Stranger Days #17: Date Night When You're Stuck Indoors

Estimated Reading Time: 4.25 minutes

Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  

"We should do a date night," my partner suggests. It's been several weeks since we've been able to go out and do anything beyond walking the neighborhood or activities that weren't primarily inside the house. We had gotten away to a bed and breakfast in February for a weekend in February but we also knew there was nothing akin to that to be happening for the foreseeable future.  

Often when we do date night, we try to alternate who plans it. As the planner, it gives us an opportunity to be creative and thoughtful as well as to surprise and delight the other. For the other partner, it's a lot of fun to see what the other has come up with and often, are things that might not have been tried if we talked about it. Not because we're disagreeable to new ideas but there is a difference between two people deciding to do something and one person saying, "this is part of the date." It's a different state of mind, I would say.   

So I took the lead on this date night and thought I would share the results.  

A two-person table with two wine glasses, two candles, and various food spread out including beans, rice, tortilla chips, corn, and other foods.First up, dinner.  I could have made dinner but in this case, we did order out. We're trying to order out twice a week so that we find a way of supporting local businesses.  We went with a Mexican restaurant that we've really enjoyed before.  But I had more plans than just getting the food.  Our dining table can adjust to fit six to two people depending upon how we set it up.  I set it up for two and moved the dishes and such out of their containers and into plates to give it a full effect.  It was definitely way more food than we could eat in one sitting, but luckily, we brought our own plastic containers to this restaurant.  I also set out wine and candles, because if we were going to do it up, I wanted to do it up well.  

Along those lines, it wasn't enough to just put the food out. I also got a music playlist running the background and did the thing that we all know I'm not a huge fan of--I got dressed up (and by this, I mean I wore pants and a button-down collared shirt.  

While setting up date night, I had banished my partner to the porch (it's not as bad as it sounds--see yesterday's post how we reconfigured the porch) so see wasn't able to see any of the scheming.  When I came to the porch to let her know date night was commencing, she was surprised to see me all dressed up.  We sat down to enjoy a delicious meal from Acitron Cocina Mexicana (if you are in the Arlington area, definitely check it out).  

After dinner, we were onto our next activity.  I decided it was high time that we took a dance lesson. We've been talking about it for years but have yet to sign up for a class.  In these times of social distancing, I did the next best thing. I found a set of videos on YouTube and made a playlist. We set up the tablet on the table and had a good open space in our dining room to try it out. I chose swing because from my previous experience with ballroom dancing, I both enjoyed it and thought it could add some fun to the evening.  Needless to say, I'm not so sure we cut a rug in so much as we might have frayed it.  But we had fun and a lot of laughs and may have learned some of the steps to keep trying in the future.  Still, YouTube made for a good initial delve into learning to dance.  

So after dinner and dancing, it was time to get a bit adventurous and competitive; so I broke out the Wii U and we went a few rounds of Mario Kart on the Cuddle-Couch, which is my partner's favorite video game. We finished the date with dessert (also from Acitron).  

It wasn't a grand plan and it didn't entail lots of scheming. It just required that I rethink the space differently. The result was that we were able to have a bit of fun and magic when the place we live is also the place we work and the place we socialize with others.  

So for those of you living with partners, how are you rethinking time together?  For those that may not be with someone but dating, how have you gotten creative with all of this?  

Take care. Be careful. Be care-filled.  Welcome to stranger days.

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