"...and then I went to Target and got us chips for the weekend. Baked Lays were on sale for three dollars a bag, so I stocked up."
It was date night and I was regaling him with the tales from my day. I had already filled him in on my shopping trips, the two episodes of Big Rich Texas I watched on our DVR, and the toilets I had cleaned just because they needed it. I gazed at him, waiting for that look of love that would surely spread across his face. Instead, he reached for the last warm pretzel on our plate and dipped it in cheese.
"Are you listening to me?" I asked.
"Yes of course I'm listening," he said, taking a bite.
"Then, what did I say?"
His face froze mid-bite and I could hear the wheels turning in his head. Finally, like the reels of a slot machine, they settled on something and hoped for a win. "The Dodgers game," he said, "You said you could win a trip to a Dodgers Game if you volunteer as a cancer testing guinea pig." Satisfied with his answer he turned his attention to a large flatscreen across from us. I growled but he didnt hear me.
I had feared this would happen when the hostess told us that the only seats available were in the bar. The room was a noisy, testoserone filled mancave complete with tabletop trivia machines and enough televsions to cause a power outage in a neighboring small town. But my husand seemed okay with the arrangments. In fact, he seemed downright happy.
I, on the otherhand, was peturbed. It was date night. A weekend ritual in our coupledom, forged in those first few grope-filled meetings and carried on into our now married existence. It was a tradition, damnit, and he had better pay homage to it. And attention to me.
"So," my husband said during a commercial break, "Did I answer right?"
"No, you didnt answer right."
"But you were talking about Dodgers and volunteering."
"Yes," I sighed, "I was talking about the Dodgers and volunteerism, but they were two different subjects separated by at least ten minutes of conversation about other subjects. I also talked about my mother, my diet, and what kind of cats we should get when we are old."
My husband stared blankly back at me, like he was hearing my words but not understanding them. "What I was saying in regards to the Dodgers and volunteering was this: #1 I am volunteering to assist with the local cancer awarness 5k this year and #2 Lee Dewyze is going to sing the National Anthem at the Dodgers game."
"Well, I was close anyway. I got two words right."
"You were not close. You listened for key words and combined them into something you hoped would work."
He shrugged, taking the last bite of his pretzel. "But I was half paying attention. That's better than a lot of guys."
"Maybe I should turn into a lesbian. That would serve you right."
"Okay, I'm listening now. Keep talking." He paused, his eyes rolling back into his head like he had just received divine inspiration. "Although, that lesbian idea isnt a bad one..maybe just on the weekends."
I sat there stewing, but decided to continue. We could still salvage date night if we tried. ."I talked to my mom today. She needs new glasses, but she is really enjoying the..."
"Fuck! Did you see that play? They are going to replay it. Watch!" My husband's gaze was directly over my shoulder and I turned in time to see some guy in white tights touching another guy in white tights with a small white ball. Safe! Declared the announcer to a jeering crowd."That could be the play of the year."
That was the moment I gave up. Maybe date night was something you did in the 'woo-ing stage of courtship, something that shouldn't be carried on once the monotony of marriage took hold. I mean, what could we talk about now that we spent 16 of our 24 hours per day together? Weeds in the backyard? The best preschools in our neighborhood? Who are neighbors have buried in their back yards? Perhaps date night for couples was a myth and I should just give in now. Better to give up now then to fight it for the next forty years only to come up with weekend after weekend of bitter disappointment. Our dinner came and I ate in silence, my husband's eyes still moving from one monitor to another making the full rotation of the room. It took him 15 minutes to notice that I hadn't said another word.
"Is something wrong?" He asked, wiping his chin with his napkin. "You suddenly got quiet."
"Nope," I said calmly as I polished off the rest of my wine. "Im just watching tv. Thats what we do on date night."
"Right on," he grinned, toasting me with a drumstick.
"Honey, you sure everythings okay?" My husband asked later that night as we were getting ready for bed. Two hours had passed and I had still not spoken to him. I put on my oversized flannel pajamas, spread cold cream all over my face, and replaced my good underwear with the giant white ones purchased from the dollar store. If date night was offically over for us, so was the lingerie.
"Everything's fine," I said, making my way towards the living room. "Just going to watch more TV. I bet there's a few games we didnt catch in the restaurant."
My husband scratched his head, following me. Things were starting to register for him. "Im sorry," he said as I put my hair up into a ponytail with an old scrunchie. "I should have been paying attention to you tonight, not watching sports on TV. I'm terrible at multi-tasking."
I nodded and plopped onto the sofa. "I put on Spanx just for you." I said, fiddling with the remote. "Do you know how hard it is to get into those things? Let alone, out of them?"
He smiled. "Yes baby, you've told me. Again, I'm sorry. Tomorrow I will take you out again. Your choice. And there will be no TVs"
"Fine," I said, warming but not quite satisfied.
"You know," he said, settling down next to me on the couch. "You looked really good tonight. I liked your bangs, the way they wisped around your eyes like that. You must have got them cut."
I nodded and unfastened my pony tail. I shook my hair out for him to inspect and peered up at him from beneathe my newly carved bangs. "You really like?" I asked, surprised. No one had noticed, not even my best friend.
"And was that a different perfume you were wearing?" he asked, pulling me into his side. "You smelled amazing."
"You sure it wasnt the chicken wings?"
"No, it was all you."
I breathed deeply feeling his warm presence next to me.
"It was a free squirt from the Victoria's Secret store."
"You should get some. It was very sexy."
I smiled, accepting his arms. "I guess it was partly my fault too. I spent the entire evening talking about reality TV and my mother. Not exactly sexy."
"This must mean we are offically married now," he said, watching as I stood up and made my way towards the staircase. "Where you going?"
"To wipe this stuff off my face," I said, smiling at him. "And maybe if you are really lucky, to put on the good underwear."