This week while shopping at the Union Square farmers’ market, I heard the joyful sound of Hare Krishna devotees chanting and playing musical instruments.
The first time I heard the Hare Krishna mantra was actually on my First Real Date. It was the first time a Boy picked me up in a Car and drove on the Highway to take me to a Restaurant that he had Planned to take me to. You know, a real deal grown-up date. He even ironed his shirt before putting it on. I know this because his best friend informed me of the fact at school on Monday.
My mom was super chill about the whole thing. If you know my mom at all, even if you have just met her for twenty seconds, you would expect her to take pictures to document the momentous occasion, but nope. She might have told him to drive safely, but that’s all. No big fanfare. It was like she held back all her motherly love and concern to let me practice being an adult.
We went to a vegetarian restaurant attached to a Hare Krishna temple called Kalachandji’s (pronounced “kahl-la chand-ees”. Say it out loud, it’s important to the rest of the story). The food was delicious and the restaurant was beautiful. I’ve only been back once since then, but I remember the taste of the tamarind drink, the smell of flowers and hanging plants, the big stone fountain, and all the little candles flickering on courtyard tables.
When I got home my mom asked me where we’d gone. I told her the name of the restaurant (kahl-la chand-ees, remember?) and went to bed.
A few years later I told my mom I wanted to take her Kalachandji’s (kahl-la chand-ees, though surely you’ve said it out loud by now) because I’ve never found a more ethereal restaurant.
She looked at me square in the eye and said, “Okay okay, tell me about where you went on your first date”.
“This place called Kalachandji’s”.
“Yes, tell me about ‘College Undies’ “, she said, her eyes wide with worry.
Can you believe it? For YEARS, my poor mother thought I had my First Date at some sort of knockoff Hooters! I can imagine how I would react if one of my younger cousins told me someone took her to a restaurant designed to encourage the objectification of young wimyn. I’m pretty sure I would give her the third degree quicker than you can bat an eyelash. I’d probably also hunt down that boy and give him a mile-long feminist reading list.* In the process, I might lose my cousin’s trust for good. In short, I’d have the exact opposite reaction that my mom had. My mom trusted me.
And that’s how we know my mom is a Cool Mom, through and through.
*Susan J. Douglas’s Enlightened Sexism would top the list. Douglas asks, “How can The Bachelor have survived to a thirteenth edition? How is Hooters still in business?” And why aren’t more people asking these questions?