Op-Ed: A cautionary tale of never-ending date nights

Op-Ed: A cautionary tale of never-ending date nights
Jo Slade
A date night cartoon

It is time for honesty here, and caution based on experience. As you know, the road of life is filled with forks that can take you to unknown places. Some are good, but some are bad, they’re “Come on in, the water’s fine!” forks and those ones lay in wait for unsuspecting souls. Trust me, you don’t want anything to do with those forks.

Bad-fork case in point: Date Night

The concept of date night seems harmless enough, but in the hands of the wrong people, it can go very wrong. Jim and I had seen references in movies, but it always seemed one of those trendy deals that had no relevance for us. We’ve been married so long that the idea of a date night was something to laugh about, and, because we tend to get rowdy when we laugh about things, it was also something to jeer about.

Then one day we decided to have a jokey Friday Date Night. Not a series of ’em, just one cheeky occasion for cheap laughs. Yes, we did it to be hilarious, and it actually was, it sounded funny to say we were having a “date night,” and even funnier to be on one, especially since it involved doing pretty much what we do every night anyway, which is to watch a movie while noshing on good food.

However, we did not realize how quickly things could get out of control. We did not recognize the bad fork in the road for what it was. We did not know that once you turn down that road, there’s no turning back.

The first date night was great, though. We laughed and told people about it and they laughed (and jeered, I might add), and it was good. We had so much fun laughing that we decided to have a second one. Then another. We decided that date night should be about the things we shouldn’t eat or do on regular days, so we opted for chicken wings, beer, a disgracefully unhealthy dessert, and Netflix and chill.

In shockingly short order, we added a second date night, one we called Saturday Edition Date Night (fish and chips to go, beer, dessert and Netflix).

Yes, that’s right, we evolved (read: devolved) to back-to-back date nights. Once again, we thought we were hilarious.

We soon realized that date night wasn’t just ironic and hilarious, it had unexpectedly gifted us with a nailed-down rock-solid quality excuse for indulging in unhealthy food choices and bad behaviour.

Temptation like that can only end badly for people who have zero will-power, and we knew it. This unfortunate epiphany came too late, though, and things started taking a turn for the worse.

In no time at all, we had added:

Saturday Date Morning (doughnuts to go, from a local bakery)

Tuesday Date Night (Scotch and pizza and Netflix mini-series binges)

Wednesday Date Morning (breakfast out)

Thursday Date Afternoon (coffee milkshakes to go)

Random Date Occasion (any time something unhealthy crosses our pathetic weak minds, and yes, I mean ice cream).

We have now fallen so far into the Date Abyss that we are permanent residents. There is no hope. We will never find our way out, no matter how hard we (don’t) try. It’s bad, really bad.

It gets worse, though. Aside from the excuse to make bad food choices, there is another irresistible lure: it seems everybody in the world respects date night.

When people hear that we are going on a date night, we are instantly off the hook for whatever it is that we wanted to get out of doing with them. It’s like magic. People actually smile, and say, “Oh, date night! Well, you can’t mess with date night, have fun! We can reschedule.”

Looking at our date schedule, all I can say is good luck with that. We do have one empty space on January 5, 2024, between 4:15 PM and 4:20 PM, but everybody knows Emergency Date Situations can happen, so who can say.

The success of the getting-out-of-things excuse has been astonishing. We are now considering a broader application, since curing us of this malady is clearly not an option.

“Dear Dentist who probably wants to drill holes in my teeth, it pains me to say this, but I must cancel my appointment because I just realized it conflicts with our Date Afternoon.”

Even better:

“Dear Revenue Canada, this is to inform you that we totes can’t pay our taxes this year because this year happens to be Date Year. Sorry, not sorry.”

In closing I can only caution once again: Please don’t do it, please ignore the temptation to start date nights. Just say no. Then maybe say yes, but be wary and be strong. If you’re weak, and you will be, we will save some chicken wings for you down here in the abyss. If we’re not on a date night, that is.

This editorial was written by Jo Slade. Jo has been messing around with words for a long time. Sometimes she’ll just say the words rather than writing them, to save on paper. Occasionally words fail her, but when that happens she just rounds them up and forces them into sentences to keep them in line.

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Jo SladeJo Slade

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