Tuesday, October 6, 2009

can we retire the clunky use of "date night"?

A tweet from Lauren inspired me to beg her for a guest post last night as my plane was pulling away from JFK. And here it is:

so barack and michelle obama celebrated their anniversary this saturday. man, i love watching them interact: they're both so accomplished! their body language is so endearing (their campaign fist bump was goddamn adorable)! they make a point of spending private time together! they're like a little fish bowl, except they have a bunch of advanced degrees and i don't have to feed them shrimp flakes. obama relationship headlines would be the greatest thing ever - if they didn't force me to deal with the bullshit that is "date night" over and over.

i could fill several screens with my hatred of "date night" - think madeline kahn in clue, flames, on the side of my face, breathing-breathl- heaving breaths. heaving breath - but i think yesterday's twitter rant with meg (who was terribly patient with me) sums it up nicely.

can we retire the clunky use of "date night" re: married people? i do not date my husband, thanks.

seeing a movie, going out for drinks, getting dinner. a term cheapens what should be natural and makes it sound forced.

like the media called it "date night" when the obamas went out for their 17th anniversary. that's the dumbest shit i've heard all day.

the concept ("us night," if you will) is fine; the term itself reinforces the idea that romance dies when dating becomes marriage.

i'm an editor at a women's magazine; if i can get over "date night," anyone can. let's kick it with our husbands, by all means - but let's use language that does our relationships justice, yes?


p.s. H-town and I barely dated in the first place. So who says dating is romantic. Is what I'd like to add.

(Image via The Sassy Kathy via ffffound)


  1. I think it is funny that you have such an issue with this term . . . for me it has nothing to do with "us night" or "us time" but really with actually going out . . . hence "date night." Plus, I do date my husband. Why wouldn't I? Otherwise we would just be sitting at home every night.

  2. Yes. Date night also has this weird connotation of dinner, movie, wine and contrived sexy time. However, most of my best fun with my partner is spent being silly in the privacy of our own apartment, or adventuring during the daylight hours, or just DOING something together because we love each other and like spending time together. Yeah, when life is hectic it needs to be scheduled (like everything else), but I hate the idea that "dating" is time outside of our everyday life and interactions.

  3. I like the term "date night", it implies an actual effort put forth into planning a fun night with someone you like, aka a date. "Us" night is every night, when we are just relaxing at home. A "date night" reminds me just how much I enjoy this person and can focus on just that, instead of the day to day minutia for a few hours.

  4. f date night...
    sex night.
    what?! was that outloud??!
    datings just foreplay anyway right??

  5. I like to use "date night" more in term of date = appointment. Everynight is us-night, but sometimes we make a date, put it on our calendar and follow through with plans. In doing so, in keeping our appointment, we are keeping our date.

  6. Yes to making an effort during everyday drudgery to plan quality time with your partner. No to viewing relationships in the insanely contrived way that we portray them publicly. (And me and the mister never "dated" either.)

    Anyway I have totally used "date night" a million times as it has come to be the shorthand for "quality time with partner" but I totally agree with this argument about how fucking TV Sitcom it is.

  7. I downright love this little pod of women who aren't afraid to curse. However. In this case, language aside, I think the label urge has nothing to do with marriage getting boring and everything to do with children becoming your all once they arrive. Dates are required. More like a to do item, rehab, tearing yourself away from the drug of small bodies who adore you.

  8. aside: note that i in no way meant to be all heteronormative or even gender-specific with the word "husband" throughout my post - it's just that i myself have a husband, and i'm terribly self-centered.

    LPC, i hear you re: "making a date" - meg made a similar point last night about parents (i'd have posted her responses to my tweets, but that cone of silence is hers to step beyond, not mine). it remains that "going on a date" has an association with the pre-marital that's unflatteringly nostalgic, IMHO.

  9. Still on the fence about how I feel about this, though I feel like Us Night is an acceptable alternative, and as I generally agree with your opinions about the terrible way our culture views marrage (ok, you didn't say that, I did) I think I'm mostly with you.

    I'm not totally sure if every night is Us Night... I mean, Friday nights in are, but most nights are a drone of tired, dinner, tired, drink, tired, write, tired shower, tired bed. Which I'm pretty sure do not qualify as us nights.

    All that aside, calling an anniversary a date night is total b*llshit. It's like people who tell me they want to get married again on their third anniversary when they can afford something big. REALLY? You think being a bride is preferable to being a wife? That's a bad sign. Grow up. Have an anniversary party.

  10. I don't know that it bothers me, other than the fact that it's kind of dorky and it would never occur to me to say it.
    I mean, we're together most evenings because we live together and when we decide to go out somewhere, we just say "let's go out to (fill in the blank, dinner, movie, etc)" Date sounds awkward, rather than fun, to me.

  11. maybe this makes me an asshole, but put any word in front of "night" and i am officially turned off. ladies night? wtf is that?!? no thanks, i'll just stay home...
    why not just ask me to get together for dinner/movie/drinks/fun etc.. i think i'm smart enough to catch on if only "ladies" will be attending.

  12. you're damn right!

    to hell with "date night"!

    i love what JOY said.

  13. Thank you, Celia. I'm pretty sure Lauren didn't mean Us Night should be the new date night. Because, BARF.

  14. @esb: correct. i don't even have a schedule in which to use a term.

  15. Well look, some of us do use it, so you pretty much have to give us something. So, yeah, Lauren did suggest Us Night to me as an alternative.

    If we didn't say oh shit, we haven't had date night in a long ass time, we'd just stay home and work. All. The. Time. I kid you not.

    Maybe for those of you who are less effing type A, this is less of a problem? Like you naturally go to movies and bars and hang out without thinking of it? Sigh. That sounds nice...

  16. I love the word 'date night'. Reminds me when I was 18 and young and in love. Wait, I am 24 and still in love. Hmmmm...

  17. I just liked the Madeline Kahn imitation...

  18. hahaha i thought that pic looked familiar! i was like hmmm cute picture! i think i've seen it before...

    gracias lady!

  19. couldn't agree more. wish I'd knew about your blog when I was planning or not planning my wedding almost 10 yrs ago. dig your blog and thanks for stoppin by the claw.