Okay, I hate list posts, but sometimes they are a necessary evil. When you are trying to get out more, sometimes it’s not just with your kids, or with yourself, but another special someone to share the adventure with.
To construct a perfect date, I recommend the three point approach. Often you hear about “Dinner and a movie” which is fine if you want to transition awkward conversation with a mouth full of food into sitting in a dark room not talking at all.
Try this instead
Think of a date like a sushi menu or dim sum. They give you a pencil and a menu of things you want to do and it is up to you to pick a few of them. Some of them are things you know you like, such as the big ball of pork fried rice in the banana leaf, and others are things you want to try, like the steamed wontons or the sauteed Chinese broccoli. Pick only 3. Two if they are big things to do.
The point of going on a date is not only to get to know the other person, but to share a new experience. Doing something you are familiar with will put you at ease, and being somewhat comfortable in a setting will show them your confident side, which is sexy as hell, and doing something new shows that you are willing to push the envelop, which is even more attractive.
I love coffee. It’s a comforting companion on a cold winter morning and an old friend who gets you charged up on an evening out. It’s a long, warm hug in a cup. It’s a little gift you can give yourself every day and not tire of seeing. Also, sharing coffee, especially at a coffee shop, is a good way to slow down and just get to know the other person. There’s also little threat of releasing your obnoxious, sad choices self, which going to a bar has the potential of doing. Sip, talk, and most importantly, listen! (Especially you men out there.)
A botanical garden
At the top of my list for first dates is the botanical garden. A psychologist might say that you are surrounded by the reproductive process of plantlife and there is a deeper reaction to this people react to. For me, it is because it is a quiet place that isn’t filled with obnoxious, noisy crowds. You walk. You talk. You admire beautiful things. Skip the amusement park on a first date. Nobody needs to stand in long lines in the hot sun with annoying kids while you are trying to have a moment. Save that for second or third dates. You can even combine the coffee experience with the garden in some cases.
When I was at Hyde Park, in London, I saw a lot of first dates begin at the coffee shop and then move to walking around the park. In Denver you can do the same thing at a smaller scale.
Maybe it’s just me, but I love being surrounded by books. And depending on who you are with, you can learn a lot about someone based on the books they pick up and look at. If you find yourself with someone who doesn’t like books, I suggest you move on before they try to get you to train for a triathlon with them or show you their favorite biker bar where they might run into their last three exes. It’s also a quiet place where you are surrounded by an almost unlimited number of conversation starters. If either of you can’t strike up a conversation with that much help, you need to figure out something else to do with your life.
This will give you the chance to do something silly, fun, and maybe a little competitive. Don’t worry about keeping score, unless you are both that type of person. Focus on just having a good time. Nobody should take this game seriously in the least. It’s ridiculous, but also makes you feel like a kid again, or at least it should.
Be aware that there is one constant in mini-golf. Either the person ahead or you or behind you is going to be irritating. This is a good way to see how patient you or your date can be. It might even reveal a dealbreaker depending on how they handle it!
Mini-golf is a bigger experience and will likely count as two things.
A Vintage gaming arcade
Be a kid again. Feel nostalgiac. Flex your muscles with your skill at Ms. Pac Man, Robotron, TMNT, or pinball. Air hockey is always a favorite. Don’t be overly competitive, but also don’t be a wimp. Be feisty. Taunt. Show sportsmanship. Have fun!
Be adventurous, but also be comfortable
The more experiences you collect, the better your menu, but don’t just get in the habit of doing things just to build a menu. Some of these things are things you have already done on your own and are just sharing with someone new. And if things work out, you have the beginnings of a foundation of some wonderful memories to get you through the hard times or the mundane times.
Pick two or three things to do and have fun. You should end the experience not feeling drained or exhausted, but hopefully energized. And if everything goes right, leaving yourself and the other person eager to do a few more things the next time you are together. By then, you can up the ante with something like dancing or something more adventurous like a decent hike or a nice restaurant where you get dressed up.
Get out more. Have fun. Challenge yourself.