It is a fact that once you have a small child, dates change. That is, the act of going on a date becomes a distinct action unlike anything that we called dating before.
Before, a date was something you might decide to do on a whim. It was also something that could start around 5 p.m. and last well until the next morning. It was a spontaneous and sometimes drawn-out act. But it was also something you could sometimes plan for, based, say, on when a new movie you want to see was coming to theaters or when a restaurant you like has a reservation, or when the weather is nice.
Dating with a baby throws so many more variables into the mix. Which is why last night Marta and I went on a date to see The Fault of Our Stars. Yes, I am talking about that kids cancer movie based on the best-selling YA novel by John Green. The kind of movie tween girls go to en masse and then cry together about afterwards.
It is also why, now that I think about it, one of the last times we went on a date we ended up seeing the Disney movie Saving Mr. Banks, which is about the making of the movie Mary Poppins.
It’s not that Marta and I have a fetish for tween and kids movies. It’s that dating with a baby requires a lot of planning. And we happen to live in a place that has very little in the way of exciting cultural events (a highlight on a recent Saturday was the migratory bird festival at the Lubbock Landmark Lake Museum, which is a museum with no lake). Also we only have one babysitter and she always seems to have plans on the nights when there actually is a good movie or concert or event in town.
Which means in the end, we find ourselves in a theater watching a movie that is clearly not aimed at our age bracket.
And yet there is a silver lining to all this. Because we get to go on dates so infrequently, I’d like to say we savor them in a way we didn’t before. That’s probably not exactly true, because before we were also better rested, but it is true that we both try to be on a best behavior. We get damn near excited whenever a date comes around. Like two kids before Christmas.
Also, The Fault in Our Stars wasn’t that cheezy. There were some great scenes of Amsterdam, where I spent a semester way way back when in my early 20s. Also there were a few moments that were almost literary. And several scenes made us cry. Even Marta, which is a huge feat (though she cries more easily since she’s had a child). And lastly, we got to see the movie at the newly built Alamo Draft House, which means we shared three mini bánh mìs and a plate of fish and chips and some high-quality good beer.
So dating is not dead when you have a child. It’s just altered. Like when a mini skirt becomes a burqa.
Here are some dates we had before we had Nico:
And here are what dates look like now.
Pre-date, with Nico at the Science Spectrum.
Post-date, around, say, 11:30 p.m.: