As I round the bend toward age 32 and seven years of wedded bliss, I have to admit the heart-pounding intensity in my marriage has been gone for some time now.
It makes watching the complicated mating dances of the singles in my life all the more interesting.
It's not that there aren't surprises left in my marriage. When The Other Half came home with platinum blond, overprocessed hair, for instance, that was a big surprise. And I'm sure he is surprised -- stunned, even -- that I continue to gain weight despite constant "dieting."
But for the most part, the candlelight dinners and fancy drawers are becoming the exception to the rule. We prefer underwear that stays put.
When I go to work, there's no heartfelt kiss goodbye and the wish of a happy day. I tell a sleeping Mr. Half I'm leaving, he grunts at me and out the door I go. Our cat seems more upset by my departure than my husband does.
I plucked my chin hair with him -- my husband, I mean -- in the room the other day. He was giving his burned hair a protein treatment and had a towel wrapped around his head like a turban.
Yep. This is what we've become, I thought.
So I'm utterly fascinated by the young and the restless. Take my twentysomething friend Holly.
Her heart obviously leapt when her man joined us for a few adult beverages this week. He walked in and casually draped his arm around her.
She made the typical jabs a pretty young thing makes at her man -- stop looking at that other girl, you were late, etc. -- and he took them like a good-natured boy in love. They couldn't stop smiling.
Meanwhile, I noticed Mr. Half was drinking a little on the heavy side for a weeknight.
"You know you've got work tomorrow," I snapped.
He ordered another one.
And then there's Guy, a lanky, handsome youth on the shady side of 20. The chicks dig him, but he's casual about it, taking his time, basking in the glow and waiting for the right one to come along.
I was talking to both of them the other day and trying to explain how they brought back the memories for me.
"I can't even remember the last time I was giddy with anticipation over a date," I said. "I'm having to live vicariously through the two of you."
They looked at me as though a third eye had just sprouted in the middle of my forehead.
Oh well. They'll know what I mean someday. For now, they made me think about what it would be like if I were on the market again today.
I'm thinking there would be lots of Saturday nights alone. Seems today's hot, single man isn't clamoring for women roughly the height of a pro basketball player and the weight of a sumo wrestler.
I'm thinking I'd spend a lot of time on the Internet, where I'd be Jessica, brunette, green eyes, 5 feet, 9 inches tall and a svelte 125 pounds. My interests would be rock climbing, tennis and professional sports. I'd make six figures in my job as a stock broker and perform at strip clubs on the weekend just for fun and to blow off steam.
... Or maybe I should just start treating Mr. Half better.
Heidi Hall is managing editor of the Southeast Missourian.