In the movie "Date Night," Tina Fey and Steve Carrell play a couple trying to add zest to their marriage by going on a date. Chaos, rather than romance, ensues - but their intentions were noble, say local dating experts.
"Date nights are a way to acknowledge the relationship, make time for each other and bring a little romance back," says psychologist Diane Kramer of the Center for Marriage Counseling in Huntington, who goes on a date with her husband every Friday night.
"It's a chance to focus on each other, away from everyday activities. It's a way to remember to treat each other really special, the way we did when we first started dating." Consider one of these options for a Long Island date night (or day):
MAKE A GETAWAY
Good for: Romantic or surprise dates
At Bedell Cellars, one of several East End wineries, date options range from a wine tasting ($8-$12 per person) to private tours and wine in the garden ($35-$50 per person; reservations required). On warm days, enjoy a picnic on lawns shaded by an apple orchard and vineyards.
"If one of the spouses doesn't feel acknowledged or special enough, going to wine country is a way to create a special event," Kramer says. "If one of them is very stressed, it's a way to make that person feel special and taken care of."
LEARN SOMETHING NEW - THEN PRACTICE
Good for: Fun learning together
"Taking a class together gets you out of the traditional realm," says Jay Rosensweig, founder of Weekend Dating.com, which organizes dating events for singles on Long Island. "It gets both people out of their initial comfort zone, and it's something new they can experience together."
On Saturday, couples can learn to do the hustle with Donna DeSimone's DanceXchange Lounge. There's a beginner lesson at 7:30 p.m. (intermediate lesson at 8:30 p.m.) that costs $8 per person. Afterward, show off your hustling skills at a social dance that lasts from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. It costs $15, including wine and refreshments.
SOCIALIZE WITH OTHER COUPLES
Good for: Lighthearted night out
Candlelite Cabaret's murder mystery theater is a full evening. Patrons will work together to figure out "who did it" during an interactive Mafia-themed show put on by Drop Dead Comedy, a traveling company.
"Murder mysteries are popping up all over - it's a way for couples to be playful and interactive," Rosensweig says. "But it's also an opportunity to make friends with the other couples there."
Tickets are $39.95 and include a buffet dinner, dessert and the show, as well as a DJ and dancing afterward.
TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT
Good for: The adventurous - or those who need to reestablish trust.
Rock climbing is a partner sport - one person climbs, while the other, the belayer, remains on the ground to monitor and ensure the climber's safety. "We have a lot of couples come in because it's such a trusting sport, and it really bonds people," says manager Mei Walker.
Island Rock's "quickstart package" includes a belaying lesson, day pass, harness and shoe rental ($38.50 per person).
Good for: Restoring the humor
The couple who laughs together, stays together. "If a couple is having a lot of conflict and problems, sometimes the best kind of date is when you change the atmosphere and have fun with each other," Kramer says.
This weekend, Joe Moffa, a standup comic who touches on everything from fatherhood to ex-wives, performs at Brokerage. Tickets are $22, plus a two-beverage minimum per person.