How you do it* is this: you start off by getting one of those big-ass inflatable bouncy castles--no wait, strike that. Even better, you let somebody else get one of those big-ass inflatable bouncy castles that all the kids love so much. You let ‘em blow that fucker up in their yard, and then (and only then!) you and a bunch of other parental types head over there, kiddos in tow. Upon arrival, you all point your kiddos at the big-ass inflatable bouncy castle and say “GO! GO! GO!” They’ll do exactly as you say. Relish it.
With the kids safely ensconced in their bouncy paradise, gather the parents around for adult conversation. Not adult as in XXX, though if the topic comes up, feel free. The ears of the children are too full of joy and laughter to pick up any naughty bits.
Then cake, then presents, then more bouncing. It helps if there are robots. It helps even more if the robots are princesses. Robot-princesses, people. All of these factors contribute. This is how you do it*.
Then home and naps and maybe some boring stuff like yard work that’s not really worth writing about other than as an explanation for why you weren’t doing non-boring stuff. Count down the minutes until you can escape on the date you have planned with your beloved. Grandma is in town, which equals night out. That’s how it’s* done.
Count down to date night in T-minus three, two, one....
DO go to a sushi place that looks like a total hole in the wall, but gets excellent reviews.
DO gorge yourself on sushi and realize that those reviewers were right.
DO enjoy the company and conversation of your beautiful beloved.
DO enjoy the special pieces of sushi sent compliments of the chef.
DO pay for your meal with a debit card, which is how, I’m guessing a high percentage of people are doing it these days.
DO find it strange when the receipt that they ask you to sign has no line to include a tip. In hindsight, I realize that I should perhaps have waited for the dude to come back and asked him to re-ring it with tip included, but what can I say? I got hit with a bad case of proper restaurant etiquette anxiety and panicked. Yeah, don’t do that.
DO not go back there again for a while.
DO make a note to bring cash next time, even though you shouldn’t have to because fuck carrying cash.
This next part gets complicated, so stay with me. Because for the rest of the evening, everywhere you go, you need to keep running into friends, both those you expect to see and those that you don’t. Like when you’re driving down the road to the theater and you spot some friends of yours sitting outside at the taco joint? And when you join them for a beer and you spot another friend from college that you haven’t seen in fucking years? This isn’t amateur stuff, folks. Say hello. Gush about how glad you are to see each other.
From there, head to the theater where you’ll watch a show that consists of improvised comedy about the end of the world.
Ray Stantz will share a bizarre understanding that the rest of us can only guess about. I tried to think of the most harmless thing...
After a hilarious show, chat with the director. He will bring you the baby-walker toy that he and his wife were borrowing from you but don’t need anymore because their kid is walking now. You don’t have to be the oldest person there, but be sure that you’re the only person there with baby-related paraphernalia on your person. Laugh about it.
FOR PROFESSIONALS ONLY: Go to a bar. Go to a good bar with good beer. Go to a good bar with good beer where a bunch of your friends are gathered for a birthday celebration. Go to a good bar with good beer where a bunch of your friends are gathered for a birthday celebration only to find that a whole other group of friends that you haven’t seen in ages are also gathered. Enjoy hugs and handshakes all around. Enjoy multiple beers, but wake up without a hangover.
“Wow, that seemed really cheap.” your wife will say upon reflection of the bar tab.
To which you respond, “That’s because the waitress totally wanted me.”
“Oh really?” your wife will say.
“Totally.” you tell her. “I’m surprised you didn’t notice. Every time I ordered a beer, she looked directly at me.” Make your aw-yeah face.
That is how you do it*.
*Any given Saturday.