Nightlife ain't no good life

For people without children, the word “nightlife” conjures images of drinking and dancing, nightclubs and roadhouses, flirtation and funk.

To parents, “nightlife” means “sleep.”

We parents remember fondly the child-free nights of our youth, when parties didn’t end until dawn. Even after we were married, we went out regularly with our spouses and/or friends to enjoy movies and dancing and candlelit dinners.

Then a baby arrived, and its cat-like mewling might as well have been the shrieking of brakes. Screeeeech, nightlife’s over.

We still were up all night, but parenthood changed everything. Instead of donning our finest threads, we changed diapers. Instead of icing down beers, we warmed up formula. Two a.m. was no longer “closing time.” It was time for a “feeding.”

Oh, we tried to have a social life. We took our offspring out in public, only to be greeted with glares when they spilled or howled or hurled silverware. We hired sitters, only to find that we were too tired to do much with our nights of freedom.

Sleep grew more valuable than a few hours’ fun. Dancing and fine dining became activities for vacations or special occasions. Even then, we might gladly swap a special night out for a full night’s sleep, depending on how much croup and colic our household suffered lately.

Take heart, parents. It gets easier. Once everybody’s sleeping through the night, you might have enough energy to go two-stepping. As the kids get older, it’s easier to find a babysitter (if no easier to pay for one). Eventually, the children are old enough to be left at home alone for a few hours.

The drawback to this progression is that, by the time parents can go out again, we have too much accumulated fatigue to enjoy it. It’s easier to stay home, watch TV, order a pizza.

When we force ourselves to venture out, we find that nightlife has passed us by. All the hot spots have changed; that favorite honky-tonk is now a vegan juice bar. Everything costs a lot more than we remember. The music is unfamiliar, and seems too loud. We’ve forgotten how to boogie. We need a refresher course in partying.

Here, then, is the Parents’ Guide to Nightlife:

  • Nothing fun happens until after your usual bedtime.
  • Nobody says “disco” anymore.
  • When it comes to drinking, it’s important to remember that you’re older now and out of practice. If you have too many, you’ll be punished the next morning by the one-two punch of a wicked hangover and “Doodlebops” blaring from the TV.
  • Don’t test the temperature of your drink on the inside of your wrist.
  • “Karaoke” is Japanese for “show me the nearest exit, please.”
  • No matter how hot it might be outside, never wear short pants to a cowboy bar.
  • “Hip-hop” is not a character on “Sesame Street.”
  • If you feel that people are staring at you on the dance floor, you’re probably right.
  • It’s always wrong to tell your dinner date, “Here comes the choo-choo.”
  • No bibs.
  • Other adults aren’t amused when you make a bunny out of a napkin.
  • Having a designated driver is not a license to act a fool.
  • “Tequila” is Spanish for “regret."
  • When your spouse says, “It’s time to go,” you should immediately stop drinking, take the necktie off your head and leave the dance floor.
  • Let your spouse sleep late the next morning. You’ll need that quiet time to think up some apologies.

No comments: