I rarely find myself without something to do, but today I had time to kill and remembered a blood drive going on in town. Ordinarily, I would have talked myself out of donating, as I've done since the last time I gave blood, oh, six years ago. But I decided to go for it.
Lying there waiting for the blood-taking-person to insert the needle into my flesh (yes, I am a giant baby, and I am always careful to alert any and all blood-takers to treat me gently, lest I collapse into convulsive wails and humiliate myself beyond redemption), it occurred to me that my old friend, G, and her boyfriend, A, started giving blood together early in their relationship.
At the time, I admired their altruism, but I had no intention of joining it. I did notice that their devotion to each other grew after the first donation, and they made appointments to keep going back. They were the first couple among the group I hung out with to marry. Many years later, they remain together happily.
I suppose they still give blood, although I can't swear to it. Over the past few years, they've taken up participating in Run/Walk events to benefit sufferers of Cystic Fibrosis.
My parents used to give blood together, too, and they remained happily married for 44 years, until my mother died two years ago this August 20th.
Giving blood with a date may seem like an odd alternative to getting tickets to Daddy Day Camp, but it's an adventure. It's a scary thing for a lot of people. It requires sacrifice, which is kind of attractive. It requires vulnerability, which is definitely attractive.
And when it's over, donors feel a sense of achievement , which can facilitate closeness. It also brings on an uncontrollable urge to celebrate.
Just be sure to make an appointment before you go, or you could be stuck sitting around for hours.