Going on a date without the children is fun. Even a trip to the supermarket without the children is fun these days. But date nights with The Architect (my husband) can be . . . well . . . rather underwhelming at times. It’s not that they’re not enjoyable – they are, truly! It’s just that they’re never quite as exhilarating as the pre-Married with Children ones were.
I remember the excitement of dating new boyfriends. There was the anticipation of the evening ahead. There were butterflies in my stomach. There was the anxiety about choosing the right clothes, hairstyle and shoes. Where would the evening lead? Would there be a kiss? Would there be a sleepover? Would there be any expression of love? Most importantly, was this man The One?
Dating my husband isn’t the same. After all, I know that The Architect is The One. I’ve been living with him for fifteen years. I wake up with him every morning. I watch him brush his teeth. I put his dirty undies into the washing machine. I think it’s understandable if I don’t get butterflies at the thought of being alone with him on a Saturday night.
Still, a marital date isn’t inferior to a date with a new man. It’s just different. More familiar. Less stimulating. Okay, so maybe it’s a little bit inferior . . .
New Man Date: The preparation can be thrilling, if a little bit nerve-racking.
Marital Date: The preparation is exhausting. I need to summon up the energy to get dressed and leave the house, having run around after the kids all day. Quite frankly, I’d rather be at home sleeping.
New Man Date: I look forward to learning more about the new man.
Marital Date: I’ve just seen my man on the toilet. What else is there to learn?
New Man Date: The date may be expensive, but it’s worth it.
Marital Date: The date will be ridiculously prohibitive. Not only is there the cost of the evening itself – the movie, the dinner, the drinks, the parking – but there is also the cost of the babysitter. These additional expenses put huge pressure on us both to Have a Good Time (‘Are we having sixty dollars’ worth of fun yet?’), leading to expectations that often cannot be fulfilled.
New Man Date: When the new man takes out his credit card I will feel happily wined and dined.
Marital Date: When The Architect takes out his credit card it is still my money. Besides, we usually pay with my credit card anyway.
New Man Date: A new man will be happy to take me to the movie of my choice.
Marital Date: My husband will want to see what he wants. I’ll end up seeing Bruce Willis in Blood And Guts III, while gazing longingly at the poster of Simon Baker in You Could Be My Lover.