I’m pretty sure that as kids we all saw the way the dating process was supposed to happen. Every TV show, movie, or book aimed at the young adult genre carries the same message. Guy meets girl, builds up the courage to ask her out, gets nervous, backs out, finally does it, she says yes. Congrats kid, have a candy!
Our hero has won the battle, but wait! The war is far from over. At some point, it starts to dawn on him … Where exactly are you going to take your date-to-be? “Oh, I know!” the kid exclaims. “I’m going to take her out to dinner, and then see a movie. Then I’m going to yawn and stretch and put my arm around her. Yeah, that’ll work!”
Let’s back up a second and look at this objectively. This guy’s plan is to carry a conversation between awkward mouthfuls of chicken parmigiana, then he’s going to sit in a pitch black room where talking is frowned upon to watch a movie that may or may not be any good. And then he’ll try and make a move on a person he barely knows.
No-one can blame the guy though. School teaches us how to calculate the hypotenuse of a triangle and derive third order equations where x=doughnut and y=rainbows, but learning how to develop intimate connections with other human beings?
CALCULATE THE DAMN HYPOTENUSE! AND STOP ASKING QUESTIONS!
So … We’ve been lied to our entire young adult lives. Going out for dinner and movies is a terrible first date. Forget about it. Save it for later on in the relationship where it belongs. And while we’re on the topic of forgetting things, put that book of Pythagoras Theorem in the bin too. You won’t be needing it. Ever.
Thus begins our solution. What makes a great first date? Just like grandma’s apple pie, there is a straight forward recipe you can use every time you’re aiming to leave a lasting impression on a date. Whether you’re a guy or a girl, it doesn’t matter. Remember these points and you’ll be a star.
A lot of people can generally shortlist two or three places they want to go but just can’t settle on the one place to take their date. Here’s an absurd idea; go to all those places on your shortlist. On the one date. Yes, you read that right. Straight from the TV commercial.
It may seem counter-intuitive at first but think about it. Would you rather sit back and say “we went to dinner and watched a movie” or “we went to NASA and watched a space launch, then fought off an alien horde with Nerf guns, and then feasted on cupcakes while the saved kittens carried us around the world”? Ok so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but I digress.
It’s not ideal to just pick random places, however. It IS ideal to choose places that will help your date understand more about you and who you are as a person. Bring your date into your world.
When you’re single and dating around, it’s like you’re a boat at sea bumping into other boats at random intervals. You bump into someone, and unless one of you moves, the current will eventually drift you away until you bump into the next person.
Let’s say in our sea of boats, there are little islands owned by the boat skippers. These islands represent the things the skipper enjoys. Now two boats bump into each other and instead of just sitting there, they visit islands together. Here are some examples;
Maybe don’t do the last one. Though it would be pretty cool. The idea is to take your partner and go do something that you actually enjoy doing. When you are enjoying yourself, you’ll find you can talk for hours and get to know each other beyond the surface level.
Have you ever been on a date and sat through one of those bone chilling awkward silences? The kind that drags on for a time where you can actually feel the cogs grinding inside the brain? It’s horrible. If you don’t have anything to talk about, your ships will just drift apart and never see each other again.
So you take your date into your world, you sail together to places you enjoy. You do things together. You talk about what you’re doing. You talk about each other. You learn more about them, they learn more about you. Open yourself up a bit. You know, be a little vulnerable.
Then at the end of the date, if the person never wants to see you again, it isn’t a complete waste. You brought someone else into your world and even though they didn’t enjoy it, you spent time doing things you enjoy. It sure beats paying for a crappy dinner to sit in a cold movie theatre.
So there you have it. The three simple steps to keep in mind when planning your date. It may be a first, fifth, tenth date, always remember the three principles;
In future posts, we’ll look at spicing up dates for those who have been together past the swooning honeymoon period but for now, happy dating!