The new Italian restaurant in our neighborhood was the perfect place to celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary. We settled into a cozy table for two and turned our attention to the menu. It wouldn't be easy to decide on our courses: The menu included almost too many enticing options with ingredients like black olives, Jerusalem artichokes and capers. (I will order anything that comes with a sexy-sounding Italian garnish!)
That night, I was torn between the flank steak served on a bed of arugula and the foraged mushroom Arborio risotto. (Are you getting hungry now?) I love risotto, and I know it's traditionally made with Arborio rice, but on this occasion I couldn't help musing out loud:
"What is Arborio rice? Is it rice from a place called Arborio? Or is some actual kind of grain?"
Less than a decade ago, couples must have had entire evenings—perhaps entire relationships—destroyed by the pain of waiting for an answer to this kind of pressing question. Your spouse thinks it's a region, but you think it's got to be an actual type of rice. Worse yet, he suggests it's a pointless question and you shouldn't care about the answer. The next thing you know, you're arguing over why he has to be such a know-it-all or why you have to devote so much time to useless information. Ultimately, your osso buco gets cold, and someone ends up sleeping on the sofa.
Was Steve Jobs thinking about all those endangered marriages when he drove Apple to create the ultimate date-night instant answer device, the iPhone? With my iPhone in hand, the Arborio dilemma was easily resolved by Wikipedia:
Arborio rice is an Italian short-grain rice. It is named after the town of Arborio in the Po Valley, where it is grown.
"Huh," Rob replied when I finished reading. (I've trained him to make some kind of sound of acknowledgment whenever I say something to him, even if he has no interest in what I'm saying.) Our mystery solved, we were ready to order our meal and crack open the anniversary champagne.
Our delight at diving into the soup of online knowledge turns the Web and the world into our marital playground, never more so than on date night. If you still think date night means dinner and movie, or if the very concept of date night has been lost to the challenge of leaving work or finding a babysitter, it's time to take a look at how the social Web can help you rediscover the joy (not to mention relationship-saving importance) of spending a night out with your sweetie.