Couples enjoy having a night to be couples at USO 'Date Night'
April 12, 2013
Fort Belvoir couples enjoyed an Italian-style dinner, music and a "Newlywed Game" to see how well they know one another during the USO's "Your USO Meal" Date Night on March 27.
The event gave couples a break from their normal responsibilities and an opportunity to have a night of fun by themselves and with other couples.
"Twenty-eight couples came and they were enthusiastic," said K.J. Stevens, USO programs coordinator. "(Couples) often sacrifice their free time due to deployments or other outside responsibilities with their jobs. So, it was nice to be able to provide them with a fun activity during their free time."
According to Stevens, the couples enjoyed having an activity to go along with the dinner instead of the event just being a dinner.
"They enjoyed the game and felt it was interactive," said Stevens. "They also enjoyed being at an adult event since they don't get out of the house a lot."
Dinner included salad, bread, and a choice between steak stroganoff and parmesan crusted chicken over buttered noodles. Dinner lasted about 45 minutes, which gave the couples a chance to get to know one another. The adult conversation was a welcome aspect of the night, according to Lt. Col. Dorian Cooper, Headquarters Department of the Army Deputy Chief of Staff, program analyst, and his wife, Lisa.
"This is the first time we've been out together, just the two of us, in a long time because we are always with our children," said Lisa. "So, it was nice to get out, just the two of us, for once and have adult conversation."
Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Chris King, 579th Medical Operations Squadron, superintendent, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, and his wife, Liz, also enjoyed meeting couples they didn't know before the event.
"I thought it was a lot of fun hanging out with other couples and giving us a chance to get away from our children for a night," said Chris. "We live on base, so we could get back to them, if we needed to."
Two rounds of the newlywed game were played with four couples in each game. Questions included the wife's nickname for her husband, the starting and ending time of their first date, the first gift each one bought for the other and what song the husband would say describes their relationship.
The game was a hit since couples that weren't playing wanted to know participating couples' answers and even helped, if a spouse had trouble answering a question.
Chris and Liz King won the first round, and Dorian and Lisa Cooper won the second round.
"Having an audience of your peers was the best part of the game because that puts you in the hot seat," said Chris. "It made coming up with answers more challenging and fun, because they are laughing with you, so no one is judgmental. They are just having fun."
Dorian learned that his wife thinks he talks too much at times, but doesn't mind since he thought she thought he talks too loud.
"She always says 'Quiet, you are talking too loud,'" said Dorian. "So, I figured that's what the answer would be. I never knew she thinks I talk too much sometimes."
Every couple learned something about their spouse that they didn't know before, which made the game even more fun, according to Liz.
"You can see you aren't the only couple that doesn't know one another as well as you thought you did," said Liz. "Everyone else is in the same boat."
The USO created the event since on-post couples activities were the biggest thing Fort Belvoir couples said they wanted to see an increase in, according to Stevens.
Chris and Liz King appreciated the event since they feel there isn't much to do off post.
"There really isn't much to do around here except go to a bar," said Liz. "So, it gives us something to do in a different atmosphere."
The enthusiasm for the event and the positive feedback is encouraging for Stevens who said she wants "Date Night" to become a regular event.
"They seemed entertained," said Stevens. "I think this is something we can build off of and make better in the future."