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Planning the perfect date night? Read this first

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Planning the perfect date night? Read this first by Lou Lavery

The stage is set.

You’ve somehow finangled your way into having a date night. At actual night. You’ll be leaving your house (the home of favourites such as Netflix and Couch) to venture out into the great unknown where you’ll be in the company of other adults. It is unlikely that you’ll be asked to clean up any vomit (unless you go to a particularly grotty pub) and you’ll be wearing shoes for probably the ENTIRE time.

It’s finally happening.

A family member has assured you they’re happy to take on babysitting duties. The children have been briefed and are feeling suitably horrified that you are daring to have a life outside of them.

Now all that’s left is to plan the perfect date night. When you have no idea what you’re doing and you haven’t left the house in five years.

Step One: We can have lots of fun

That’s not the first step. The temptation to quote New Kids on the Block was just really high. Sorry.

The first ACTUAL step is to choose your destination. The temptation to wing it (Oh! It’s just so fun to be out, I don’t care where we go!) will be very high but RESIST.

The problem with winging it when you haven’t been out in ages is that you don’t understand anything that’s happening. Why are people lining up to get in there? Where did the taxi lines go? Why should I have called ahead to get a seat at this crappy pizza joint?

Plan your night of freedom with all the subtlety and spontaneity of a military operation. It’s going to be a real shock and awe campaign – shock at how much money you’re going to be spending, and awe at how fashion trends have moved on without you.

Suggestions? Dinner. Movie. Classic. Ease yourself in.

Step Two: Costuming

You’re excited to go out and, again, temptation will be high to go ALL out.

When preparing for your first date night after having kids, you want to look nice. But more than that – you want to relax and enjoy getting ready to go out. Trying on clothes, experimenting with different makeup and hair styles.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying the ritual of getting ready. Be warned, though, that you may well end up wearing a full face of stage makeup as if you were ready to perform in a production of Cats. There’s only so much winged eyeliner you can apply before questions will be asked.

Suggestions? Dress for comfort instead of corsets. You should feel good as well as look good.

Step Three: Great expectations

Finally, the most important part of planning the perfect date night is accepting that it’s probably not going to be perfect.

Chances are that you’ll finally be seated at dinner and then talk about nothing but the kids.  There might be long queues, you may have to wait for ages, you may get terrible service and you might even remember that you hate crowds.

Make sure you measure your expectations before you go out to avoid the kind of disappointment that will make you not want to head out again. It’s important to give things ago but to accept that places and people are going to be a little different, and that you’re a little different too.

The perfect date night

Relax, laugh and enjoy being (temporarily) free of responsibilities. And wear comfortable underpants.

You’re welcome.

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