Friday, January 18, 2013

Booby Traps

<Scene: enter Elmer Fudd, dressed in his brown hunting gear, complete with ridiculous hat>
Elmer: Shhhhhh, I'm hunting wabbits. . . .

(three, two, one) SHA-PING! He's caught by the ankle in a rope snare and whipped up by the poor sapling he used, only to dangle helplessly mid air as Bugs Bunny inevitably asks

"Ehh, What's up doc?"

What plays in my head when I hear booby trap.  Well, after the thirteen year old me finishes snickering.

Dating is full of booby traps.  They are different than minefields.  Booby traps are ones that we know are there and yet manage to get caught in any way, a la Elmer Fudd. [I know that technically booby traps can be and often are hidden, thinking specifically of the Vietnam War, but they never really are in the cartoons.] Mines are the ones we didn't know were there or see them but when we bump them they blow up in our faces.  Today's musing is booby traps (heh, heh).
This time of year is booby trap city.  It starts with Thanksgiving really, I suppose. Thanksgiving and Christmas are both family holidays.  Therefore, if you are still early on in dating someone, as I think I kind of am (more on that in the next blog), there is usually at least one awkward conversation about meeting family.  Are you coming to my family thing? Me to yours? It's difficult to meet your partners family for the first time at Thanksgiving or Christmas because A) there is likely to be more family around than just the usual clan, B) there are all kind
of traditions and family must-dos to wade through, C) there's alcohol, which even if you don't over drink, someone else might and an embarrassing encounter with Uncle Ed is the last thing you want to be your first impression.

I've kind of been dating someone and we somehow skated through the November-December holidays without issue.  It helped that I was out of town for Thanksgiving, hence making it a moot point. For Christmas he had a ton of familial obligations with all kind of family so I (perhaps slightly less than delicately) told him to go do his family thing and I'd see him after Christmas for New Years.

Another booby trap.  We did make New Year's Eve plans.  It's the first time I've had a "date" for NYE in  . . . uh . . counting. . .well, hmmmm . . . anyway. Dinner, a show, a midnight kiss.  No friends around to mingle with, just us so it was easy really. I did meet a couple of his friends the day before and I think I passed.  It was good that we were at a Seahawks game which provided ample distraction and gave us all a common cause.  Otherwise meeting the friends can turn into a grilling.

Whew, you're thinking you've missed the booby traps by making it into the new year.  Silly you.  Target started putting out Valentine's Day decorations two days after Christmas just to remind you that another, and potentially the biggest booby trap is around the corner. Valentine's Day can be tough even for established couples.  If you are dating, eeeeekkkkkkk.  Are we making plans? If so, how serious? Gifts? Again, how serious? There's all this pressure from society to give in and do flowers and cards and chocolates and stuffed bears and jewelry and lingerie and aaaaaaaggggghhhhhh.  I believe, as many do, that Valentine's is a crock of consumerism BS concocted to get us to by stuff in the post-holiday lull.  I haven't had Valentine's plans in, well, about as long as I haven't had NYE plans.
I've sort of managed to sidestep this one too I think.  I'm scheduled to be out of town for work on the actual day.  Since I'll be home for the weekend and then gone again, we sort of assume we'll see each other.  The catch is the gift/no-gift (which also comes up at Christmas).  I don't want V-Day to be an overblown awkward incident.  Let's just make awesome plans like we do on so many other weekends and call it good.  Flowers would be nice but that is plenty sufficient.

Not too long after Valentine's Day is my birthday. Again, we're back to gift/no gift. Gifts always are fraught with tension.  Was is personal enough but not too over the top or was it dreadfully generic? Did one person spend obviously more than the other? Was one gift a sign of taking things to the next level?  Did one person not get a gift to give? Stress central. With this particular guy, his birthday is about two weeks after mine, so we do this dance all over again.

Thank goodness for holidays like Arbor Day and Independence Day. They might be my new favorites, along with Memorial Day and Labor Day of course.

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