A terrific, inspired idea. Romantic. Noble. In theory. Not so much in practice.
What I didn’t know then: how tired we’d be. How utterly drained, how behind on any and every other task besides going to work and raising kids. How impossibly over talking we’d be.
I think my husband and I talked non-stop for the first three years of our relationship. We were philosophical. We were witty. We were the kind of people whose table you wanted to sit at. In the first several years of our marriage, prior to having kids, my husband and I would go out every weekend, to all the newest restaurants, movies, trendy art openings. And we had fun at all of these events. We were glitzy. We were talk-y. We had energy.
Now, we have two very young children. Now, we dread weekends. (Mondays are now my favorite day of the week, because our helper returns, with light surrounding her and a chorus of angels singing to announce her arrival. Every Monday morning I shake awake from my catatonic stare and embrace her.)
Now, weekends include the pressure and expense of a babysitter. It’s a mandate: don’t just go out, have a GREAT time! But now, my skin crawls thinking of going to a new or untested anything. Especially a restaurant with avant-garde-sized non-portions or any sort of foam “garnish.” If the restaurant is good, it’ll be around in a year or three and I’ll try it once they’ve worked out their first year kinks and I don’t have to make a reservation two months in advance. I catch movies on-demand now and sometimes I even make it to the end without falling asleep. And art – the viewing of it, much less creating of it – seems like such an indulgence to me now. I no longer have patience for most museums.
Truthfully, I fantasize about spending our date nights sitting in my car listening to an audio book. Or resting in a dark, silent room. If we stayed home while the sitter was there, even if we hid from the kids, they would find us, like drug sniffing dogs. They always find us.
I have been looking for a place where I can get massaged while I eat. A place to go where I don’t have to comb my hair first. Where I can wear sweats, recline, talk, and eat, but also drift in and out of sleep, read a book or magazine and/or pay the bills without it seeming rude to my dining partner. I believe there is a market for this sort of thing. It could even save a few marriages.
I have decided I will invent this place. Call it Parents’ Pub. It will be dark and quiet, with recliners covered in thick afghan blankets and hearty amounts of food and alcohol on tap. You can talk to your date, catch up on your weeks, but you need not feel obligated. If you want to sit side by side in each others’ company without even acknowledging each other, that’s okay too. It’s the quiet-car-on-the-train of restaurants, with a code of behavior unto itself. I feel more rested just thinking of it.
(Patents pending, investors welcome.)
Carrie Friedman is a writer and mother of two. Her latest project is the blog What I DIDN’T Expect When I Was Expecting.
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