Chris learned this complicated lesson rather quickly after we started dating. When he first came to one of my church camps, I brought him along to a restaurant where he was the only male among the entirety (plus my sister) of the gorgeous and sometimes overwhelming group that we've started to call the "Teen Girl Squad". (Kara -- the bride in the photo below and our sometimes ringleader -- is the one who doesn't have a blog for me to link.)
Hrm. Perhaps that photo doesn't quite demonstrate what might have been overwhelming about these women; we're all trying to look normalish. Here's one that's a few years older that might demonstrate my point a little better:
Much better. We're missing Kara in this one, but the photo was taken by her and at her command, and so her stamp is there.
At this Humpty's Restaurant in North Battleford, Chris got to witness Ky drop ice down Kara's shirt, and then see Kara reach down and pull the ice out, drying out her cleavage with napkins. He got to witness his new girlfriend be goaded by the entire group into giving a "Wet Willy" to someone at the table behind us. (It was someone we all knew, but still.) I think that was the first time he found out that his girlfriend thought poop jokes were funny. (I'm glad that he survived and became friends with all of them.)
The girls and I have gone through phases of growing apart and back together, of ganging up on one another, of feeling like the outsider in the group, of being worried about each other, and of being convinced that every other one was the "pretty one." But we always fall back together. It's nice having that, and always has been.
(Upcoming Navel Gazings on my other 'family' dynamics: "Yes, I think of all of them as my sisters. But only one of them is actually my sister. But the other three are sisters with each other"; "The children who aren't closely related to me but call me 'Auntie'"; "We started referring to ourselves as 'The Family' long before we knew that every single member except Karl would marry within the 'family' and suddenly it would sound creepy explaining it to others.")