(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.