“So, after you’re done with cleaning, do you want to go out and grab some Chinese?” Drew yells from the living room. I am wearing rubber gloves up to my elbows with my trusty disposable toilet brush in one hand (thank you, whoever invented that!) and a wad of paper towels in the other. I am wearing my old sweatpants from college and a T-shirt that has seen better days. It’s Saturday night: time to go on a date!
Once you’re married, dating is just never the same. There is no anticipation, no giddiness, no long hours of consultation with girlfriends about what to wear. And afterwards, there is no debriefing on the phone, no analysis of every word spoken or every move made. And it is really hard to feel sexy and desirable after your hubby’s just seen you with your hands in the toilet. Is it even considered a real date if you’re going out because the only food in the fridge is butter and pickles?
Of course, the relationship experts tell you how important it is to keep the romance alive in a marriage. They say that you should plan evenings alone and rediscover each other over candlelit dinners and long gazes into each other’s eyes, and that you should wear something new and risqué in bed every now and then to spice things up.
We don’t have kids yet, but I can already tell that even without kids this “keeping the romance alive” thing is hard. Between jobs, stress, in-laws, friends, hobbies and more work, I’m glad we remember each other’s names at the end of the day.
I do complain from time to time that I don’t get flowers that often anymore, that we don’t go on “real” dates and that we watch too much TV in the evenings instead of reconnecting after a long day or week. But then an unexpected connection in the middle of a bad day reminds me that what I thought was a romantic date in college or in my single days is no longer what I want romance to be.
During one of the recent winter storms, we were without electricity for a day. Neither of us slept well the night before because the power kept popping off and then on, we listened to the wind howl and were generally concerned about the violent weather outside our windows. Drew had to go to work in the morning and he was cranky because he couldn’t shave without his electric razor and he missed his energizing hot morning shower. I was cranky, because I was in a cold, dark house all day, alone, and a little scared. I felt dirty and stinky and just plain unattractive.
I drove to Drew’s office during his lunch hour and we went out to eat together. The streets were deserted and the restaurant was quiet too. We sat down, ordered, and talked and talked about all kinds of stuff, like we hadn’t seen each other in days — about the stupid weather, things going on at our offices, plans for the summer, about my parents, about his Mom and siblings, about what to do with the food in the freezer if we don’t get our power back soon.
Drew suddenly stopped in mid-sentence and said: “Zsozso, are we on a date?”
I only had to think for a second to realize that we were, indeed, on a date.
It’s true, I wasn’t wearing my lucky shoes, my hair wasn’t done and he didn’t bring me roses. But I was sitting across the table from a really cute guy, talking non-stop, laughing and playing footsie under the table. I didn’t have to worry about whether I was funny, whether there was food on my teeth or whether he might think that I’m a pig for finishing off that burger.
I knew that I was going to get a kiss in the end, no matter what.