In order to keep our romance alive, my wife Laura and I attempted to engage in a ritual we had only heard about from “friends who knew friends who knew someone who did this.”
I’m speaking of course about the mythical “Date Night,” wherein a married couple picks one night a week to enjoy an evening together without the children and their joyous screams of “wipe my bum!”
This date night is to take place once a week without fail and, according to legend, you and your significant other will be transformed into starry-eyed lovers like when you were twenty, except with less hair.
In theory this is a wonderful idea. Practically, however, it is difficult to coordinate, which is the main reason we cannot locate anyone who has successfully completed the program. There are many obstacles to overcome, for example, the babysitter.
The babysitter needs to be available once a week for the assignment and be mature enough to handle your children and smart enough to tell you that your children were good when you were gone even though you are pretty sure that you did not own a dog when you left that evening yet there is a golden retriever sleeping in one of the kid’s beds.
Laura also requires I.Q. tests and SAT scores of the babysitter’s parents and a list of college choices for the potential sitter. My only requirement is that Laura calls to schedule the sitter. I have a phobia about calling to arrange the sitter and having the father answer the phone to hear me say “Hi, this is Sean calling to see if your 14 year old daughter is free on Saturday night.”
Next you have to negotiate the payment to the babysitter. I am a big believer in overpaying for these important services because a) we need to get out and b) I want to be on top of the babysitter’s list. If they have to choose between two jobs on the same night I hope that my incorporated combat pay is the deciding factor. Unfortunately, there are other families out there doing the same thing and when Laura recently called to schedule a babysitter she was told to go to EBay and bid on the night.
After all the stress of the babysitter and getting the kids and you ready, alerting the police and fire departments and confirming payments on your life insurance policy you are now ready to go… to bed. Yes, it’s quite tiring preparing to recapture your romance. But this is Date Night. So you kiss the kids and get in the car and realize “We don’t have any plans.”
This begins a wonderful debate on what to do that evening. After much discussion and long volley of “whatever you want to do” followed up with “No, whatever you want to do” it is decided that you will pull back in to the driveway and do nothing. Which inevitably leads to the question “how much do we pay the babysitter for 8 ½ minutes?” And the answer is of course $60, to avoid scandal.
You pay the babysitter and in the spirit of date night ask if she is available again next week. She accepts and inquires if we have any relatives that may need baby sitting services. You begin to wonder if date night was a scam concocted by an evil babysitter. You offer to drive the sitter home and she declines with a polite “No thanks. The Millers next door have date night tonight and I’m sitting from 7:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.”