Section: Opinion

Modern love: philosopher looks back at ideal date

By Juan DePascuale

My “ideal date” is the one I had with my wife Carola when we were both at the University of Notre Dame. It was late spring and we had just started dating. Instead of attending an “important” faculty meeting, I invited Carola to drive up to the Michigan Dunes with me for an impromptu picnic. Breaking with academic convention for love tasted sweet and cast a warm glow over the events of the day that lasted well into the next morning.

I picked up Carola at her apartment greeting her with a bouquet of flowers, champagne, and a shopping bag filled with cheese, cold cuts and French bread I had picked up at Martin’s Super Market. Giddy with delight, we traded smiles the whole drive up to Lake Michigan.

Just to warm up the day, we first spent a few hours strolling around Saugatuck, a charming little tourist spot right on the lake. We visited a few art galleries and took some pictures along the harbor before heading straight to the dunes for our picnic. After parking in the wooded lot, we picked up our goodies, took off our shoes and trekked through the sandy beach looking for a secluded nook among the dunes. Finding one, we unfolded our red table cloth, set out our fare, uncorked the champagne, prepared the appetizers, and stayed for a long, long while. It was a blustery magical day.  Sitting there on the sand with a pretty woman, away from routine and responsibility, and surrounded by the awesome power of nature, life just seemed to make sense in a way that it ordinarily does not.

Trying to find our way back to the car in the dark later that evening added to the fun and mystery.

Juan DePascuale is an associate professor of philosophy. Contact him at


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