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Why We Don't Go Downtown Anymore

You know how you hear a catchy song and you find yourself singing it all the time, maybe dancing a little? Well, that song for me right now is Lady Antebellum's "Downtown."

It's a bouncy little country number in which a woman is asking her man why they don't go out anymore. "I don't know why you don't take me downtown / like you got anywhere better to be." (If you know this song, I apologize now in advance for the way you'll be singing it all day.)

As a parent, going out doesn't happen often. Between having a toddler and having a teenager with an active social life but no driver's license, our weekends often revolve around family. Which is truly great, actually. I like family time.

Still... "I have some platforms sitting in the corner / they wanna stroll on a city sidewalk / I gotta dress that'll show a little uh-uh / but you ain't gettin' uh-uh if you don't come pick me up."

So dang catchy.

Anyhow, last weekend my husband took me out for a date night birthday dinner. We went to my favorite restaurant (the uber-delicious Barclay Prime in Philadelphia). Rather than making a later dinner reservation as we usually do, my husband set the reservation at 6:00 p.m. so we would have plenty of time to do something after, like maybe sit in a bar and have some drinks. I loved the idea. (I also loved that our date wouldn't be over when dinner was cleared.)

We lounged through sparkling water, cocktails, popovers, appetizer, steaks, sides, dessert, cappuccino. By the time we finished eating, I was stuffed. Not just full, stuffed. Like busting out of my dress, couldn't possibly fit one more crumb or drop of liquid in me, stuffed. There was no way I was ready for drinks.

So when my husband asked what I wanted to do next, I suggested going to the bookstore. (I love the bookstore. I have a shelf and a half of books in my to-read pile not to mention another dozen or so ebooks, yet I can never resist a bookstore.)

He laughed because it's quite silly to get dressed up and go all the way to Philadelphia for a bookstore, but he gets me. The prospect of strolling through a bookstore, hand-clasping, and not having to visit the train table or the Lego table... well, that's a treat.

After wandering all three floors and paying for a few new additions to our library, he again asked what I wanted to do.

Now, a little part of me still wanted to have a grown-up night out and go have a drink. But most of me was over the heels I was wearing, still full from dinner, just wanted a water. I looked at him and said, "Honestly, I kind of want to go get in jammies and read in bed. Is that lame?"

He laughed once again, kissed me, and said, "It's your birthday. If that's what you want, then that's what we'll do."

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, has said that she wishes she were the kind of person who wanted to go to a jazz club at midnight and people will say, "But Gretchen, you live in New York City. You can totally go to a jazz club at midnight!" And she replies, "I know I can. I just don't want to."

And that, my friends, is why we don't go downtown anymore. It's a special treat once in a while (particularly for that restaurant), but we just aren't downtown kind of people.

We did, however, close down the Burger King last night. Oh, yeah. Be jealous.


  1. First off, happy belated birthday. Good for you in taking some time to yourselves and YAY Jeff for planning the night around whatever you wanted.

    I also occasionally have thoughts of how cool it would be to go out to a bar and not worry about the fact that Jack doesn't know what "sleeping in" is. We've actually had 2 date nights in the past 15 months and I'm really, really hoping for another one some day...

  2. Happy Birthday! I'm glad you spent the time doing things you truly enjoy. After all, it's the little things that are the most rewarding and fulfilling. ;-)


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