ASK ANY EXPERT THE SECRET TO KEEPING THE marital spark alive, and they’ll likely talk your ear off about the value of regular date nights. I happen to be in a spark-filled union myself: My husband, D.J., and I have been married for five years, together for 12 (give or take a few breaks in our early twenties), and close friends for 15. Together we have a mortgage, a dog, a two-year-old son named Charlie, and a “cuddle blanket” we like to share while watching TV in our “comfies.” And while I prefer my husband’s company to that of anyone else—he’s a secret joke assassin and looks straight-up GQ in a suit—I loathe date night. In fact, I think the idea that a night on the town will make things sexier at home is the most expensive lie ever told.
Don’t believe me? Here is a decadent but not totally insane date-night tally for two in New York City in 2018: competent nanny for three hours, $60; drinks, dinner, and his-and-her desserts to be competitively shared with tiny spoons, approximately $153 after tax and tip; Uber home to avoid that awkward moment when it’s been three hours and five minutes, and we don’t know if we should pay the nanny for three hours or four, $20. (To save $20. I know. It’s weird.)
Approximate grand total: $233. Zero nookie included.
But it’s not just the financial obligation that stresses me out; it’s also the logistical labor that date night requires: preproduction that includes everything from making a reservation to finding a decent day-to-night outfit. Then there’s the fear that a caregiver might accidentally murder my kid, which can only be assuaged by an extra bottle of wine (marked up from $18.99 to $40.99, which just put our sexy date-night total at nearly $300).
Also baked into the cost is the expectation that a change of scenery and proximity to strangers will conjure up a more stimulating version of our dynamic. This visual of what “reconnecting” after a hard week should look like—our hands clasped across a candle-dotted tablescape, my stiletto gently feeling its way up my man’s trouser leg—feels like something ginned up by the execs at Traditional Gender Roles Advertising Inc. I suppose the joke’s on them when we spend the entire meal impersonating how Charlie says firetruck and eavesdropping on the table next to us.
Here’s an idea: Instead of dropping all that cash on low-grade anxiety and a hangover, I’m putting it toward a new cuddle blanket and slightly less droopy comfies. After all, Deej and I do our best flirting on the couch, pausing a movie 93 times to dig into tangents about our day—my mouth invariably drawn to the softest part of his neck. Or on second thought: Maybe I’ll use that cash to buy more of those candles that make our apartment smell like a tasteful brothel. At least that way we’ll be in the mood for sex. Cheap sex, that is.
Justine Harman is a senior editor at Glamour. Have a totally different take on #datenight? Tweet us at@glamourmag.
LOCATION: BEAUBOURG BRASSERIE IN LE DISTRICT, NYC ■