There is a term that schmaltzy, longstanding couples use when they want to go out for an evening alone to celebrate the fact that they are still tolerating each other: they call it “date night.”
Now, this is not the same thing as a “date.” A date is something you go on when you first meet someone, before you are technically in a relationship. A date is something that requires you to do gender socialized primping things, like remove unsightly body hair, put on make-up, find clean underwear – essentially it requires you to present the best version of yourself. And there are rules! I, of course, am only referring to heterosexual dating at the moment, but there is an ancient set of rules for dating that require the man to pay, the woman to look purty, and the conversation to avoid any topics such as politics, exes, and anything negative or boring. In essence, the man offers up all proof of success (money) to woo the lady into a false sense of security (sex) so that she knows he is marriage material (death). It’s simple Freudian logic, really.
For a date, you make the effort to seem so wonderfully charming that the poor unassuming person on the other side of the table will ask you out for yet another date, unaware of the fact that underneath this rouse of make-up and clean clothes, you’re just another average human tired of sitting at home alone watching re-runs of parks & rec in your underwear whilst eating pizza. Although, that sounds pretty wonderful…
I digress! How does dating, a term that I generally have no problem with, turn into this annoying, attention-needy ploy called date night? Well, son, once some people enter into a committed monogamous relationship, they feel that the term ‘dating’ just doesn’t cut it anymore. They’ve dated already, so surely there must be something more formal that they can title a night out with dinner and drinks while their other friends are busy, rendering this a twosome. It’s like the difference between calling someone a boyfriend/girlfriend versus a partner – you’ve been together long enough, perhaps the title should graduate and mature along with your relationship. But honestly, date night?! Is this akin to sex night? Or meatloaf night?
Date night implies that on all the other nights, you are not allowed to date. It also implies that you still think you’re dating, or that you wish you were still dating, but want to make it sound less trivial.
I have been with the same partner for almost seven years. I don’t care if you call him my boyfriend – he prefers good doctor, but really anything other than limey will do. We call each other our partner, respectively, because boyfriend and girlfriend honestly sounds a little juvenile at this point. We don’t mind what titles you need to refer to us as to be comfortable, but there is something we do not stand for – and that, dear readers, is date night. We eat out on whatever damn night we choose. Sometimes we invite people. Sometimes we’re too lazy to invite anyone else. Sometimes we don’t invite people so we can save the energy of ditching someone after dinner so we can have a whole lotta sex. Who cares? The point is – we don’t date anymore. When we’re hungry and thirsty, we eat and drink. And we certainly never sit on the same side of a booth together when we’re alone. I don’t think anything makes me eye-roll harder.
And, most importantly, we satisfy Maslow’s hierarchy of needs without taking self-righteous selfies of our boring twosome performing simple human tasks, such as eating and drinking. If you really are out on a “date night,” (cue the vomit), then why are you including the friends that you purposefully left out by showing them pictures of you feeding each other? This is what makes single people go on killing sprees.
So, the next time you want to go out for a nice evening with your significant other, remember that it is not a significant event. Unless you gave your man an under the table handie-j. Or if John Hamm shows up. Or if somehow those two things are related. Then, and only then, can you tell me. This is Kitty, signing out.