Sunday, April 29, 2007

Back on the Dating Scene... sort of.

DW and I were out to dinner a few weeks ago, sitting next to a couple of young lovers looking fresh in their courtship. I looked over and asked my wife, "are we on a date?" We debated a little bit, but she eventually provided the best reason we were not on a date: A date is something you plan -- We were merely out to dinner. And in NYC, that can happen too often to be considered a date by default. I mentioned that we should go out on a date. I thought it would be enjoyable, but would it feel phony?

Married date tip 1: Keep your cards close
So DW told me that she had make plans for us, and I said that I would take her on a date the next day. So Friday night she took me to our "date" restaurant Nikos (we went here the night we got engaged -- her ring lit up like a sparkler under the Christmas lights). We had a bottle of wine, some great conversation, and mouth watering Greek food. We got engaged on the 15th of the month, so we returned every 15th until our honeymoon.

We took a walk south after dinner, still not knowing where we were going. Passing the Loews at 68th street, I mentioned that I could probably pick up the Spiderman tickets I got for May 4th. Passing it by, she spins me around and whips out 5 tickets -- three for Spiderman, and two for that night. Surprise date movie! Woo hoo! Funny movie, a little gory, but very entertaining.

The date was fantastic. Have we gone to a movie and dinner before? Of course. So why was this anything worth mentioning? Not knowing the details brought a sense of surprise that made the night so exciting.

Married date tip 2: Invite your date up for some tofu
I said that I would try to make the date inexpensive -- maybe $10 a head or less, since we had a more costly date the night before. I knew that the weather wasn't going to be great, so I planned on indoor activities. We started with a trip to the American Museum of Natural History*, including comp tickets to the "Cosmic Collisions" space show. We got to see Audubon's Mammal drawings in a room that's reopened after some 15 years. And we ran through the dinosaurs (because can you really go to the AMNH without seeing dinosaurs??) Lots of fun, stayed about two hours, and then onto part two -- a little risky for my first date planning.

(* Truth be told, we renewed our membership that had lapsed -- while this took us beyond the $10 cap, I looked at it as an investment for rainy days or future Saturdates. You can get in with any donation -- $0.50 or $50)

For the second part of the date, we returned home. Home? That doesn't sound like much of a date. If we wanted to stay home, we could have not planned anything! The Yankees (DW's team) were playing Boston, so it would be a shame to miss it. It was playing on Fox, so I went out that morning and brought back some cracker jack, peppers and onions (we had some hot Italian tofurky sausage), peanuts in the shell and some Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade (not exactly stadium drink, but I was trying to woo my girl). The result? A carefully planned date at home can be a homerun. We had a great time, watched the game together (multitasking during our date = no second date), wore our hats and had the best seat in the house. She walked away with a free tattoo -- what a lucky gal.

DW's colleague has a standing date with her husband each Friday night. Babysitter for the kids, and out they go. I used to think it was a little silly, but now I can see how enjoyable it is, if not necessary at a certain point. Any other married folk out there have some good post-honeymoon dating tips? (, with each other, of course! :)

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