Date night cruel parody of love there once was

A MARRIED couple have regular monthly date nights as a painful reminder they once loved each other enough to enjoy them. 

Helen and Martin Archer, who have three children, find that spending four long hours alone together listlessly re-enacting the rituals of romance really brings into focus what their relationship has become.

Helen said: “It’s like a punishment from Greek myth. All eternity staring at the same sagging jowls.

“As if it wasn’t hard enough being stuck with the same person until death, especially as it’s Martin, we have to go out for meals or cocktails or the theatre as if we had time or wanted to.

“I gaze at his thinning hairline and bushy eyebrows in the candlelight, knowing I’m two stone heavier with my mother’s eyebags, and we pretend we’re not knackered and want to shag later. It’s sadistic.

“Sometimes I make an effort and throw in a reference to the wine or anything other than work or the kids, to make it all the more obvious we’ve nothing in common anymore.

“We can’t believe we used to have conversations on the original dates. We laugh about that when we’re not sullenly staring at couples on real dates thinking ‘You f**king wait.’ Then he’ll say something about the langoustines and I’ll nod.”

Luigi di Matteo, owner of the Casa Mia restaurant, said: “Date night is the hardest night of our week. The misery just crushes you.”

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Pretend everything's fine: an emotionally repressed dad's guide to getting through Blue Monday

MOST depressing day of the year? Only if you fall for that nonsense. Stoical father Steve Malley tells you how to get through it by not feeling emotions: 

Pretend it’s fine

Once you get used to bottling up your feelings, like I did in childhood and my dad did before me, nothing affects you. Yes, I occasionally have furious outbursts when doing DIY or trying to park, but that’s because those things are bloody frustrating, not because they’re my only outlet.

Never talk to anyone about anything

Communication is a sign of weakness. Women do it. Instead, get through Blue Monday without saying a word about anything to anyone. Yes, it’s hard when co-workers grunt ‘Good weekend?’ so don’t beat yourself up if you gush ‘yeah had a quiet one mate’. Nobody’s perfect.

Think about sport

Sport’s good. You can rely on sport. Most of the emotions associated with that are good and healthy and negative, especially if you’re shrewd enough to support Shrewsbury Town.

Treat yourself

There’s no need to, because this is just any ordinary day and nobody believes that bollocks, but don’t be afraid to indulge yourself if necessary. Put on your hat, coat and gloves and spend lunchtime watching a documentary about Nazi architects on your phone in your car.

Take the dog out

No supposedly emotional moment cannot be countered with ‘I’ll take the dog out.’ Daughter’s announced she’s pregnant? Son’s announced he’s gay? Wife’s announced she’s leaving you? Walk the dog. When you come back everyone will have simmered down and stopped the dramatics.

Just don’t be sad

It’s as simple as that. Other useful phrases are ‘Buck yourself up’, ‘Stop whinging’ and ‘Ah well, can’t be helped’. If those don’t work you might as well give up.