Happy Hours Playing a little hooky never felt so good, especially when it’s in the name of love BY APRIL Y. PENNINGTON
Sometimes, playing hooky is just what your relationship needs.
Remember how you felt when you watched Matthew Broderick, the bad boy protagonist in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Yep, he was the man, whisking both his girlfriend and neurotic best friend off for a day of fun and adventure in the Windy City. And if Bueller had chosen a Saturday or Sunday for his wild ride it wouldn’t have been half as memorable. We all know it: the best part was that they were playing hooky.
Imagine distilling that feeling of unbridled passion and joi de vivre the wild threesome had and channel it into your own life. We know the daily responsibilities require us all to be mature adults, but what fun is that? And when fitting that time in might mean ditching the old jobby-job for a spell, relish in the quasi-naughtiness of it, it can only spice up your experience!
Relationship specialist Dr. Hu Fleming has spoken with scores of married individuals, and knows the frustrations both men and women feel when it comes to the crunch of spending quality time together. Women tend to be more sensitive to the subject and more interested in keeping the spark alive, says Fleming, who then unabashedly proclaims that while men have begun to shown more interest, "We’re lazy; we suck." The key, says Fleming, is to get out of the daily grind. "Shake it up a little bit, and getting out of work to do it is great."
So maybe you’re married to both your spouse and your work. Don’t fret, because you can still fulfill your mate’s fantasies, even if it’s just a nooner or it doesn't even have to be at noon. That’s right, spontaneity can come in the form of showing up at your honey’s workplace and stealing them for a few hours—take a walk, get some ice cream or check out that nearby hotel, Fleming suggests. "Men really like the surprise a lot, as long as it’s non-threatening and doesn’t create stress. They really appreciate the short break, as opposed to a whole day off." Fleming reports that women have responded resoundingly to surprises like midday dance lessons their husbands have suggested (see, guys are getting more creative!).
If you want to ditch more than just an hour or two, then consider taking a half-day off, maybe at the end of the week to get a jump on the weekend relaxation mode, and you can then have an extended weekend date. Planning ahead for an afternoon ditch date is fine, but Fleming prefers "fuzzy planning," where a general idea is the outline for the date. Whether it’s shopping, biking or even heading to the park, not having a detailed itinerary keeps with the mood of the moment, where ditching your Blackberry and silencing the cell phone is a must.
Obviously, if you have young children who are in school, you need to arrange a babysitter for the after hours should your date go into the night. But resist involving them in your date. "You really need together time away from the kids," says Fleming, who adds, "I tell men to imagine themselves divorced. Because that’s what they’ll be if they don’t commit to making the marriage work."
Pumped about the idea of ditching work, but concerned about the execution? How you go about it depends on your workplace. Fleming, who runs his own business says, "In an ideal world versus practical, I would be really happy if my employee told me he was taking the afternoon off to spend with his wife because it means he’s in a healthy, happy relationship and will come back and work happy. Having said that, I don’t believe that’s the case with Corporate America."
Fleming wouldn’t suggest anyone mislead their employer though, and feels there’s a balance to be found. "We work more than any country in the world both in time and intensity," argues Fleming. “Asking your boss for some personal when it’s not routine shouldn’t be an issue, nor should it require a detailed explanation.” Says Fleming, "You’re working on the health of your marriage, and even a little time pays dividends." Happy Hooky Time!