One night, in the pouring rain, Danny Nathan realized that running errands with his girlfriend couldn’t be considered a special night out.
It all started in the midst of a downpour on a Friday evening in lower Manhattan…
We rushed through the streets of Tribeca in an effort to catch the 6:40 water taxi to Ikea Brooklyn, both of us keeping one eye on the streets ahead and the other on the ominously grey skies looming above. About half-way through our mad dash to the ferry, we realized we weren’t going to make it. Just as we took refuge under the awning of a random office building, the heavens opened up, dumping torrents onto week-weary commuters. We stood there for a few minutes, waiting for the downpour to subside. And waiting. And waiting. Finally, we decided that we either had to get wet or risk getting to Ikea with too little time to finish our shopping. We set off, miserably.
As we squish-squashed our way onto the ferry, trying in vain to shake off some of the water that had soaked us thoroughly on the way over, I made a feeble attempt to lighten the mood by mentioning that while our evening Date was off to a rough start, I’d make it up to her with an order of Swedish Meatballs. “This is NOT a date.” Joni immediately fired back at me. (Nevermind the fact that we’re both vegetarians.) And even though it was delivered with a smile, there was no doubting the undertone of finality to the statement. Of course, she was right.
This evening’s jaunt wasn’t a date, it was nothing short of a mission. And it was only the first in a long series of full Zipcars and must-do errands that would transform our now year-and-a-half old relationship into one of full-on “official” cohabitation. Throughout the course of the weekend, as we packed and then unpacked boxes, re-arranged my (now our) apartment in its entirety, and spent hours cursing through the transformation of mass-produced, flat-packed furniture into the storage chambers of our co-mingled lives, we ruminated on that conversation. Finally, the realization dawned on us…
We’ve stopped dating.
Nights out are no longer intricately planned in advance with an unending mind toward smooth transition from the office to the bar and just maybe to whatever comes next. As with any relationship, we’ve gotten past that period where Date Night is planned ahead, where every encounter and every word is carefully chosen with the express purpose of making a good impression. We eat dinner together almost nightly. We share a bed. And a bathroom.
We live together, but we don’t date anymore.
No, we weren’t breaking up on the eve of the big move. In fact, we were happier and more comfortable together than ever – perhaps even too comfortable. Which is exactly the problem. Nowadays, “Date Night” is as good as a home-cooked meal and a movie on the sofa. Or a quick drink at our favorite neighborhood bar. Or a jaunt to Ikea.
That’s a problem—and we’ve tasked ourselves with fixing it. Weekend getaways and afternoons out have undoubtedly helped us feel closer to one another. They’ve also had the added benefit of an excuse to meet up and reconnect with old friends and other couples whom we hadn’t enjoyed the opportunity of seeing often. (Putting in just a little effort changes everything.) And it’s here that we made an important discovery…
Date Night is a million things to a million different couples. But there’s one common thread we’ve discovered across couples everywhere. Once you’re dating—once you’ve reached the point in your relationship where you start talking about us and we—you stop going out on dates. Candle-lit dinners become take-out containers and theatre tickets become DVD mailers. Date Night gives way to the ease and simplicity of routine.
This realization, along with the discovery that the problem is pervasive across couples everywhere, has changed both our lives and our relationship. Together with a close friend and technologist, we’ve set out to fix the problem – not just for ourselves, but for all couples. After months of planning and brainstorming, and weeks of design and coding, we’ve introduced the world to the beginnings of our solution: Date Night Is…
The idea is simple: We’re here to bring Date Night back.
We believe it’s time for an evening out that was actually planned in advance. It’s time to try something new together—something that fuels your sense of adventure and discovery. Hire a babysitter. Take a class. Party on a school night. Dress to kill, for no good reason but that you can. It’s time to start dating one another, again.
Date Night Is… a dating experience designed specifically for couples. One that we hope will lay the groundwork to strengthen relationships for couples everywhere in the same manner that we’ve set out to strengthen our own. Our goal is to create a service that’s useful but subtle – more “friendly tap on the shoulder” than “pushy used car salesman.” From occasional reminders that it’s time to plan a Date Night to help orchestrating the perfect evening and perhaps even double Date Nights, we have in mind a number of services and products, both digital and real-world, to put Date Night back on the calendar.
We’re already off and running, but where we go from here, and which of these products becomes a priority, is as much up to other couples as it is us.
What do you do to ensure you and your partner get a real Date Night?
Do you think relationships suffer when we stop “dating” one another?
Are Date Nights necessary to keep the spark alive?