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Spring awakening.

Ashes has had a lot of experiences at college so far, but last week she checked off one that's been few and far between, so far: she met a boy who likes her, and she likes him back. That last part is always tricky, because Ashes is notoriously selective. That girl will endure no Slacker Chads in her life, although sometimes I worry her standards are too high.

Since then, she's had two dates so far, and each time she's called up both me and Josie for a progress report. He's a Chinese boy, his name is David, he comes from money, goes to two colleges, and has two different cars. Of course, some of the best details she leaves out.

"He told me the minute he saw me, he was swept away," she confessed to Theo the day after the first date. "He also said he hasn't felt this way about someone in a long time. And then he kissed me and--"

Theo being Theo, he hung up the phone on her.

"Why did you do that?" I asked, aghast.

"I am not her gal pal," he replied. I think it has something to do with the fact he no longer has a girlfriend.

After the second date, she called to ask me a serious question: can he go to Easter dinner with us?

"Are you sure you want to ask him that?" I replied, from my fabulous hotel room in Manhattan on the 32nd floor, which offered a sweet view of the Empire State building. "Asking him to meet your family is pretty serious. You might scare him off, sweetie."

"She will definitely scare him off," decided the lady from New Jersey who was sitting next to me on the train ride home to Eldredge on Friday. "One of my daughters invited her boyfriend of two weeks to our place for Thanksgiving one year. We always had all the cousins go to those get togethers and they are all notorious teases. The next week, sure enough, he broke up with her. I just smiled at her and said, 'Gee, I wonder why?'"

"I think she needs to bring him home, though," said Corb over Chinese food that night. "You know how racist Josie's mother is. Can you imagine how she'd react?"

"Josie's mom will be just fine," I replied. "There's nothing wrong with a little diversity."

"Really, dad," asked Theo, glancing over at me and Corb. "Don't we have enough diversity in our family as it is?" Ah, god love the boy. When he starts joking about my relationship with Corb, you know we've crossed an important hurdle.

Personally, I hope Ashes continues to date David for some time to come, even if he doesn't come for Easter. I think Ashes needs a little romance in her life; I think it will do her a little good. We all deserve a little happiness, and it's quite clear Ashes has come a long way from those days when she would stand outside my apartment carrying around a sign reading, "Wanted: prom date."

Looks to me she's gotten to the point where no applications are necessary.