I enjoy a good rom-com every now and then. Sometimes, you get something totally off the wall, though. Like recently we watched “Gnomeo & Juliet.” On purpose. Without our kids. Slightly ridiculous. I’m not sure Shakespeare would approve. But he’s dead, so who cares?
And “Date Night.” That’s old news, I know, but from the first time I saw the preview, I HAD to see the movie. I was left feeling “eh.”
I’m no Tina Fey and my husband’s no Steve Carell, but here’s our version of Date Night and a few reasons Hollywood’s never going to make a movie that truly represents date night reality.
1. My pre-date preparation included a diaper change and not one, but two children asking to wear makeup. The boy got an adamant but polite “no.” Daddy let him wear a dab of cologne instead.
2. My favorite outfits only fit perfectly in my dreams. Jeans fit a little too tight. (Note to self: get back to the gym.) I think I pick the same shirt for every date. (We’re not regular about our dates, so it could be months between outings. Who remembers what they wore two months ago?) I’m not gonna turn heads, and I’m okay with that. Although when I walked through the bar from the bathroom, I’m sure I heard someone say, “she’s hot.” I’m sure they were talking to the television. I would have been embarrassed if they weren’t.
3. My husband out-of-the-blue complimented me. That sounds bad. Like he doesn’t do that. But sometimes when he does it, I’m expecting it. This time, I wasn’t. Unscripted. I was talking about Bible study at the time. (The reason this scene of our lives would never make it in a movie.) I wasn’t saying anything clever or witty. We were talking about a passion I had. Apparently, that made me beautiful to my husband. His words stopped mine. And I almost cried. I’ll be replaying those words in my head for days.
4. The atmosphere was perfect: dim lighting, high-backed booths, white tablecloth, practically empty dining room. (These pictures tell a better story.) A Food Network-worthy menu. We ate goat cheese pizza for starters. I had local trout with broccoli rabe and roasted potatoes. My husband had short ribs with mushrooms over pasta. My food was perfect. My husband was a little disappointed. In a movie, the food would be the best we’d ever eaten. And our bill would have been expensive. (Post-Groupon, we paid $5, not including tip.) We like to think we’re thrifty at times. Thrifty and romance don’t often mesh. We’re always on the lookout for cheap, I mean, frugal dates. (Look out Salamandra’s, we’re coming your way in December, thanks to a deal on www.saukvalley.com.)
5. That whole ride-off-into-the-sunset, happily-ever-after stuff … I don’t buy it. Our dreamy date ended with our 2-year-old taking a fall down a couple of slick steps outside our friends’ house. He had a knot on his head and a scraped up face. Our daughter, meanwhile, at the same moment, had freaked out about a large worm she almost stepped on and walked right out of one of her shoes. Did I mention it was raining? After we headed back into our friends’ house to clean up our son a little and calm him down, we headed home where we fought the 3-year-old for bed time, doctored the 2-year-old’s head, and read a parenting article about head injuries to make sure we shouldn’t be at the hospital or on the phone with the doctor instead. Once the kids were settled for the night, my husband and I decompressed in front of the computer, watching the latest episode of “Next Iron Chef.” Then, I turned in for the night while my husband stayed up to watch something else.
A totally romantic ending? Maybe not. But it’s reality ever after. I’m learning I can handle reality better if I recognize that my dreams and expectations will rarely measure up to reality.
This band says better what I’m trying to say, I think.
We had escaped our world for a moment and despite the missing ingredients to a successful romantic comedy, we had a wonderful time.
It’s amazing what a couple of childless hours can do for a marriage. Refresh. Renew. Shift the focus off the kids onto the marriage.
Why don’t we do this more often, again?