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Embrace the Breakfast Date

A short stack and a few uninterrupted hours in the morning with your partner can do wonders for your week — and yourself.

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Every couple of months or so, Jeff Parisi, 34, surprises his wife. He arranges a sitter — or asks his mother-in-law to watch their 2- and 3-year-olds — and readies his and his wife’s bikes. Then, he wakes his wife, fills their portable coffee mugs, and they ride out to their favorite restaurant: a hole-in-the-wall diner about eight miles from their house. They usually order omelets and French toast; they chat about non-kid stuff; they drink more coffee. Afterwards, they ride a bit more and eventually wind their way home, refreshed and well-caffeinated.

Breakfast dates are the best,” says Jeff adamantly. “Dinner is overpriced and you usually eat it when it’s dark outside. We can wear our bike stuff and no one looks at us like our spandex-clad thighs are ruining their meal.”

Jeff and his wife started their morning dates because they fit into their schedule better. He lives outside of Denver and works in public relations. On most days he has to be at work around 9:30 or 10. He gets home around 6:30. His wife is a stay-at-home mom who also takes classes. They used to go on the occasional date night but when Jeff’s wife started taking a night course and their schedules didn’t work for the occasional “normal” date, they switched to mornings. And when they started doing it, they realized they both became born-again breakfast daters. They weren’t exhausted because they’d just woken up; they were both more engaged throughout their day; and, as both are athletic-minded people, breakfast is often their biggest meal of the day. After his wife’s classes ended, they kept the tradition going.

“It just worked for us,” he said. “Mornings just make sense.”

Henry Morgan, 38, a father of a 2-and-a-half-year-old in Ossining, New York, shares Jeff’s sentiment. He and his wife have a similar routine: Once a month or so, they hire a sitter to watch their toddler early in the morning and then head out to “share a plate of pancakes, sip coffee, and pretend like people who go out.”

Before kids, Henry says he and his wife were never dinner-date people. They preferred weekend afternoons or early mornings.“They just fit our lifestyle a bit better,” he says. “Dinner is more of a thing he says; breakfast is just easier.”

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Now, both Henry and Jeff are college friends of mine. Their love of the breakfast date came up in a recent group chat. After they mentioned their morning habits — and deflected the jokes and .gifs sent their way — they gushed about their shared morning habits. “Why would you want it any other way?”

Maybe I’m a traditionalist. But I enjoy the dinner date. I like dressing up and going out purposefully in the evening, spending the entire day looking forward to a movie or event or martini with my wife. But recently, due to unforeseen events (scheduling conflicts) my wife and I gave morning dates a shot. The verdict: holy shit it’s nice.

Whether you share the same thoughts on dinner or not (I, for one, will always love you, dinner) I’d recommend giving the breakfast date a chance. There’s something wonderfully low-stakes about breaking your routine as soon as you get up that really can shake up your entire week. Mornings are, normally, frenzied things. To make plans that intentionally uproot the monotony? *kisses fingers like a chef*.

Jeff and Henry both had similar breakfast date philosophies: You have to find a low-key place that’s relatively close to your home; you have to schedule a babysitter a week or so in advance and probably tip them a bit extra because mornings require a bit more planning on their part (morning dates are shorter, so the cost evens out); you have to be okay with lying to your superior once in a while about why you’re late to the office — or making an excuse the day before.

My wife and I got up at 5:45, walked by the river, and then took the subway down to a greasy spoon on the west side — one of those New York city relics that, sadly, won’t be there in 10 years. We split eggs and a short stack and drank coffee. We simply sat there talking while watching all the morning characters come and go. That was it. Then, we went about our days. Did it have the same energy as a traditional date? No. And we still preferred a true date that could last however long we wanted it to. But, we both agreed, there was something to the morning. It certainly made the monotony of what lay ahead a bit more bearable. That’s something.

Was it everything? No. But it’s all about changing the routine. Spice of life and all that. Plus, the week looks better when viewed over a short stack. Perspective is everything.