Treating your Valentine to a special night doesn’t require a whole lot of money or elaborate plans–just some ingenuity
OK gentlemen. It’s time to come up with a plan for your lovely lady for Valentine’s Day. Now. I know the obstacles you’re facing. The kids are too young to stay at home by themselves while you go on a date. Your usual babysitter isn’t available because she’s being wooed by that waiter from Applebee’s. Your options are running out. What are you going to do to make the night special and show your wife/girlfriend how special she is to you?
My solution: Home date night
It’s going to take a little work but trust me, it’s going to be worth it.
Pick a room in the house where you’re going to set up your “restaurant”. For me, it’s going to be my garage/office. My wife doesn’t come out here much so it’s not hard to keep the secret. Set up a nice little table for two in the middle of the room. Go to Bed Bath And Beyond and pick up some of the curtains they haven’t been able to sell for the last decade. The more revolting they look, the cheaper they’ll be. They’ll just add atmosphere to your place. Or you can just pull out old sheets from the bottom of the closet. Now hang them from the ceiling creating an intimate room within the room. I’ll have to cover my Clash posters, my bikes and my framed Archer picture (my wife was less than pleased to learn that I removed a picture of my daughter to put him in).
Get yourself onto i-Tunes or Pandora. You need to recreate a restaurant atmosphere. I’ll be having Italian food from Tannins in San Juan Capistrano, so I am going to be making a mix of Italian music to be playing in the background. Download about 10 songs and you should be good to go. A quick google search can get you the artists you need if you’re not versed on traditional Greek standards or romantic Slovakian ballads. Now, get into the attic and get down some Christmas lights. String those around your curtains and you’ve just classed up your joint by about a gajillion percent. Set everything up in advance. Have wine bottle openers, silverware, glasses, plates, candles…everything. You don’t want to leave the room for any reason until the date is over. And you’ll want to order the food in advance, to go.
Send an invite to your lady. Write a note or do it through Evite. Spare any details but make sure to let her know that she’s expected to dress formally as you will be. Don’t do this verbally!!! That’s muy importante!! It makes it seem like much more of an event and it can be a keepsake of the awesome evening you’re planning if she receives a legit invite. Let her know the time she should be ready, and that’s it. You’re not going to be getting dressed at the house. You’ll be picking her up, but she doesn’t know that. Put your suit and shoes in the car when she’s not looking.
Step IV—Date Time:
Get the kids to bed. If you have kept this a secret, your wife is going to worry about the details. “When is the babysitter coming?” “Will we be outdoors?” “What time will we be back?” You just be infuriatingly vague and tell her to get ready while you head out to pick up the babysitter that you didn’t actually book. Now get to her favorite restaurant and pick up her favorite meal. Get appetizers and wine as well. When you get home, you’re going to be dressed (I hope you have on a tie, you slob). From there you just have to lead her into the restaurant you’ve set up and serve all the food you’ve picked up. Don’t let her get up for anything (she’ll try).
These date nights shouldn’t just be reserved for special occasions. They’re essential reminders of how much you appreciate each other. So do this often! Maybe not quite so elaborate, but any little changes can make a big difference.
The most important aspect of this night is heaping all of your attention on your date. Tonight you are not the married couple who were cleaning baby poop together and struggling to find time to shower amid the chaos of raising children. This night, she’s your date. She’s the lady you built up courage to ask out 10 years ago. She’s the girl you spied across campus one day who made your mouth dry and wilted your composure. You sir, are there to impress. Don’t let her down.
—this post appeared earlier at Life of Dad