My wife and I took our daughter, son and one of our daughter’s friends to The Muppets last night. After the movie, we went out for dinner. We sat adjacent to a man and woman in their mid-twenties. From where I was sitting I could look across our table and right at them. I couldn’t hear them but they were clearly on a date, almost certainly their first: they ate small bites and used napkins after nearly each one, she nodded as he spoke, each of them smiled often, he tried not to look at her cleavage, she tried not to say, “You look just like Freddie Prinze, Jr.!” and so on. There were a few uncomfortable pauses but it looked like they were really hitting it off.
Now listen: I did not spend the entire evening staring at the young lovebirds. In fact, I would say I was very “present” at our table. My daughter and her friend sat at one end of the table and colored, talked and giggled. I looked their way often and smiled every time. Our son entertained my wife and I by coloring- sometimes even on his paper- and by pointing out the restaurant’s decorations and fixtures. “Light!” “Tree!” “Moon!" (It was a crescent-shaped light. Close enough.)
I came to see the dating couple as my wife and I- they were the age we were when we began dating/got engaged, which you will recall happened essentially together. I felt a bit like a wise old man, looking around the dinner table at what he had created. And I thought if I could have said something to the daters it would have been this: “Look at our table here; this could be you in ten years. If you’re insanely lucky.”