Monday, October 17, 2016

You Wanna Go Out?

Over the weekend, Blair was in New Orleans visiting her boyfriend, John Samuel, who's in school there.  She always comes home telling us what all they've done.  The sightseeing.  The shopping.  The Saints games.  The eating.  The coffee and beignets.  The festivals.  The art.  Lots of fun stuff.  It made me think how a couple's dates tend to change through the years. 

Davis and I always go out on Friday nights.  Sometimes, we go out with other couples and, occasionally, we may let one of our offspring tag along if they're without plans and look at us like they're hungry but, more often than not, it's just the two of us.  It's our date night.  What constitutes a date has really changed over the course of the years, though, as I'm sure is the case with most couples. You find you just have to go with the flow of life.       

Dating couples-  Oh, ladies, this is the peak of the date experience.  It's at its finest right here.  It's funny how we start out on the peak of Mt. Wine and Dine and descend from there but, hey, that's just the way life happens.  When you're dating, he's trying to impress you and so there is no restaurant too expensive or concert too costly or destination too far for you.  No, ma'am.  If he's going to lure you into promising to love and cherish him through kidney stones, a c-pap machine, an enlarged prostate, and goodness knows what else -only to be relieved of your duties through death then he's going to have to put his best foot forward here.  There are a lot of things for a young woman to consider before making such a decision but a man knows that filet, James Taylor tickets, and a dozen roses in the passenger seat could help to clarify things for her.  Money is usually never mentioned in this phase.  If you want to hit the road, you hit the road.  If you want to go to a concert, you go.  If you want an appetizer, entrée, and dessert, you order it.  That's just how it usually is in the dating stage.  It's a fun place to be. 

Newlyweds-  Dating is still pretty good, here......maybe just a little different.  After the wedding, phrases like "budgeting" and "staying on budget" and "that's not in the budget" start to emerge, here and there.  At first, you're like...."What is this budget you speak of?"  I mean, because you've become so accustomed to the "whatever you want, dear" treatment.  Sure, it's most likely because, at this point, you've purchased your first home or the reality of being prepared for the future has hit but this new word, budget, starts creeping up in conversations.  Even so, with it just being the two of you, there's still plenty of wiggle room to date big.  Oh, the fancy trips and the fun weekends.  The ballgames.  The plane tickets.  The getaways with friends.  This is a special time.  Still having fun but with more adult-ish restraint.

Parents of small children-  Ok, well, this is where dating starts to get dicey.  Here, we begin the descent from the summit.  I mean, dates during this period require the hiring of personnel to keep the children and so you've spent half your date money before you even leave the house.  And with diapers, formula, and newly formed college funds sucking money off the top, there's not as much to work with for dating.  This is the beginning of looser translations of the word, date.  I remember there were books written on creative dating, back in the day, or AKA how to get out of the house and away from the children for cheap.

I remember we'd hire a sitter or get the grandparents to come over and we'd go to dinner.  Dressing up wasn't appealing at this stage because you were just completely exhausted.  So, nowhere fancy.  Preferably somewhere you had a coupon.  We'd sit and talk about nothing but the children who, ironically, we needed a break from.....and sometimes, we'd be so curious about how they were doing that we'd call home and check.  After dinner, we'd be so excited as headed to the grocery store so we could buy a few things without offspring hanging from the cart and pacifiers flying through the air and hitting the dirty floor.  Was there anything better than just going to the store by yourselves?  This is the stage where the fun threshold is so incredibly low that you can cross it with little to no driving around in the minivan with the empty car seats, eating a Blizzard, ejecting the Barney CD, and cranking up Savage Garden.  It's the simple joys you begin to appreciate here.  Forget the roses.  Let's just go sit in a parking lot somewhere with a pizza and enjoy the quiet.    

Parents of teenagers and college kids-  Well, this one here is a mixed bag.  While your kids are old enough to tend to themselves, they are also costing more money than our national defense.'re literally hemorrhaging money at this point in your life.  Bleeding out.  There's car insurance for your fleet of vehicles, prom dresses, college tuition, cell phone plans for the masses, fraternity bills.....and did I mention they eat like Clydesdales?  Add to that all the hair color and hormone patches you're needing at this point.  Dang.  You realize you've given birth to parasites. 

So, while you do have the freedom to get out more, your money may be otherwise committed.  This is the stage in which you may decide to split the fajitas because "they just give you so much."  You sit and talk about, well, the bloodsuckers and whatever is going on with them at the time......ACT scores, their significant others, college tuition hikes.....and the impossibility of retirement. Afterwards, your date may suggest something like a run by the AutoZone so he can get some windshield washer fluid because your warning light is on.  Really, he's just trying to fill the night with some free entertainment and what more could a woman want than a half order of fajitas and a chance to peruse the assorted windshield fluids?  When you get done with that, you usually head back home early because, well, you get tired faster now and, not to mention, you're needing a bowl of cereal, at this point, because the fajitas just didn't cut it.

Empty nesters-  While I can't speak to this stage, I imagine there's a lot more freedom to go and do and travel.  This is the stage in which you stop cooking, RVs are purchased, and grandchildren are dropped off a whole lot.....or so I've been told.  I guess we'll find out what it's like in due time.   

In love, sometimes, it's lobster, roses, and Broadway.  Other times, Quarter Pounders, Home Depot, and Redbox.  Who we are and what we enjoy together changes through the years.  It's good to just have your own kind of fun along the way. 

Y'all have a good Tuesday!      




  1. Excellent post of transitions through out the married years. Also the Boomerang years, adult children moving back in. Alot of political talking about it and not in a good way too. My daughter moved back in with us for awhile, a lot of changes in her life, should get straighten out by next year for the most part. Living with an adult child can be challenging, but as long as she's part of the household, no maid service:).
    Kathleen in Az

    1. Hahaha.....I'm enjoying Blair being here. I know it's temporary and when she leaves this time, it will be for good, so I'm going to enjoy every second. She cooks good so no complaints!

  2. I just love to read your writing! I chuckled at the low point in dating with small children...I didn't care how I looked as long as I was dressed and teeth brushed!!! Thank you again for writing so that I can feel normal. Now I can look forward to the money draining phase!!!

    1. Hahaha....Daphne, never fear. I am always here to make you feel normal. :) And the money draining phase....well, it's brutal. Mercy me!!