there comes a point in every relationship -- even the best relationship -- when a couple needs a little change. a fresh perspective. something new to share with one another. and to that end, A and i have recently decided to open up our relationship.
the double date: a classic courting ritual in which one couple shares the date of another and, in so doing, voyeuristically appreciates the quirks of a different relationship for a change.
on a beautiful evening in june, the cafe sidewalk tables and coffee shops of philadelphia were crowded with couples out for a coffee, a chat, or a romantic dinner together. and in midtown village, four young guys sat around a candlelit bistro table having a lovely time together. the martinis were dry, but the conversation never dried up. to someone at another table, it may have been difficult to determine who was on a date with who. that is, unless that person's vantage point allowed him or her to see the shy hand-holding going on underneath the table.
we've been doing it a lot lately -- double-dating, that is! occasionally planned; other times spontaneous, after we crossed paths with friends who were also wondering where to have dinner that night. but the group outings all share the same charm of over-stimulation and energetic conversation. like a normal date on speed. i happen to be in a relationship in which the conversation never dries up. we can talk or not talk for hours, and still find things to not talk about... but the dynamic of having a couple more people at our table only adds to the already fun time that i'm having.
for many, a dd is a way of getting feedback on a new relationship. for others, who may be in already stable relationships, it's a way of spicing up an evening and breaking bread with some new friends. but at the end of the night, as the two couples diverge at an intersection, it is inevitable that each pair will spend the rest of the journey home gossiping about the other. it's the equivalent of going on a first date and then, after parting ways, calling your best friend and analyzing out loud the events of the evening. the only difference is that, after a double, the friend with whom you want to analyze the evening is walking home right beside you.
i couldn't help but wonder: is a double date just a socially-approved way of dating outside your relationship? after all, it entails spending an evening laughing with, talking to, and getting to know someone new. someone other than your significant other.
fortunately, though, your real date is holding your hand under the table. and there's no question about getting a kiss at the end of the night. and, most likely, your real date is probably a sure thing. that's the beauty of opening up your still exclusive relationship.