I went on a date once to see a temporary exhibit of La Fornarina by Raphael, and coincidentally that day there was a meeting of the Red Hat Society at the IMA. I felt somewhat rushed trying to keep up with my date as we headed to the exhibit - he was hopeful to beat the millinery crowd to the scene. We got there too late, and waited for the gaggle of grannies to thin out so we could get a clear view. But it seemed they had staked out that room as a gathering spot; eventually we moved on to see some John Wesley Hardrick paintings I'm fond of. Again, the red-hatted ladies beat us there, purple dresses swirling. I thought it was somewhat cheerful to see friends together but my date didn't appreciate it. We next went to see the Seurat that I like (I spent hours as a kid staring at La Grande Jatte at the Art Institute in Chicago, so seeing it is like meeting an old friend for me). Keeping up with my date's long stride was getting to be ridiculous. And the red hats surrounded us again. I suggested that if he wanted to walk for exercise, maybe we could go to the outdoor paths?
Out we went and again, the walking resumed with my date setting a fast pace. Everywhere we went, there were families out, red-hatted ladies, and other couples. The US Grand Prix race had brought in a lot of people and I'd never seen the museum so busy before. Finally I called for a halt on the forced march, claimed a surprisingly empty bench and tried to recover from gallivanting about. And then he brought out a small box, and asked me to be his wife. I was happy to accept, and years later we stop by that bench sometimes with the kids. But never since have I had to try and keep up with a nervous man's pace.