems the hope runs just about as strong as the list runs deep. All things start somewhere, they say, so why not with cheap beer and sleazy rock anthems? Even if someone has only that shred of possibility to cling to today, chances are that's more than they had yesterday - and I always thought that was the whole point.
As for my friend going on that secret date? It turned out they both loved the Bears and the Sox, so overall it went well.
And no, I didn't tell anyone. But I'm sorry to say that the secret is long since out; this past weekend, two years after that night out, they were married under the smiling eyes of those of us who knew all along that they would.