Stop try­ing to make date night hap­pen

En­forced ro­mance-rekin­dling fail­ing to launch? Keep it, shrugs Mi­randa Collinge

Esquire (UK) - - Style -

There’s noth­ing like so­cially pre­scribed ro­mance to make you want to kick over your chair, empty your bank ac­count and head on down to the near­est bordello, as any­one who has been to a res­tau­rant on Valen­tine’s Day will know. Be­ing told when, where and how to feel love for a sig­nif­i­cant other is the ex­act op­po­site of the spon­tane­ity, sur­prise and ex­cite­ment that led to them be­com­ing sig­nif­i­cant in the first place. And now, thanks to the in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar phe­nom­e­non of “date night”, it’s not even just an an­nual 14th-of-Fe­bru­ary kind of threat, but a monthly one. (For some poor fiends, even weekly.)

The idea of date night is in­no­cent enough: an evening for a cou­ple for whom those first flames of in­fat­u­a­tion have dimmed — per­haps they’ve been to­gether a long time, per­haps they’ve even re­pro­duced — to rekin­dle some of their spark: to gaze lov­ingly into each other’s eyes; to whis­per sweet noth­ings into each other’s ears; to slip off their shoes un­der the ta­ble and root around each other’s crotches with their be-socked toes. It could even lead to, you know, ac­tual sex.

The re­al­ity, par­tic­u­larly if you have chil­dren, is that a date night is more like an AGM, or a monthly GM, or a (shud­der) weekly GM, at which you plough through all the de­tri­tus of daily life that you don’t get around to dis­cussing when you’re on your hands and knees un­der a high chair pick­ing in­di­vid­ual grains off rice off the floor, or work­ing your way, silently, through your sixth box set.

You know, the im­por­tant stuff, like who’s go­ing to take the car in for its MOT test? Is some­one’s mother owed a visit? And should we lay a green roof on the shed?

Even if you do find your­selves do­ing a bit of gaz­ing into each other’s peep­ers, it’s guar­an­teed that at least one of you — prob­a­bly both — will be silently cal­cu­lat­ing just how much you’ll have to pay the babysit­ter when you get back, and whether or not this pro­longed eye con­tact is tip­ping you into the next hour. And as for sparkreig­ni­tion? The naugh­ti­est thing you’ll have the en­ergy for by the end of it all is split­ting the tiramisu.

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