A family friend had her birthday dinner tonight and my wife and I attended. We were one of five couples, and we were the second to last to arrive at the restaurant. Prior to our arrival, they had segregated by gender and there was a shuffling of seats to insert us into the divided tableau.
At first, I was seated at the DMZ between genders, which would have suited me well, but the birthday girl wanted my wife closer and I was banished to the far end of the male side of the table.
An interloper, there wasn’t much for me to do but put a brave face on it and try to blend in as much as possible. I interviewed my table mates as much as possible, drawing them out and hearing their stories as they were willing to share. It was a dull, tedious affair.
Around dessert time, my wife popped down next to me for a few moments and after surveying the conversational landscape whispered into my ear, “This is pretty boring down here.”
I whispered back, “Yes. Help.”
She returned to her seat, but others at her end were moving about and I saw my chance and bolted for an open chair at the other end. Seated now with the girls of contemporary middle age, I was able to simply converse. Nothing forced, no posturing, no gambits, just conversation. Blessed relief!
As Bacchus was amongst us the talk flowed here and there, and at one point the woman across from me asked, “You have such pretty hair. Has it always been that curly?”
And as vain as it sounds, that question made me feel like I belonged and made me feel good. The honesty of women is so different from the honesty of men. In my experience, women generally are about how things are and men are generally about what’s been done. Now versus the past.
I’ll take the now over the past any moment.