Saturday, June 14, 2014

Run Away With Me


I used to be a little puzzled when couples said they were going on dates,  or "having date night". Not necessarily judgmental, but definitely puzzled. I used to wonder what was so wrong with their everyday lives together, that they needed to make these special pockets of time. Of course, even I understand that for parents of little kids "date night" might be the only way to set up alone time and perhaps busy professionals with 40+ hour work weeks, could certainly use some designated time away from other things, but overall, I just didn't really get the concept.

Maybe that's because dating has never really been part of my experience with boyfriends and partners, it's always been more about casual hanging out and doing random things together. Coming from a society with a lot more emphasis on equality between the sexes, the mere idea of candle-lit dinners and roses and whatnot, that the word conjures, seems silly and antiquated. Dates used to sound so forced to me, like "that supposedly fun thing we'll never do again". Honestly, I probably have some sort of bias against things that are supposed to be "romantic".

That is until we acquired our current, very busy, life. Frankly, being child-free, the two of us had, in spite of all of our varied projects, ample time to just be together.  Walk the beaches, row the waters, chat and watch movies and go mushrooming...

Now though, every day is filled with, if not work ("I could be working!"), then the chores necessary to keep life as we know it moving along: laundry, dinner, garden, animals. sweeping, correspondence, making and mending, gatherings with friends...

The things I consider romantic, are the little everyday ones, the kindnesses of back massages and unexpected pieces of buttered toast, finding the dishes done, or the gift of a cat plopped on your lap when you're feeling down; the mutual understanding of inside jokes that split your sides, sudden serious conversations in the breakfast table…well, the last few months, they've started slipping away. We see each other morning and night, we're tired, we're pre-occupied, we're always working.

So here I am, humbled, going on dates planned hang-outs, or as Jodi calls them "field trips".  Most of the time, we take off and hike out somewhere, sit on the rocks, watch the birds and the boats, the Olympics hovering on the horizon.

Instead of "romance", we're getting fresh air, quiet and, sometimes, companionable solitude. These outings are a way for us to run away for a while, take stock, get perspective.

And while I still think that the mundane existence of our everyday lives is where our happiness ultimately has to lie, I'm definitely learning to appreciate these little breaks from reality, where we can be carefree, observant and wild. If even for an hour or two...

How about you guys and your partners? Or are you single and if so, what do you think of "dating"? Am I alone in my date-hatin? 

20 comments:

  1. Really dislike formal "dates". Much prefer to do things like in your pictures: hiking, kayaking, exploring a coastline, having picnics, finding new parks in which to blow soap bubbles. Things I would do anyways, that I would happily do alone but would also enjoy with a special other person or two.

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  2. I'm single and NZ doesn't have a big dating culture. I think it's cool though - but coffee or lunch where you can talk and get to know someone would be my preferred option. Not really dinner and glam events in the early days of a relationship.

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  3. Ah Milla, Milla. These two kayaks, the wooden one and the yellow one, side by side on the pebble beach, then gliding on the silky water in such a glorious day, make me deeply happy. If you and Charlie need to make time for such precious moments, then yes, you must :o) and thanks for sharing them with us.

    As you know, me and my Love live so far away from each other, that every moment together is precious, from buying groceries to making the bed while the other one is doing the dishes, to walking in Paris or Montréal with no real plan. And we do like to share sushi at a certain restaurant, or tea in a specific teashop - places that we both enjoy a lot. But I must say that time outside together in Nature is high on our common cherished memories. Thankfully we are good at finding Nature in the heart of cities, too.

    "Run away with me" is what I feel like saying to him, my busy, overtired sweetheart. Instead I hold him in my own joyous heart :o)

    xo

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    1. Oh I hope you guys get some love-time soon!

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  4. I love dating. And I disagree with Andrea, we DO have a dating culture in NZ...well back in my day we did. I loved being asked out for restaurant dinners or to play pool and drink beer.....I loved it and still do. (except just with steve now, harhar) Steve and I so rarely get conversation time; that the best option for us is without kids and somewhere subdued with candle-light and good food. It can be at home too (at home date)....and it is the bullsh*t hallmark romance thing too i think....it makes me think of mysteriousness and flirting. See what you started? I'm all lovey now just writing about it. love you! x

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    1. Hahaha! I wonder if that is a generational thing? Like you guys used to date, but the kids don't do it anymore? (I happen to know Andrea is a little younger than you and I;) I really do think that these notions exist differently in different cultures and niches. I'd love to read about people's "dating culture" in other places. In Finland things used to be very "un-romantic" when I was single and most people expected to meet someone in casual social setting, but I've definitely found dating much more of a norm here in the States. Maybe we need to get Andrea to open up more about NZ dating culture these days and in her circle. Now I'm curious.

      And I hope you and Steve get to have some candlelit-talk time soon, you're making it sound pretty darn good. Love ya!

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  5. As a fellow European, I have no experience with dating either, not in the way that I think it is in the States. I would also describe it more as casual hangouts, with dinners and movies reserved for special occasions, later on in a relationship. I was also puzzled by date night, because date night always seems to imply spending money and we have such a wonderful time at home. But I do suppose if you have kids, such nights might drastically change.

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    1. Yeah I wonder if there are countries in Europe where dating is more of a thing? I feel like that might be the case. I also wonder if equality between sexes in said countries has some sort of parallel to how popular "dating" is? We're both from very sensible, egalitarian places and there seems to be less of the traditional "romance" stuff ingrained in those cultures, maybe? Interesting thoughts...

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  6. I've got the same sentiment here about 'dating'. It's kind of cemented by the fact that my boyfriend and I are in a long distance relationship, so any planning and saving for our being together is a longish term one. Our 'dates' last for up for a half-year and the best part involve being able to do everyday things and just work with each others' company.
    With having my boyfriend's everyday company be seen as a blessing and a wonderful thing, it seems too weird to see a relationship or quality time as something I save for a restaurant on saturday evenings.

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  7. We do the date night thing. As you surmised, we are just so busy. I work 50-60hrs per week and my husband works 47, so its usually pretty hard to do anything other than trying to crash into bed at the same time. Even though we have a lot in common we have different passions that separate our time; for me it's ballet and for him it's fishing, so we don't necessarily even spend our "free time" together. Sure we eat together, read on the couch together and watch some movies or shows, but those are casual habit stuff. We do dates nights to go out and do something different. Usually it is something that costs money like going out to dinner, seeing a band we like, or seeing a movie; we have a tight budget so these little outings or "dates" are just something special every now and then.

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    1. Wow, you work a lot. Hot damn girl, I'm impressed you get anything else done. Interesting to hear about you guys budgeting not just time, but also money for time with each other doing special things. That ties into what Inge was saying above about having to spend money. Yet another facet of "date-culture"…
      Hope you and your dear get some quality time soon! Is date night a weekly thing for y'all?

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  8. I can appreciate the old timey sweetness of dates (in my imagination) and in my attempts to slooooow down and move into things (like potential romantic relationships) at a snails pace I can envision going on some dates eventually. Old fashioned courtship sounds dreamy... It seems to be making a come back around here. After so many years of hang outs, maybe there are a few of us that could vibe with dating, knowing a little effort is being made. I throw the term "date" around a lot. We take the dog on doggie dates to hike the trail. I take my kiddos on solo dates so they can have my undivided attention. I meet girlfriends for coffee dates. The few actual "dates" I've been on were pretty awkward and laden w weird expectations... xo m

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  9. A date night here often means more than just hanging out. I hang out with my husband every night. Bit when we go to the trouble of getting a babysitter, planning an evening and dressing for the occasion, well...that's a date. It's more supposed to be like the good old days, when we were dating. Before kids...and yet it's not. Because now we have kids and that's what we talk about when we are alone!

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  10. It's funny, I don't remember ever going on a first date with my husband and we've been together for 15 years! We just hung out with big groups of people and eventually split off on our own, and over the years we relished just being together. The scenes you have at your disposal are just about the most romantic I can imagine! An open, quiet body of water, peace and quiet and nature, and just being with each other, that sounds perfect!

    I hate the typical date nights too!

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  11. That's exactly what I would call it-- a reality break. I think it's important for any relationship, even strictly platonic friendships. The point of date night for my husband and myself has always, always been to get away from the mundane (bills, cleaning, work, obligations) and cavort! Even if that day's cavorting is simply sitting by the water.

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    1. You know, I had these thoughts as I was writing this, about how I do consider friend "dates" much more important, especially now when we're grown-ups and don't have endless hangout time. I have a real hard time making time for my pals these days, especially one on one which is my preferred hangout mode.

      I mean, how do you do that, when you don't even have that with your partner? Like, I said, I think if we had kids things would be even more different in the date department. Do you guys do yours weekly?

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  12. Hey, I love this post. I'm married and we NEVER go on dates. We just hang out. ALOT. Every day is special, even when you don't expect it or plan it to be.
    Like you said, unexpected kindnesses and gestures, like one more cup of BedTime tea brought to you, because he read your mind, beats any planned night on the town.
    Kayaks!! Love that, Milla!

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  13. I am surprised at this post. I think dates are a lovely idea of spending time with one another; concentrated time, where you can go hiking or walk the dog or bundle up indoors with a movie. It doesn't have to be candles and a fancy dinner, but if you want that, why not? It's not hurting someone if they don't want to date, so why would you hate it? Although I'm single now, I quite like the idea of a date; going somewhere to have a picnic or going to one another's homes for games. It just seems to be another source of negative energy, to hate something that's a simple gesture of love for some people. Why not be happy for those who call it dating, and then be happy with how you choose to spend time with one another? Positive energy always wins. xx

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    1. And I while I understand your perspective, that is what this post is all about, how different people look at things differently. Without these differences we would all be…well, the same. I thought I tried to lay out pretty clearly, why I have this bias against dating, and the things considered "romantic" in the mainstream "romance-industrial-complext", without using joke-y terms like that, or delving too much into hetero-normative mores that perhaps co-opted, or even originated those notions. Without my personal take on the idea, however light it is, this post would be yet another one of those "OMG much magic wonderful time with my partner". with which there is nothing wrong, but this isn't always that kind of a blog. In fact, personally, I wish blog-land and real-life had a little more opinion and a little less of the "cult of positivity", where the easiest way to not have a conversation and to discount someone else's thoughts on something, is to pull out the "you're just being negative"-card. Positivity is awesome, but personally, I prefer a robust conversation. That's just me and this is my blog, with my thoughts and ideas and the occasional silly "OMG magic wonderful times"-posts. No matter how mundane the topics, I think looking at them from different angles is more interesting for me and that way we can always have little conversations like this and if we can't agree we can agree to disagree. Thanks for taking the time to share your views.

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