My husband and I love a picnic. Mind you, we’re not those irritatingly pretentious yuppie picnickers, the kind you see in the park with $200 Pottery Barn picnic baskets outfitted with stainless steel cutlery and portable wine glasses, the people you really hope get shit on immediately by a large flock of passing pigeons. No, we picnic ghetto style – drag a blanket off the bed, cruise by Trader Joe’s for some cheap snacks, and find the nearest available bed of grass.
Our fourth date was a picnic – we lay in the park near my grungy-fabulous single-girl apartment, gazing droolingly into each other’s eyes. I read poetry. We ate cheese. Romance ensued.
Last spring, on a trip to Manhattan, we decided to have a picnic on a boat on the lake in Central Park. When he originally suggested the idea, I was immediately suspicious that there was a proposal afoot (mainly because every nosy prick under the sun had begun harassing me about when said proposal would occur, and their rampant curiosity had begun to rub off). Post-red-eye flight, we stumbled bleary-eyed and zombie-like about the mean streets of the Upper West Side, stopping to buy deli meat (serious lapse in the veg aspirations) and cupcakes (blargh) from cranky New Yorkers before wandering into the park. Out on the water, I lackadaisically lounged in the beautiful spring sun while he rowed like mad to find the perfect spot, unabashedly playing bumper-boats with passers-by.
Bobbing carelessly along during a particularly romantic interlude consisting of staring adoringly at one another like two mindless idiots, he took a deep breath and asked me to...make him a ham sandwich. My nervous anticipation was immediately shot - after all, what kind of crazy fool proposes after a ham sandwich whilst tasting all hammish?
Evidently, my husband is that crazy fool.
Post-sandwich, after indulging in some cutesy sweet nothings, the man dropped to his knee in the middle of the boat and asked me to be his wife. I’m still shocked that I didn't capsize the boat and drown us both with my joyous shrieks and spastic flailing of enthusiasm.
Clearly, we have a picnicking history. Post-wedding, we have promised one another that the romance will continue, and set a lofty goal of one al fresco outing a month. This was, of course, immediately shot to hell in favor of Law & Order reruns and tequila on the sanctity of our couch. Today, however, was different – today, we were pro picnickers. There was a grassy hillside, blanket, fresh deli fare. There were oogly smiles, covert kisses, Frisbees thrown. And there was plenty, plenty of dirt.
After two highly competitive Frisbee-pelting hours, during which I triumphantly managed to hit both a small child and her mother, my bare feet were black with filth. We were headed straight from the park to dinner with friends, and I was perfectly amenable to being Dirty Foot Girl for the evening, operating on the theory that perhaps the bar really hasn’t been set that high for my personal hygiene, so no one would suspect today's filth was anything out of the ordinary. My husband, chivalrous bastard that he is, had other ideas.
I quickly found myself sitting in the car in a mall parking lot, shoeless, dress hiked to my thighs while he (not that, you dirty monkey) fanatically scrubbed at my feet with a carwash brush in a particularly sacreligious Jesus/Mary Magdalene fantasy come to life.
That’s right – nothing but class with us. But oh yes, the picnics shall continue.