Sex in Mayberry? Or is it Andy Grifith in the City…

I am all about contradictions. I see them everywhere. Especially in myself. The other day I was channel hopping between Sex and the City and the Andy Griffith show. I managed to watch two episodes of each and began to see a number of similarities. Let’s face it,  there were a number of differences as well. But overall I was surprised to see that two TV shows that at first glance have nothing in common actually have a lot in common. For example, in The Andy Griffith show you have two confirmed bachelors, Andy and Barney. Through the course of the show I don’t think that either of them marry but they have a number of girl friends.

In the episode I was watching Andy met a girl that he liked and his efforts at courting her were constantly thwarted by Barney’s bumbling efforts at helping him.  Andy wants to spend some time alone with this girl so that he can kiss her. It seemed that every way Andy turned there was Barney throwing a wrench in his plans. When Andy tells Barney that they have been going on double dates a lot and he thinks its time they spent some time alone, Barney thinks he wants to spend time alone with him and he calls his girlfriend to tell her that he can’t see her that night since he and Andy are going to have some guy time.

Finally, Andy just up and tells Barney that he wants to be alone with his girl, because he wants to talk to her, you know? He has some things he would like to say to her alone. Barney gives him that all knowing smile and a little friendly jab in the ribs that says he understands and then he proceeds to tell the whole town that Andy is planning to propose. Barney and the town plan a surprise party to celebrate with the couple. When the whole town intrudes on what was supposed to be a quiet relaxing date, Andy decides that he doesn’t even care anymore and he kisses his girl right there in front of half the town.

As I bounced back and forth between Sex and the City and The Andy Griffith Show there were several things that caught my attention.

First, some things apparently have changed over time. For example, the way we talk. Words like swell, dandy, fixin’, and courtin’, and the like just aren’t words that civilized folks use these days.

Also I noticed that Carrie and Samantha dress a little differently than Ellie and Thelma Lou. And lets not get started on names. Really? Thelma Lou, some things have definitely changed for the better!

As for the guys their fashion hasn’t really changed all that much. They wore a few more hats in the Andy Griffith show and I guess overalls are kind of a think of the past…

But when it comes to relationships I was surprised to see a lot of similarities. I watch Andy trying to ease his arm around Ellie’s shoulder, trying to get some time alone with her and I thought some things never change. I turned the channel and saw similar behavior on Sex and the City. Sure, once they made the moves things well… they moved…right into bed. Now there never was a bedroom scene in the Andy Griffith show unless you count Aunt Bea giving Opie a little Pep talk after his fight with the school bully but that hardly applies in this sense.

I saw Ellie and Thelma Lou working to get a commitment from the men, and I turned the channel to see Carrie complaining to Big about not having a key to his apartment.

So maybe I’m stretching the truth a little to say that they have a lot in common, but there were definitively some similarities. And although I know I haven’t seen every episode of either show I can’t for the life of me recall the main characters getting married, well, at least not staying that way.

Its not me…its you

So far most of my dating stories that I have shared, the date has been bad because of me. I hate to say it but its true. My lack of experience and my background kind of set me up for failure on that one. This next story…well lets just say it wasnt me. In fact I was impressed with how my own abilities had grown and that I was able to handle this date as well as I did. Here is my version of what happened.

For this story lets call him Brian.

So I got a home from work one evening and had a voice mail from a guy in my ward. His name was Brian. It was a rather corny message asking me if I wanted to go on a date with him. Kudos to him for calling out of the blue and asking like that. I have to admire that kind of proactive dating behavior whenever I see it. So of course I said yes, I didnt know him well, I had seen him and talked with him a couple of times so I thought it would be interesting to get to know him better.

On the phone he told me he didnt want to tell me what we were doing as it was a surprise but to dress as if I were going to a barn…but a nice barn. How does one dress when going to a “nice barn?”

So I picked out my favorite pair of jeans and a nice sweater, since it was october and I was ready for him when he arrived to pick me up. We drove and talked for awhile and it wasnt too bad. Turns out his plan was to go to Thanksgiving Point to the animal farm. Really not too bad of an idea for a date. Except that it was october and all the animals were inside…staying warm…while we walked around in a drizzling rain. We went on a rather wet hay ride and he told me all about his family. Finally it was time to go and I was feeling pretty decent about this date. It hadnt been too bad.

When we got in the car he announced that for the “second part of the date” we would be going to his mission reunion.

I had never been to a mission reunion before, had no idea really what to expect, but it seemed like an odd thing to do on a date.

But we went. I didnt feel awkward until we walked in the door and was greeted by the wife of his mission president. “Brian, how nice to see you,” she said, is this your wife?

This was a scene that repeated itself quite a few times in the next two hours or so. Finally I settled myself on a couch in the living room and entertained myself by playing with a baby of one of the other men and talking to the babies mother. Brian had disappeared, off talking with his friends or something.

“How long have you and Brian been dating?” the mother asked.

“We aren’t” I said. “This is a first date.” And a last…I muttered under my breathe. The woman gave me a kind smile that said oh gosh one of those… Im sorry.

After awhile Brian returned and we left. It was about 10:30 PM when we got in the car. Since we were up little cottonwood canyon i figured it would take us about an hour to get back home. I could make it, I was on the home stretch.

“For the final portion of the date I thought we could drop by and see my parents, since they are in town” Brian announced.

What is this a marathon date of awkwardness? I wondered. So off we headed to the other end of the valley to the hotel near the Salt Lake airport to see his parents. Now I know what you are thinking…why didn’t you just tell him that you would rather go home? Well, you see that kind of thing takes, experience and practice, and confidence in dating. I had none of those, just a somewhat shaky, infantile exposure to the world of dating and I was simply pleased to be surviving the date without some major foux pas.

So when we walked in the hotel room door and saw his parents laying in bed, I tryed to pretend that every part of me was not shrinking with the awkwardness of it all and just went with the flow. In reality it wasnt that awful. His parents were nice and his little sister was funny. We visited with them for an hour or so and then we were finally and truly on our way home.

I tried my best to stay awake on the drive back, but it was so late and I was so tired, I know I nodded off at least a little and I just focused on trying to give an acknowledging uh huh every so often to hold up my end of the conversation.

When we got the the house Brian was still talking to me about something. I didnt know how to get rid of him so I allowed him to follow me into the house. We sat on the couch with him talking and me trying not to sound interested enough to encourage him to continue, without being rude. Finally I had a brillant Idea. We were sitting on the couch and I was kind of laying with my head on the arm of the couch. I just closed my eyes and decided to allow him to think I feel asleep.

After a few minutes he paused in his story long enough to say “you know what I mean?”

It was time to see if I could commit to my act. I lay there quietly focusing on breathing deeply and said nothing. He waited and still I said nothing. I was surprised by how long he sat there. Finally he stood and reached for the throw lying across the back of the couch. He covered me with it, turned out the light and left. I waited just long enough to be sure he was really gone and then I jumped up and ran to my room.

It felt like a successful date. Not marriage material thats for sure, in fact i knew that I wouldnt be going on another date with him. But I was so proud of how I had handled myself, and other than pretending to fall asleep I felt that I had acted like an old pro at the dating game. I went to bed happy.