Friday night was the first official outing with Wine Guy and my mom, or Mama Jack as I fondly call her. If you recall (see "The Yentas are Watching" entry if you missed it), they actually first met very early on in our dating because we happened to all have theater tickets on the same day. But, as I made clear to them both at the time, this was by no means the "official" parental introduction. So Friday was the first, you-me-and-my mom orchestrated event. The plan was to meet for dinner, then go to see a play at a local theater.
I couldn't tell who, if anyone, was more nervous - my mom, Wine Guy or me. As terrific and fun as Mama Jack is, I have learned since I've become a "grown up" that she is actually somewhat shy. And I'm realizing that Wine Guy is as well. Shyness is a trait I do not understand. I mean, I understand it intellectually, but I simply cannot grasp the way it must feel. It must be something far worse that I imagine if it is so overwhelming of a feeling that you can't simply decide to "get over it" when you need to.
I wish I could understand it. It would make my life a lot easier if I could fundamentally "get" why someone would be resistant to going somewhere with a group of people they don't really know. Instead, when I sense this kind of resistance from Wine Guy, my mom, or other shy people, I tend to think it must be because of some underlying reason that, of course, has to do with me (self-absorbed, anyone?). Or something else more sinister than shyness that keeps them from enthusiastically saying, "Sure! That sounds fun!"
Anyway, this may seem like a digression, but as I typed it I realized that it actually just helped me answer my earlier question. Clearly, I was the most nervous of the three of us. That must be why I was so surprised during the car ride and the first half of dinner when both of them seemed so, well, normal. The conversation flowed, jokes were made, everyone seemed generally at ease. I actually didn't even notice how normal it seemed until Wine Guy got up to use the bathroom and my mom turned to me with an excited smile and said. "He is SO nice! What a genuine person...."
That reaction struck me..."Oh yeah. They just met, didn't they?" I then began to realize just how relaxed my mom was during dinner. No nervous smile and stiff nodding of head at whatever he said, no awkward, "So, where did you grow up?" kind of questions. It felt pretty good to think that the two most important people in my life might not just tolerate, but actually like each other.
Unfortunately, Wine Guy has speedy urination habits because that was pretty much all we had a chance to say before he came back. The play ("Arcadia" by Tom Stoppard) was intense and brilliant, and that pretty much occupied the rest of the conversationAnother terrific sign. How many men (in San Diego no less, a bit of an intellectual wasteland) would not just appreciate this kind of play but genuinely LOVE it, stating as the lights came up for the first intermission, "This is the most amazing play I've ever seen." It had a little bit of everything - science, philosophy, art, physics, spirituality, love and - as Wine Guy humorously pointed out - landscape architecture. I knew my mom was sold on him when they started gabbing about the intricacies of the play while everyone else in the theater got up to relieve their bladders.
This has been a really busy weekend (I got Wine Guy to play volleyball and tennis - both of which he picked up very quickly and, even better, seemed to enjoy and want to do more of!), so my mom and I still haven't had a chance to debrief on the mother-daughter-Wine Guy date. In fact, I think I'll call her right after I hit "publish" and get her full review. Especially before she reads this so I don't get a biased response. Hopefully I'm right. Otherwise, you will certainly read a correction here shortly. Though I can't imagine that she would not have adored him.
Stay tuned for more details about Wine Guy, a few of my war buddies' recent injuries on the dating battlefield (some more serious than others), and even a flashback to my engagement to Only Child that never was (but is worth a retelling)!
Happy 4th of July!