I have a confession:
I hate Date Night.
I love my spouse, but really, Date Night is just too much pressure, especially because we live in such a lame city with no live music or theater or decent restaurants. No improv or stand-up places. There’s candlepin bowling, but then you have to put up with the other bowlers. And we’ve done that already anyway.
We’ve gone hiking, but we do that with the kids and it’s getting dark so early now, I’m worried we’ll surprise a skunk, which would make for a memorable Date Night, but not a terribly fun one.
Last time we had a Date Night, we went to the lawyer’s office and signed our wills and then went grocery shopping.
We don’t want to go out to the movies because we do that at home and it’s not much of an interactive date anyway. We could go out for drinks, but we’d have to drive quite a ways to find a non-sports-bar spot, and my spouse would either want me to drive or want me to drink to excess to make it worthwhile for him to abstain because one of us has to get drunk if we’re going out for drinks and if I drank moderately, I wouldn’t be doing my part.
My spouse says that, according to the experts, we should learn something new together, so we tried that route. We looked for one-time art workshops. There are a few places that offer art workshops, but one offers them only as part of an eight-class series, another offers them only as part of a “party,” another offers them only on Thursday nights, another only on Monday afternoons, and still another doesn’t have their current schedule up. There’s a paint-your-own-pottery place, but that seems kindergarten-y, and we’d then be tied into going back in a week to pick up ceramics we didn’t need in the first place. Besides, I don’t really want to have a Date Night doing something I’d do with the kids.
Then we thought about dancing. We tried contra dancing early in our marriage, but we both suck so bad at dancing that we end up getting separated to partner with more experienced dancers. The last time we went, I got paired with an eight-year-old. He was very nice and quite a good dancer, but not what I pictured when I pictured a Date Night. Undaunted by this memory, I looked up dancing opportunities, and once again, everything was part of a semester-long class. There’s not even a place to go line dancing, and the fact that I looked up line dancing should give an idea of just how at the end of my list of ideas I am.
By the time we get done arguing about the possibilities—or rather, lack of possibilities—I’ve proclaimed that obviously we have nothing in common and that maybe the last twenty years has just been a big fluke. In reality, the trouble is just that the things we like to do together are the quotidian things we used to do before kids, like play racquetball or lift weights or go out for a glass of wine or visit a used book store, which all sound simple, but which all require a monthly fee and/or moving somewhere with a wine bar or independent book store.
Frankly, despite the expert endorsement of the practice, I suspect that trying to schedule a Date Night is more likely to ruin our marriage than it is to save it.
So I say, to Hell with Date Night.