Dating today is a whole operation. Most people rely heavily on dating apps, something that takes the romance out of meeting the love of your life at the checkout line at Costco. But once you’ve managed to snag that person’s number and they’ve agreed to-gasp-go out with you, the pressure’s on. Where to hold that first date?
The thing of it is, it doesn’t matter where you go on your first date. It could even be spent running errands at Target and going to the pharmacy to pick up dental floss. If the connection is there, it will come out no matter the context. In fact, it is preferable to go somewhere less classy and see a person’s true colors than to see what they’re like in a five-star restaurant. This type of setting, especially if it isn’t one that your date is accustomed to, can create forced conversation and a rather stiff environment. The one exception here is if you’re going on a date with a chef or a true food connoisseur as they will truly understand the experience, and you will see them in their natural environment.
One great idea if you feel like hanging out at Walgreens on a Saturday afternoon is to cook dinner together, that is, if at least one of you knows their way around the kitchen. Even if not, it can be a fantastic way to see if this new person takes themselves way too seriously. Besides, you can get an at least edible meal out of it for relatively cheap provided that you stayed away from the caviar. Stick to salad and pasta if you’re nervous about your culinary competence.
Another fun idea is to go to a sports game, provided that both of you are even slightly interested in athletics. If it goes well and the two of you stay together for a while, going to games can become a tradition you share, complete with wearing team jerseys and face painting. Games are fun because you get to talk fairly openly and see how loud your counterpart can cheer for the home team.
Going to the beach, unless it’s raining, is always a good idea no matter the time of year. As coastal folks know, there’s something magical about hanging out by the waves in the winter when no one is around to tell you you can’t barbecue. Sure, you’ll need a lot of supplies to stay comfortable, but if you’re a planner, this is the way to go. Bring a couple of blankets and some thermoses of soup and coffee to share. Stay away from the French onion until you’ve reached boyfriend-girlfriend status!
Provided that you live in a big enough city, heading to a late-night museum opening is a great way of seeing if someone shares your interest in eighteenth-century Japanese pottery without the pressure of having little else to entertain the two of you. Most museum late-nights feature all sorts of fancy refreshments, live music, and fun talks on related subjects. Science museums are almost always a safe bet because they tend to have fun interactive exhibits you can laugh around.
Still, the bottom line is this. Don’t try to overdo it on your first date. Save the big outings for when you’re celebrating something important and keep weekly date nights fairly low key. Setting a precedent for breaking out all the stops on the first couple dates ends up focusing on the event rather than the idea of building intimacy, which is the purpose of dates, right?