We live in a post-dating world (heard that one before?). So in a one-night protest against the death of dating, Becky and I planned a date night. With each other. To see Date Night. You would’ve been hard pressed to find two cooler chicks in NYC on Sunday evening – just a couple of glamorous girls, livin’ it up in the big city…
(Yes, I also saw Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day. I am a movie marketer’s wet dream.)
I’m not a film reviewer, so I’ll leave the cinematic analysis to those who know better. But Tina Fey and Steve Carell can do almost no wrong in my eyes – and apparently in the eyes of many moviegoers, as the moviejustmissed out on the #1 box office spot this weekend. Admittedly, my affinity for the duo is so steadfast that I’d probably pay money to watch them read from a phone book in Aramaic.
If you haven’t seen it yet, Date Night follows the Fosters, a boring, middle-aged married couple from New Jersey who plan weekly date nights,ala Barack and Michelle,in an assumed effort to keep the romantic magic alive. But when their friends announce that they are getting divorced, they both begin to worry about the routineness of their marriage and decide to switch up their typical date – a comfortable and forgettable dinner at the same local restaurant – for a night out in the city. And then, of course, gangsters get involved (obviously!).
From a WTF?! perspective, the movie is about an older generation but actually mirrors many of the issues that we’ve been discussing here. For example – traditional dates are boring! And awkward. You can’t watch the Fosters chitchat their way through dinner without remembering that blind date where you and your fix-up fought to stay awake as you discussed siblings, hobbies and your mutual friends over a too-long meal.
This is EXACTLY what our generation is trying to avoid – forced, unexciting settings and interactions. Tina and Steve had to crash cars, steal identities and work a stripper pole in order to keep things interesting. But since we’ve already rejected stereotypical dating culture from the start, we should be able to elicit the same excitement by simply keeping our relationships organic and surprising.
On a similar note, the marital issues that arise throughout the movie – she is exhausted from working all day and then having to come home and take care of the kids, he feels emasculated because she doesn’t trust him to make plans and decisions, their sex life is dwindling and repetitive – shed light on the wedded cliches that we are all trying to avoid. Both characters are charismatic and lovable in their own right, but are forced into societal roles that have led them to become mere shells of their potential selves. Meanwhile, our generation is eschewing traditional labels and roles in our relationships and marriages. We realize that the more we can avoid squeezing ourselves into preconceived notions of what it means to be a husband and a wife, the greater chance we have of remaining dynamic and interesting twenty years down the line.
All that said, I must admit that Becky was an excellent date. Maybe she didn’t pay for my ticket, hold open the theater door, or compliment me on my pink t-shirt. But even though I’ve known her for 15 years, she still kept me laughing, thinking and guessing throughout our date. And we didn’t even need to be held at gunpoint in order to have fun. There is hope.
Jess is the co-creator of Dating & Hookup, alongside her childhood best friend Becky Lynch, and is the author of the book - yep! - Dating & Hookup. She never tires of hearing your post-dating stories. She wants you to enjoy your love life, and is full of advice on how to do so.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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