The first time this happened was when we were dating. I scored tickets to see Bob Dylan live in concert. This was in the early eighties when Mr. Dylan had entered his eleventh of twelfth change in musical styles. His rendition of “Blowing in the Wind” could have easily appeared on any Police album of the day. Admittedly it was a concert lacking of, how should I put it, energy or enthusiasm or spark or interest, but my wife (who was my date at the time) actually dozed off.
Now, if you’re a guy reading this out there, you surely know that I felt supremely awful. The last thing that you want your date to do is fall asleep. I could hear the whispers of concertgoers seated around us. “Look at that, this fellow’s date fell asleep, how supremely awful for him.”
But our courtship survived this little faux-pas (this is French or Latin for guys feeling supremely awful), and we got engaged and married and had kids and everything. We have a wonderful marriage as evidenced by the fact that the falling asleep pattern established while we were dating survives to this day. For all you single guys out there, take this word of advice from a man who is long out of the dating scene, get comfortable with any patterns your potential life-mate exhibits while dating because as sure as cats are annoying pets bent on ruining your best furniture, these patterns will manifest themselves once you are married.
We rent movies Friday nights because there is even less television programming worth watching on Friday evenings than on regular nights. My wife usually lets me pick the movie because she knows that I will pick some guy flick like Starship Troopers or Aliens IIIV and she rests secure in the knowledge that she can catch up on the sleep that she has missed out on earlier in the week. She usually dozes off during the opening credits. But having her fall asleep on an entertainment outing, like the Dylan concert from long ago, requires much more effort.
The latest example occurred just today as a matter of fact. Feeling like I should do something nice for the family, I suggested we take the kids to a movie and then have pizza for dinner. My kids were immediately suspicious. “Why are you being so nice?” they asked. Like I’m some kind of ogre the rest of the time.
Being cautious of what passes for entertainment these days, I scanned the movie section for an appropriate family-oriented movie, something that doesn’t include swearing, nudity, grossness, teenagers, violence or bad attitudes. This is a difficult task, but I was up for the challenge, I was determined to be nice in spite of my kids’ skepticism. After hours of intensive research, I proudly announced that we were going to see Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, but we’d have to wait until tomorrow because now it was too late and the children had to go to bed.
So the next day, off we went to our local theater that serves popcorn in containers the size of boxcars. We merged into the knot of people attempting to purchase tickets and waited our turn to babble into the microphone secured in the plate glass window separating us from the cashier. You need this sort of security with the price of movie tickets these days. We settled into our seats to watch Jimmy and his pals rescue their parents from egg-shaped aliens that sounded like Captain Picard from the first next generation of Star Trek vehicles.
The movie was fun and I enjoyed it. The kids enjoyed it too. But much to my chagrin, I found my wife dozing peacefully next to me. I could hear the whispers of my fellow moviegoers seated around us. “Look at that, this poor fellow's wife has fallen asleep. How supremely awful for him.”
Nick Burn is a freelance writer, husband, father of three, engineer, teacher, and webmaster for the Canadian Catholic Information Network. In his spare time (hah!), he enjoys camping, skiing and reading.