The first time I heard about married people having “date night” was my sophomore year of high school. In addition to learning sine, cosine and tangent functions, my trigonometry teacher included some reference to this ritual. It must have had an impact, because my friend and I gave her a date night basket with a Blockbuster gift certificate, microwave popcorn and sodas as an end of year gift. It wasn’t until Ben and I moved to Rwanda that we integrated this ritual into our relationship. Armed with nothing but time and a miniscule budget, we set aside every Tuesday to go out on a “date.”
It was a lot of fun and we anxiously awaited the opportunity to vary our diet, but the most memorable evenings we spent together were Monday nights. As soon as we left the school’s gates, and sometimes before, whatever pent-up frustration we were feeling would erupt in a flurry that was only interrupted when we stopped to pick up sambusas from our local alimentation. We would speak broken French and Kinyarwanda to the clerk, usually reiterating that we were teachers at the school down the road. We would try to get an avocado, but they were usually too hard, and a handful of beignets, for an extra fried evening. Then we continued the discussion until the hill, while it rested while we would heave up the terrain. Whatever residual aggravation remained had lost most of its steam by the top, but the conversation continued. By the time we reached the house, our backs were soaked with perspiration. Ben would lie on the bed and I would change into my pajamas. And then it was time to get the beer that we always wanted but we never officially decided upon on until we were home. I would heat the sambusas on the skillet and set up the laptop to listen to This American Life. We would listen while we ate. Then afterwards, we would continue to sit and talk. It was the best evening ritual I have ever had.
What is one of your favorite rituals, evening or otherwise? Simplest date?