I told my husband that I was recruiting him for a new project. For a moment, I let him think I was about to drag him to another natural birthing class subjecting him hours upon hours of stark naked Amazonian women screaming in labor. I might have had a just a little fun letting him assume the worst. The color began to return to his face when I told him that we were embarking on a year-long dating adventure — 52 Great Cheap Dates by Lynn Gordon. I clued him in to a few of the ideas, and he was pretty excited about them…. especially the clothing optional ones. Our mission on Friday night was to fulfill the following cheap date:
“Dressed in your favorite gallery-going garb, attend an opening (call your local galleries to find out about the next one) or meet at the museum of art on the night it stays open late. After partaking in such highbrow culture, work your way back down the cultural food chain by heading to your favorite ice cream parlor to split one of those sculptural ice cream creations you would never dare order alone.”
It just so happens that the Gallery Crawl takes place every 1st and 3rd Friday night in NoDa, Charlotte’s historic arts district. NoDa is an all around local hipster hot spot complete with boutiques, galleries, venues, cafes, pubs, and other novelty shops. Whenever I come here, I suddenly get the urge for a few more piercings or some body art. The streets were buzzing with people and everything felt alive. I felt alive.
We began our night at the Growler’s Pourhouse. It is impossible to feel feminine while ordering Growler’s homemade root beer float shot, but nevertheless, we said “cheers” and toasted our shots that really didn’t look like shots. I swear the glass was the size of Salem’s sippy cup. An IPA later and a whiskey sour for Clark (he likes girlie drinks—its one of the things I love most about him), we decided to set out and see some art. We wandered a gallery where we suddenly became seasoned art critics—we would stand in front of a portrait rubbing our chin, using terms like “contour” and “texture” having absolutely no idea what any of it means really. It was all very “highbrow”. We were asked to vote for our favorite artist, so I chose Angela Gonzalez. Her Venezia painting literally transported me to Venice where I was wearing a red dress sipping A Mano Moscato with accordion music playing Mamma Mia, che vo’ sape? off in the distance instead of what we were actually doing– sipping Two Buck Chuck from a Dixie cup with Lady Gaga blaring from a drive by car radio. Angela’s artist bio says, “I am building a new form of art in which I incorporate painting and mosaic techniques to produce a genre that is accessible to every day collectors”. When it comes to visual art, I’m about as “every day” as you can get. So needless to say, Angela Gonzalez got my vote as the best up and coming artist as featured at NoDa’s District Design Studio.
(Venezia by Angela Gonzalez. For more information visit http://www.artbygonzalez.com)
We then proceeded to head to the Crepe Cellar for dinner. Best. Crepes. Ever. We sat at the bar and what can I say…. The Kronenbourg was a flowin’ so Clark let me ramble on for a bit. I began talking about my vision for Lullabuy Design—how if feels so much bigger than me, how I want to inspire women and children, and how I want to address the needs of families in creative and practical ways. He just nodded and listened and offered his feedback here and there. It was beautiful. Its funny how you can get kudos from everyone else, but the person who has seen you at your lowest—4 weeks post partum and hormonal, “crying-out-of-sheer-exhaustion-while-attached-to-a-breast-pump” kind of low—his kudos matter the most. We sat there sharing crepes and excitement and not once did we mention children, to-dos, or any other responsibility for that matter. It felt like a date. An actual date. I think this cheap date challenge may mean more to us than we realize.
By the time we finished dinner and the gallery crawl, the only place open for ice cream was the corner Friendly Mart. We took our Ben and Jerry’s home and caught the scene from Steel Magnolias where Clairee says that all gay men have track lighting and all gay men are either named Mark, Rick, or Steve. The fact that Clark can quote Steel Magnolias is one of the other things I love most about him. That and his affinity for girlie drinks.
Stay tuned for cheap date challenege #2 coming later this week.