There are two words that are guaranteed to perk up even the most frazzled parent, no not “double espresso” and definitely not “one more?” I am of course talking about Date Night, a night to book a babysitter/reluctant friend/guilt ridden relative, forget you are a parent, pretend you can still hold a decent conversation and indulge yourselves (get drunk). They come around as often as lie ins and are as prized as the phantom poo nappy change.
In the olden days legend has it babysitters were easily exploitable adolescents, using your living room to get acquainted with their latest snog, who were thrilled to receive a few gold coins and the contents of the fridge. These days they negotiate hard and are no longer motivated by the contents of your fridge, more the contents of your wallet. They know their rights and more to the point they know you’re bloody desperate.
Embracing the novelty of a freshly ironed shirt, combed hair and the whiff of fine deodorant (aftershave funds have been gobbled up by baby related expenditure), Date Night usually begins with a bit of X Rated role play to get us in the mood “so stranger, do you have any children” “absolutely not, I can’t stand the little blighters” “get your coat you’ve pulled”.
This is followed by the laying down of “The Rules”, because nothing screams romance and passion like rules;
- no Max talk
- no talk of a ‘friends baby’ called Mac
- no sneaking off to the toilets to peak at the picture of Max in your wallet/purse
- no checking your phone every two minutes to see if the babysitter has called
- no pretending to be ill, food poisoned, tired, etc, in order to get back to Max
After evaluating the suitability of the restaurants curtains and whether they tie in with the overall colour scheme and wondering what on earth we could possibly have talked about before we were graced with Max’s presence, we break every single rule, smash them in fact. “I wonder what Max is doing right now?” “I wonder if he’s missing us?” “the Starter was lovely but I’m not really that hungry, we should probably just skip Main and Desert and get back to see if he’s making that cute little snoring noise he does?” “we could always wake him up just to let him know we are back, it’s what he would want”.
There is nothing quite like Date Night to make you realise how much your life has changed. You go out with the intention of showing there’s life in the old dad yet and you return home with the realisation that your life is asleep in a cot oblivious to all the soul searching.