Why you should care
Because dinner and a movie is so … snooze.
My otherwise perfect husband has one major flaw. It’s a personality glitch so awful I sometimes wonder how I ever married him, how I missed it in those early, swooning days. The flaw is this: He doesn’t like movies. I know. It’s bad. But after nearly 14 years of marriage, I’ve made my peace with it. My disappointment and resentment still flare from time to time, but mostly I’ve learned to accept the things I cannot change and see films with friends.
What old marrieds with children should really be doing is going on Day Dates. With the specific goal of having sex outside.
The upside? I get to avoid the Dreaded Married Date Night: the obligatory dinner-and-a-movie slog from which both parties emerge feeling much too tired for sex — and guilty about being much too tired for sex. The much ballyhooed “date night” is supposed to be the marriage saver — the way to keep the flame and romance burning. And maybe it is a nice chance to talk about something other than chores and schedules and kids. But, honestly, the average date night is as filled with spark as an old episode of Friends. Few things kill conversational buoyancy like staring at each other across the table for decades. I don’t care if it’s in a restaurant or in your kitchen.
What old marrieds with children should really be doing is going on Day Dates. With the specific goal of having sex outside. It worked for us.
I think we went to a museum once. And we probably talked about the idea of taking a class together — something either dance-y or food-oriented. Meh. Those things are nice, but they are not electric. After more than a decade of marriage, we needed a jolt, not a spark.It’s not like we set out to go hump in the woods. We set out to reimagine our dates so that they would be (a) during daylight hours when we still had energy to enjoy them, and (b) built around something new and interesting for both of us.
Being the Northern Californians that we are, we naturally gravitated toward the outdoors. We would take a short hike to the coast or rent bikes and ride around along the beach. Sometimes we’d pack a picnic and a bottle of wine; sometimes we’d specifically pick a restaurant a mini-road trip away. Usually, there would be a little day drinking. Nothing says special occasion like booze before the sun goes down.
To be honest, I’m not sure when we started sneaking off the trail to get busy, but I can safely say it was the Mister’s idea initially. I am way too prudish and rule-abiding to come up with such a thing.
I do remember where we were. It was bluff off a well-traveled path in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Since our day dates always happened on Fridays (when we both have the day off), it wasn’t especially crowded, but this particular area is always being crisscrossed by bikers, runners and hikers, so it wasn’t empty either.
God only knows how he talked me — a respectable mid-30s mother of two — into ducking down in the coyote brush to play hide the salami, but whatever his technique, I’m glad he did it.
It is about 1,000 times better than a rom-com and a burger.
For a while, it became a ritual of sorts. Every other Friday, we’d hire a babysitter to pick our kids up from school and take care of them until they were sweetly snoring in their beds. We’d get the boring stuff out of the way in the morning — grocery shopping, trips to Home Depot. Afterward we’d set out to explore the San Francisco Bay Area’s cornucopia of beautiful trails. Then we’d sneak off, strip down and do it in the great blue open.
Over the years, we’ve had … fun on Angel Island, in a grove of trees off a trail in Tiburon, in the Presidio (which I’m pretty sure is a federal offense, as it’s a national park). It has become our dating tradition. And it is about 1,000 times better than a rom-com and a burger. Plus, we get some exercise.
But the best part, better than the thrill and the newness and the hilarity of it all, is the fact that we are always home by 8 p.m. Which means I still have time to watch a movie.