After much tribulation we made a second attempt at a first “date” and set a time to go night skiing.
My family lives in an area of the province known as the snow belt. There are several ski hills in the area, and my parents happened to be friends with a couple that worked at one. They invited our family to attend a ‘friends & family night’ to go skiing for free, which they excitedly accepted. My parents invited me, and I in turn invited M.
…and my male best friend B. To go on a date / meet my entire family at the same time. No pressure.
I asked B to come with me for three reasons:
- After learning about his accident, I didn’t want to ask M to drive to the ski hill as it was roughly 1.5 hours away, and we’d be coming back in the dark.
- I was still really unsure about where M stood with me. After he cancelled our last date, I worried that he’d only accepted my invitation to be nice. If the date was a bust, I wanted someone there that I knew I’d have fun with.
- My family LOVES B. He is one of the kindest and funniest people I know, and I knew that regardless of how things went with me + M + my family, he’d make it fun.
I have no regrets about inviting B that night. If he hadn’t come with me, the night would probably have been much less of a disaster… but it was the disaster element of the date that really pushed M and I together.
…and B loves to take credit for that.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s go back to the beginning, shall we?
On the day of the ski trip M got a ride to my university residence sometime in the late afternoon. I am a Northern Ontario girl at heart, and as I was going skiing, I dressed for the occasion in the winter gear I had with me on campus. We had really only seen each other a handful of times until this point, and each time I was dressed to go out– hair and make-up done with a carefully chosen outfit.
That day it didn’t even occur to me to try to look nice as I knew I’d probably get dirty or messy while skiing, so I came out to greet him with no make-up, my curly lion hair untamed and undone in an old over sized sweatshirt. The only outdoor clothing I had that was ski-appropriate was what we now lovingly call my “Green Giant” outfit: a pair of forest green slush pants with a matching jacket, and my Napoleon Dynamite winter boots for the cherry on top.
(Once upon a time, as I was diversifying my skill set, I felt it might be important to know the entire Napoleon Dynamite dance from start to finish. I practiced and memorized the entire thing, and found a pair of winter boots that looked JUST like his iconic boots in the movie at a thrift store. Paired with grey joggers and a “Vote for Pedro” shirt some friends made me, we were basically twins. I performed the dance once at a YSA activity before retiring… but I kept the boots. Which I obviously decided to wear on my first date.)
This is the only picture I have of it, and it was taken after we had been dating for a month or so. It’s a little creased as it lived in M’s wallet for over a decade.
M, B, my Green Giant suit and I piled into B’s car and headed north. We stopped at my parents house on the way to the ski hill, and looking back now I can imagine how awkward or uncomfortable that must have been for him. My family already knew and loved B, who fit in immediately with the loud and crazy dynamic of my big family.
As M met my parents and siblings he was friendly and polite, but quiet. What my sister initially perceived as “standoffish” when she met him that night was just M feeling a little shy and overwhelmed by my family… which he was also meeting on his first date with me. Having grown up in the happy chaos that is five siblings, I sometimes forget that not everyone comes from a big family, and we can be a little intense.
M comes from a quiet family of four and has only one sibling. They are calm and enjoy activities of a quieter nature. My family, on the other hand, is… loud. I have three brothers and two sisters and we all get along really well. Whenever we are together there is usually little personal space and a lot of laughter and noise. We are intensely competitive and fiercely protective of one another, unless someone else is winning at Uno or Mexican Train.
Then the gloves come off.
In short, meeting my family was a bit of an adjustment for M, particularly as he was still only just getting to know me.
After “gathering the troops” we all headed over to the ski hill to get outfitted with our rental gear.
This part of the story is important.
I, recognizing that it had been a while since I had last been on a ski hill, chose regular skis with poles for extra balance. My sister L, who was an inexperienced skier, chose the same, as did most of my other siblings who were there. M and my little brother J decided to try snowboarding.
B, wanting to be extra adventurous, chose ski blades without poles.
After getting our gear, we all headed out to the hill together. We initially had no intention of separating, but I could tell that L was nervous as it was her first time on skis. We started off on the kiddie hills to get our bearings, but J & M quickly got bored and went off in search of something a little bigger. Despite it being his first time on snow blades, B also quickly got bored and wandered off.
I stayed with L, and before long she and I made our way to the ski lift and began to enjoy the slopes–with M or B no where in sight.
Little did we know that before the end of the night one of us would end up with a concussion…
…but that’s another story. ;)