By JULIE HOLT
Remember way back when you first met your spouse? The excitement, the googly eyes, the cheap dates because you were young and poor?
Now that a few (or a lot) of years have passed, you probably have a few more dollars to spend on a night out, but a lot less time. The busyness of jobs, home maintenance, kids’ school and sport schedules can be a real drag on your dating life.
Planning a date night can be near impossible when you’re entrenched in the details of everyday life, and excuses abound — the ever-present “no time” argument, the always popular “I just want to relax at home” logic, and the “What do you wanna do? I don’t know, what do you want to do?” conundrum.
Let me refute all of those lame excuses:
- If you have time to binge-watch all 10 seasons of Friends when you’re feeling nostalgic, you can squeeze in a few hours for your love.
- We know you don’t have to put on pants when you “relax at home,” but putting on the occasional pair of jeans is a small sacrifice to make when you consider that you might actually HAVE FUN.
- And last, you no longer have to worry about figuring out what to do — we’ve got you covered.
This edition of Date Night is a throwback to those early days of dating, when the dates were simple, but the thrill was major. So text your sitter and get her booked for next Saturday, Mom and Dad are getting out for some old-fashioned fun, no kids allowed!
Start Off Right With Some Cheap But Inexpensive Grub
Back in your glory days, you didn’t get to take your sweetheart anywhere that required a reservation or had a tablecloth, so keep it simple with burgers, hot dogs or slices of pizza. Bonus points if it’s served on a disposable plate.
Here are some of our favorites:
493 Humphreys Street in Nashville
Gabby’s features delicious burgers and plenty of sides and treats to go along with them. The casual, no-frills ambience will remind you of those dates you could afford when you still weren’t sure if she wanted to hold her hand.
113 S 11th Street in Nashville
This retro van has been outfitted as a stationary food truck. They close at 6:00, so go for an early dinner, which, let’s face it, is kind of your future anyway.
Party Like You’re 19
Once you’ve gotten your fill of easy comfort food, hop in the car, turn on some tunes from your dating years (lead with Journey — trust me on this), and head somewhere with the fun, playful vibe you used to love. Bring out your competitive side with a night at an arcade or a couple rounds of mini golf and go karts, or if you’re feeling really nostalgic, find a drive-in movie theatre. Just make sure you drive the car with the bench front seat, you sly dog.
Try these fun options:
In Goodlettsville at 1000 Rivergate Pkwy or
In Smyrna at 3 South Lowry Street
Game Galaxy will take you straight back to the 80s, when 8-bit video games and radical pinball machines ruled the arcade. Plus, this place fits with your throwback budget — just $10 per person to play all day!
2444 Music Valley Drive in Nashville
I’ve tried it, and the time-tested romance of mini golf still holds strong. Grand Old Golf covers all your flirty competition needs — from bumper cars to go karts to the romantic ambience of a glow in the dark arcade. You’ll be wearing his letter jacket before you know it!
1584 Fayetteville Highway in Lewisburg
This one is a little bit of a drive, but it’s totally worth it! Get there a little early to see the sunset over the tree line, pay $7 per adult for a double feature, and enjoy all the concession stand junk food you can eat.
It’s always hard to find the time and energy for a date night, but with so many fun places that can take you back to a time when you lived for that Friday night date, how can you afford not to? If you’re feeling really nostalgic, break out your off-the-shoulder sweatshirt and acid-washed denim skirt — I hear those are in right now.
Julie Holt is a wife, mother of three, writer and suffers from chronic road rage. She loves to keep it real, but she is not lit or woke. Actually, she’s pretty basic. Her hobbies include naps, pizza and writing about herself in the third person. You can read Julie’s blog at jholtwriting.com or follow her on Facebook @julieslighterside.