Yesterday, my wife and I had a date.
We like to schedule “us” time on a regular basis. Every couple has to have time together when you’re not doing laundry. I even had the date marked in my phone’s calendar.
I drove hurredly through traffic to be on time. Our date appointment was set for 8 am. Kind of early for romance, I know. But even at that early hour, our date destination was already packed with couples…and a few ladies flying solo. Most everyone was dressed up, the guys in shirts and ties, ladies in dresses or slacks.
This was our first 8 am date. It was also our first date at a fertility clinic. Hubba, hubba.
New Club Membership
Being nervous (who isn’t nervous on a first date, especially one that might lead to you getting lucky) I absorbed our surroundings as we awaited our turn for whatever awaited us.
There we were, surrounded by other couples on their early morning dates. Everyone’s clothing indicated that they were heading to offices or other professional jobs after their little rendezvous. Everyone avoided eye contact, passively fidgeting with smartphones. My wife played Angry Birds. Everyone ignored The Today Show on the television as the hosts chirped about the new Heinz ketchup packets.
In the corner, a basket of children’s toys and books sat, untouched. The irony of this made me chuckle to myself.
Everyone looked basically like us. The room was full of white suburbanites. Some couples were as young as us. Some looked like they had ten years of marriage under their belts. I wondered who the regulars were, and who was new, like us, as if I was in some kind of club.
It struck me that we had joined a new club. The same way Jazzercise attracts women like my wife, this place had gathered a dozen or so extremely alike strangers. Other people might take the lack of another mouth to feed as a blessing. Others pop out kids left and right in between trips to the welfare office. We found ourselves in a club of strangers with just enough savings and blind willpower to procreate to give this a go.
Double or Nothing?
That reminded me. How much was this going to cost?
It’s not like we’re wealthy. I’m a teacher for crying out loud. We are still in debt. Making money is not my spiritual gift.
The fertility clinic is a lot like a casino. The stakes are high. You have to play like a big roller or you get kicked out. I wondered if simply “making it rain” cash was an appropriate gesture. I looked at the menu of treatment options du jour and wondered how long we could stay in this game. How long had the other couples been at this? How much cash had they flushed? Can we go double or nothing if we lose the first round?
My wife and I don’t go on many expensive dates. And it became abundantly clear that this was going to be our most expensive, least romantic date I had ever paid for. We weren’t going to be able to do this very often. This was going to have to be a “special occasion.” My wife reminded me, “We have to have enough money left to adopt a kid too…and buy a car.” Because, really, what good is a kid if you don’t have a car to take it to soccer practice?
I’ll Take a Baby, Hold the Romance
Everyone in that room had exactly the same thing on their minds. Everyone was hoping that their dates would lead to them getting some action. But no one seemed to be in the romantic mood. No one was gazing lovingly into their mate’s eyes, or making kissy faces. Everyone seemed to be trying to pretend they were not in a waiting room. To be fair, the waiting room itself wasn’t really pulling its weight. Its general beige-ness and fluorescent-isity in no way reminded me of a Tuscan villa or romantic, candlelit restaurant.
In a time when many people have sex without love or commitment, this is a place where people try to have babies without romance. But I guess there are worse things than that. Like actually raising a child without romance between you and your spouse.
My wife and I met at home after work and relaxed with a couple of beers. At least we can still do that together while she’s not pregnant.
Tell me about the last time you were in a waiting room! Are you a people watcher like me, or do you just stare at the medical magazines and try to diagnose yourself?