Dating the Brothers

(With apologies for the length of this post.)

It's funny... before I left for college my mom once admitted to me that her worst fear for us kids was that we'd go our separate ways and have nothing to do with each other. We've basically done the opposite. Four of the five of us came to Utah. We all lived in Provo. Now we all live in Salt Lake. And we'd give just about anything to have the fifth sibling out here with us. I prefer spending time with my siblings (and this includes my sister-in-law because she's as much a sibling as the brothers) more than spending time with anyone else. Basically a standard of measurement for the men I date is to want to spend the evening with my significant other rather than spend the evening with my siblings. When hanging out at a funeral with The Boy and El Senor sounds like more fun than spending the evening with the guy I'm dating, basically it's a good indication that the relationship should end. True story.

But I guess you can have too much of a good thing. Let's face it, I'm 26 and unmarried with no prospects. About six years ago, my dad sat down with me and told me that I needed to stop spending so much time with my brothers---I needed to actually go out and meet other people. Six years later, I'm still working on going out and meeting other people.

Tonight, after work, I met up with El Senor at REI to buy goo-filled, puncture-resistant tubes. We made it just in time for closing, and decided to grab dinner at Go Sushi, just down the road. When we were finished with our dinner, our waiter came to our table with the bill. It's always interesting to see what a server will do with a bill, because I know that the assumption is that we're NOT brother and sister. This waiter decided to take a direct approach and asked, "How would you like me to do the bill?" I immediately volunteered to pay because I'm just about to give El Senor the rent check anyway, so it would be easy for me to subtract his dinner from rent. But although the waiter asked confidently what to do with the check, he clearly didn't expect me to volunteer to pay it. At first he said nothing. Then he laughed. All the while, he looked frantically from me to El Senor, from El Senor to me, trying to see if it was a joke. It wasn't, though. Really, the girl was going to pay for the meal and that was just fine.

I have dating experiences like this with each of my brothers. I actually enjoy the fact that people assume I'm on a date with my brother. It makes the outing that much more fun. You'll understand why...

Dating Experiences with The Boy

My most recent date with The Boy was a trip to Red Iguana. Our after-meal experience was opposite to the one I just had with El Senor. I had cash, so I gave The Boy my half of the meal. He would put the whole bill on his card. But our waitress only dealt with me when sorting out the bill. For example, after we'd been waiting a long time to sign the bill and leave, the waitress came to our table and explained to me that their credit card machine wasn't working properly, so that's why it was taking so long. Several minutes later, she returned, gave me The Boy's credit card, and asked if I had another form of payment I could use. The Boy opened his wallet and paid cash for the meal. This is probably the only experience I've ever had where the server assumed that the woman was paying for the meal. (Maybe she thought we were married?)

Another great experience with The Boy was, of course, living with him while attending BYU. You may remember that I was assigned to be his home teaching companion. We also had several very confused ward members come to our door: "Oh. I'm sorry. I must be at the wrong house... I was looking for The Boy." I'd say, "The Boy lives here." They'd say, "I'm sorry---I thought you lived here." I'd say, "I live here, too." Then they'd be even more confused. This and similar situations repeated the whole time The Boy and I lived together. And it never got old.

Dating Experiences with Richie

Richie and I have fewer dating experiences because we've never really spent much of our adult lives living in the same city. But we have a precious couple. Like after his first year away at school in Southern Ontario. I hadn't seen him in months and the first evening we were able to see each other again, we were forced to go to a regional YSA dance. Neither of us liked to dance, and we weren't interested in meeting new people, so we went to a lobby couch to catch up. I suggested we play a game: See how long it takes for us to get in trouble. So he put his arm around me and I put my hand on his knee and we chatted like that for a few minutes. It wasn't long before a leader came across us. He looked at the two of us and looked at a girl down the hall chatting on the phone. "Is she your chaperone?" he sarcastically asked, pointing to the girl down the hall. I said, "Oh, we don't need a chaperone. This is actually my brother." Richie immediately chimed in, "Yeah, yeah. This is my SISTER. Ha ha!" The leader left perplexed, unsure about whether we were lying or telling the truth.

More recently, Richie and I went car shopping together. He wanted to bring me along to give him some legitimacy. Sure he had a hippie beard and hippie hair, but if he had a WIFE, the car dealers might take him seriously. I commented to him at one point that for young marrieds, we certainly weren't very touchy-feely. Richie said, "We got married when we were sixteen. It's been so long now that the love's basically died out."

Dating Experiences with El Senor

Other than tonight's experience, I particularly remember El Senor being the last of a few men who came out to visit my family in Maryland during the months after my mission. The first was a guy I dated but shouldn't have. The second was a guy I didn't date but should have. The third was a married family friend ("marriedin") staying with our family. The fourth was El Senor. As El Senor and I were sitting together in the YSA Sunday School, one class member commented to another, "Well, Cicada certainly wins the award for bringing the most guys home to meet her parents this summer."

Another date with El Senor that sticks out in my mind was a date to the Symphony back when we were both living in Provo. We were wearing our nice Symphony clothes. He picked me up and I figured out quickly in the car on the way up to SLC that El Senor wasn't in a very chatty mood. So we rode up to SLC in silence. Then we attended the Symphony and we didn't say anything to each other before the performance. During the intermission, we went into the reception area, stood with our arms folded, and continued to say nothing. After the performance, he asked if I wanted to go to the Red Iguana. We went and enjoyed a silent meal together. Nothing actually happened on that date, but during the whole thing, I wondered what people watchers would think of us. They'd think surely that the relationship was about to end.

Dating Experiences with Captain Fabuloso

Years ago, when Captain Fabuloso and I went to Calgary for a close family friend's wedding (the aforementioned "marriedin," though we knew his wife much better than we knew him back then) we spent the weekend meeting lots of different people. Every time we were introduced, we were introduced by our last name: These are the XXXXXXXXs. We didn't clue in till later that of course, everyone assumed that we were married. When one of us mentioned BYU, someone asked, "Is that where you two met?" Captain Fabuloso and I looked at each other and then CF said, "No... we've known each other a lot longer than that." I added, "We actually grew up together---we've known each other our whole lives." People thought that was just so sweet.

A year before that trip to Calgary, CF was in a ward whose bishop liked to fly hot air balloons. In an effort to get his ward members dating, he invited a different apartment each week to bring dates and have a balloon ride with him. CF, a dating wizard (just ask his wife), asked me to be his date. That was all well and good until the bishop found out that I was CF's sister and almost had a nervous breakdown, crying that he was doing all he could to marry off his ward members, but if the guys insisted on dating their sisters, no progress would ever be made.

And I guess he was right. As long as I keep dating my brothers, I'll make no real progress. But unless some guy measures up to the high standard my brothers have set, I won't be happy with him anyway, knowing that I'd rather be hanging out with my brothers than making out with him.


AzĂșcar said...

I loved this so much. I don't think you should have to compromise. Why shouldn't prospects meet those kind of standards?

daltongirl said...

Look on the bright side--maybe you'll meet someone like Captain Mom--uh, except, not a woman--and he'll fit right in just like another sibling. Then you can continue to confuse people by saying things about your husband like, "He's like a brother to me." They won't know how much of a compliment that really is.

bedelia said...

I think you are on to something. I was 27 when I got married. It was way worth the wait. Before dating my now-husband, I said to my mom, "I can't date him he's like a little brother." Who knew "little brothers" were great for marrying? Apparently, you know.

M. Paul Bailey said...

I remember that when we first met I thought you were dating The Boy. I was quite surprised the first time I came over to your house and met The Boy in his PJs.

spart said...

Maybe I should just marry the Boy. This would serve three purposes: one - it would make your grandpa very happy. Two - it would be really fun. Three - it would shrink your dating pool, thus forcing you to date non-family members. You know, we could pull a switch. I think I might just have a brother or two that we could exchange for dating purposes...

Squirrel Boy said...

Mmm. I haven't been to the Red Iguana in forever. I should go again sometime.

A Dave I Know said...

Very funny. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Especially the story about getting caught on the couch with your brother. So I have kept my word now and commented on your blog within a week. I just figured out how to comment on it after consulting with Spart. I think deleting your facebook acct before the end of the 7th day expired was premature (Sunday to Sunday should count as a week).

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristeee said...

So funny. My older brother and I used to get that all that time, so we'd play fight in the checkout line at grocery stores and sometimes gross people out by whispering sweet nothings across a table at each other. Hehe. The only times I've been slightly offended were when people assumed that I was my DAD's wife. I never thought that was too funny.

Why don't your brothers just pick someone for you to marry?

Saule Cogneur said...

I'm sure none of your brothers have Spongebob sheets, so you are right, I have indeed lost this battle.

Nicholas said...

You know, your dating experiences in Salt Lake reminded me of a time I had an awkward dinner with friends at some Italian place up there. Sure, two of them were married, but me and my date were just going along to make fun of them and get a free meal out of it. Yet, for whatever reason our waitress assumed that we were not just two couples enjoying a meal together, but getting ready to enjoy much more than that after dinner. As she brought back our drinks, she mixed up whose glass was whose, and, rather than even giving us new straws, she simply said, "Oh what's the difference...y'all are gonna be sharing body fluids later anyways," and left it at that. I think that was our last time getting together and for sure my last time at that establishment.

Cicada said...


RRRRRRRRRRR you serious? First of all, you did get together with that group again. Your married friends invited you and the girl to a gathering with other married friends of theirs. Talk about awkward. But as I recall, immediately after you and your under-duress-date won the board game everyone was playing, you both left pretty quickly.

Second of all, not only did the waitress bring back mixed-up drinks, I hear she referred to everyone there as a "foursome" which caused everyone to go into convulsive laughter.