Suburban Dads’ Big Night Out!
My husband and I met in L.A. in the late 90s. Our social life and nights out were nothing short of fabulous and exciting. Wild nights in West Hollywood, romantic strolls by the beach and attending movie premieres and after-parties were par for the course.
Fast-forward 18 years, and it’s daddy life in the ‘burbs of New England. To say our social life has changed slightly would be like saying Kim Kardashian kinda likes publicity.
It’s not to say we don’t still get out. In fact, we might socialize with other people now more than ever; it just looks very different. We get at least three monthly opportunities to hang with other parents at our local indoor-jumpy-house at yet-another kids’ birthday party. (Still haven’t figured out why these places don’t sell alcohol … They’d make a killing.) And, it’s not at all uncommon for a few families in the hood to get together for pizza and mini-dance party night with the kiddos on any given evening. (Kidz Bop station on Pandora, anyone??)
Tom (center) and Jimmy with their kids
Of course, family time is so important to us. We try to spend as much time with our beautiful children as we possibly can.
And, if only as common as a blue moon, there is one additional element to our social life: the rare date night with just the two of us.
At this stage in life, we ain’t no fancy gays by any means. We are just as content going out dressed to the nines as we are going out for a dinner at the NintyNine. Just as long as we can have some enjoyable time with each other, we’re game.
The only non-negotiable: when we get to have a date night, we’ve got to make it count!
This past summer, we had one of those rare opportunities. My grandmother and aunt agreed to come over and watch our kids, 4 and 6, so we could go out. After quickly rummaging through our junk drawer I found the nearly expired gift certificate someone had given us to a restaurant we’d never tried. I heard it even had outdoor seating! The perfect big night out was about to happen.
The time was 5:30 and the sitters arrived. By 5:32, we peeled out of the driveway (every minute counts)! Less than 15 minutes later, we arrived at the restaurant to find the “outdoor seating” was a tiny area adjacent to a dumpy parking lot and loud street. Three of the four tables were filled by families with little kids. By 5:47, we were off to find another restaurant. Twenty minutes later … ahhhhh. We'd found a perfect alternative. The place had a beautiful patio, trendy 20- and 30-somethings already getting their drink on and an open table. At 6:20, we were reminded, in New England, mosquitos dine out at the same time as humans on a warm summer night. Also, it turns out, 40-something gay dudes are apparently the tastiest thing on their menu. (Guess we’ve still got it!)
So, back from the pharmacy by 6:40 with a newly purchased aerosol can in hand, we hosed each other down. Things were looking up; the next full hour went by without a blood-sucking insect in sight.
Also, our waitress was missing in action. Our gay charm wasn’t really working that night.
Finally, by 9 p.m., we were fed and watered; the food and drinks were great. And we decided to go back home for dessert. (Wink, wink!)
We created a plan. We arrived back at the house at 9:30, hubby announced to gram/aunt he “was exhausted” before heading to our bedroom. I told him I’d be there soon.
Gram and aunt had other plans for me. At 9:55, I was still listening to a recap of every single “cute” thing our kids did from my grandmother (bless her).
Turns out my repeating the phrases “You must be as tired as I am!” and “Well, thanks again for coming over!” wasn’t enough of a hint. By 10:15, my subtle cues had finally worked. Sitters left and kids were sound asleep. Time to get back to date night!
1. If possible, plan ahead. Yes, spontaneity is great, but researching options in advance isn’t such a bad idea, either.
2. Make it clear to the sitters: When we get home, you go home. (Sorry, gram!)
3. Whether it’s sneaking in a disco nap earlier in the day or going lighter on the food/drink when you’re out, try to save room for “dessert” when you get back home.
Tom Bourdon is the senior vice president of LGBT partnerships for prowdr.com.