Last month, I accepted an invitation from an old college friend to come to dinner at her place. I’d just found out that I did not, in fact, have ovarian cancer but the scare had made me realize that I really value our friendship, even though we don’t see each other all that often, and that it was high time that I finally made it out to see her new apartment.
Having missed the housewarming party, I stopped by the liquor store to purchase two bottles of wine: one to accompany the salmon she was going to prepare and one to be saved for a special occasion. It was, I’m rather embarrassed to admit, the first time I’d gone to dinner at a friend’s house since last summer and I was determined to make a lovely time of it.
I didn’t know what to expect. This particular friend of mine met her boyfriend on Match.com (I blame her/them for the past year’s excess) and after several months of the whole long distance thing, they decided to move in together.
Now I have plenty of friends who’ve gotten married and even a few who’ve have kids but this was the first time I’d witnessed the entire process, from “winking” to dating to moving in together. I had no idea how they’d gone about melding their lives (not to mention their stuff) but I feared it would be very boring and practical and full of chore charts and arguments over closet space.
Well, I was wrong. Once again.
The loft was adorable— all full of plants, Tibetan prayer flags, yoga paraphernalia and maps.
“Are these all the places you guys have gone together?” I asked, pointing to the pins scattered across a floor-to-ceiling rendering of South America.
“No,” she replied, “They’re all the places we want to go.”
I hadn’t expected that. Who knew you could “settle down” and still travel the world? My parents did it but the majority of my peers seem to forget about the rest of the world when they find “The One.”
It’s always been a fantasy of mine to travel abroad with a man I love. I did it once, at seventeen, but we were kids really, and a few days scattered across the youth hostels of Western Europe hardly counts—especially because I was still very much a “good girl” at the time and spent each night alone on a bunk in one of the female dorms.
As such, I couldn’t believe that here my friend was cooking dinner in her very own kitchen (three pieces of salmon, so that there’d be one left for her boyfriend when he got home from work) and still planning trips to South America. I never considered that domestic bliss (complete with cathedral ceilings) could be combined with wanderlust.
Eventually, her boyfriend came home from work, helped himself to a piece of salmon and perched on the counter in the kitchen so as to join in our conversation without completely inserting himself into our girl talk. (Nicely done.)
“How’s the dating going?” he asked.
I had to laugh; the last time we saw each other, I was still smarting over Date #4’s refusal to come to my dinner party and obviously a lot’s changed since then. Also, during said dinner party, I had gotten pretty tipsy so when my friend went downstairs to use the restroom, I lost no time in telling her new boyfriend that I liked him “tons more” than the last one.
By the time we finished our salmon and moved onto dessert, in fact, I was green with envy. Granted, if I moved out and attempted to set up house on my own, I’d inadvertently kill any and all of the plants my mother would so lovingly bestow upon me (I killed an aloe in college. Who kills an aloe? They’re like the easiest plants ever!) but still—it would be nice to reach the point of actually moving in with someone, wouldn’t it?
For those of you who’ve taken the plunge (married or not), how does it actually feel? Is co-habitation all it’s cracked up to be? And if not, what surprised you the most?
PS: And while you’re thinking about it, please vote! It only takes a few seconds and you don’t have to sign up for anything or enter your contact info, just click 🙂