My sister and I are the original Cougars.
She was 11 and I was 10 when we went on our first double date – with younger men.
I know. You are wondering what our parents could possibly have been thinking, letting us prey on younger men, when we weren’t yet teens ourselves. It turns out my parents knew something about creating a fun family evening while also teaching us social skills that would serve us well throughout our lives.
I don’t remember exactly how the first date came into being. I suspect it had something to do with my parents anticipating an approaching evening out for themselves and wanting to give us something in return for their absence.
The preparations went something like this:
Around 6pm, my sister and I retired to our bedroom where we rummaged through our closet seeking our fanciest fashion ensembles – our recent Easter garb, including black patent leather shoes, turned-down white sox, and hats shaped like wide headbands covered with white flowers. We carefully styled each other’s hair (which in my sister’s case meant doing nothing because hers was so short it didn’t even require combing).
After looking each other over, we preened in front of our mirror making last minute adjustments while we eagerly awaited the arrival of our evening’s escorts. Promptly at 6:30, our dates knocked on our door and we opened it with high hopes for good-looking dates and a fun-filled evening.
We weren’t disappointed.
Greeting us with wide grins, chubby cheeks, twinkly eyes and enthusiastic “good evening, ma’am’s” were my debonair 7-year-old and 3-year-old brothers.
Handsome dates, indeed!
They were both dressed in their finest (and only) blue pajamas and brown bathrobes, with belts carefully tied to accentuate their sculpted physiques; velvet slippers that could only have been purchased for the dancing to come; and trendy hats borrowed from Dad to mark the occasion.
The 7-year-old, never missing a chance to give his best Jimmy Durante impression, gave a “Ha Cha Cha Cha Cha, Ladies. Let’s go dancing!”
Taking their arms, we proceeded downstairs to the dining room, where the DJ (Dad) was warming up the record player and the cocktail waitress (Mom) was waiting to take our drink orders (“white milk or chocolate milk? on the rocks or straight up?”)
At the first sounds of The Twist by Chubby Checker, the four of us hit the dance floor and never stopped until the DJ announced the final song, The Lion Sleeps Tonight by the Tokens. My sister and I performed our tried-and-true line dance moves; and my brothers showed particular talent for exotic twist gyrations (the 3-year-old gripping the table with both hands and shaking his booty like he’d been dancing all his life).
Ravenous, our dates escorted us to the dining table where we devoured a feast of locally-sourced scrambled eggs, crisp bacon and lightly buttered toast. Conversation was lively – topics such as who had the most Girl Scout cookie orders, whose turn it was to pick tomorrow night’s tv show, and who had shown the best dance moves.
After settling the bill and generously tipping our DJ and waitress (Monopoly money – the precursor to BitCoin), our dates escorted us back to our rooms. Air kisses and thank you’s and “I’ll call you’s” ensued, after which my sister and I retired to our room, rehashed the night’s events, agreed we’d date those guys again, and fell asleep to dream of dances yet to come.