By Michael Barr
“A beginning is a very delicate time.”
Author Frank Herbert said this at the beginning of his classic novel Dune. This phrase is true about many aspects of life but especially about relationships and dating. With that in mind, here is a fun look at five different first dates that will help you get that “delicate time” started off perfectly.
An Appetizer Dinner
For a lot of people, good times are built around great food and this date gives you a chance to do just that. Go to 2 or 3 different restaurants and order creative appetizers, and finish the night off with a yummy dessert. This date gives you plenty of time to talk and get to know each other, puts you in several fun public locations, and again, duh, you’re eating great food! Word of warning, this is not the Great Race so please don’t drive around town all Fast and Furious trying to set a world speed record on your date. Also, if you are proud of the fact that you once ate 34 chicken wings, this is not NOT, I repeat NOT the time to go for 35.
Visit a Museum
Museums are everywhere and are very affordable, or even free. There is ample opportunity for small talk while walking around so your date will feel more comfortable. Also, art provides a nice lens to help you understand your date’s perspective on life, based on how they feel about certain pieces. If you want to insert a next level amount of fun, make up some rules – like for every serious comment you make you also have to totally make one up, but make it sound serious. For example, “I like how the artist uses color in this piece to set the mood” followed by “ Also, I feel like the color contrast lends itself towards acute visual hilarity and emotional deforestation”. Boom. Good culture, good laughs, good times.
This one is a little cliché but for a good reason – it is a timeless go-to social activity. Bowling takes place in an upbeat, interactive environment and essentially gives you a blank permission slip to enjoy yourself. You’ll have plenty of time to talk and to get to know each other. Also, you get a chance to celebrate each other’s triumphs and laugh at each other’s mistakes in a safe, low-stakes public space. Also, if you get a strike and know some amazing (or in my case, amazingly horrific) dance moves then, by all means, break it down. Add a couple of sodas and share some french fries, and you’ve got an awesome date. Word of caution, if you own your own bowling ball and shoes you might want to save them for a future date. Same goes for the bowling glove. And the wrist brace. And the monogrammed polo shirt. And especially the signed copy of Pro Bowler Magazine. Baby steps people, baby steps.
Take a Hike
If you live in a beautiful area, this is a no-brainer. Mountains, lakes, rivers, streams, scenic desert, even a city park – all are perfect for a first date. And if you are walking on the beach, you could almost propose, but hold off, it’s just the first date! (Yes, beaches are that powerful). This is a great opportunity for a little exercise, some laughs and small talk, and soaking up the beauty of nature. Do bring water and snacks for your date. Do not bring a full backpack, a flare gun, or a knife big enough to skewer a wild boar. Also, this is not the time to venture off trail and show off your wilderness survival skills. An emergency call to a park ranger is not how you want to end your date.
The Book Store Sampler
Yes millennials, bookstores still exist. This is a personal favorite. Take your date into a nice big bookstore and explain that you are each going to pick out 3 books that help describe you, and then meet on some comfy chairs to talk about them. This a great way to get to know each other and gain some insight into what they like, what their hobbies are, and what makes them tick. If the date goes well then head somewhere for a nice dessert afterwards. You probably don’t want to pick any books that have “An Idiot’s Guide To…” in the title – there are more flattering ways to describe yourself. Also, if one of your date’s books is “The Definitive Pick Pocket” then you might be in store for a different type of date related to swiping than you are used to. Just sayin’.
All right, now get out there and make a great beginning!