Dating can be exciting — getting to know a new person, sharing that first kiss, or even falling in love. Some of the most exciting times of my life have happened on dates — whether it was getting caught in the rain at the zoo (and walking back to my apartment soaking wet), or going to a concert that we both really looked forward to, and accidentally bumping into the band after the show. I have some great memories of dates, and some downright awful ones too. What exactly is a “good date” anyway? What are some good dating ideas?
First Date Ideas
Asking someone out can be a daunting task, but the proper first date can wipe away all that anxiety while also providing a good time for you and your partner. Just a couple of my favorite first dates inspired the ideas below.
- Bake together – one of my most successful first dates was to ask a classmate if she could help me bake brownies for a charity bake sale. This took the pressure off of both of us — after all, we were just getting together to bake for charity — and gave us a goal to work toward, as well as a delicious dessert to share. It was an easy segue into asking for a second date, and the charity aspect earned me “brownie points”. Pun totally intended.
- Invite your date to an exercise class – If you are part of a Yoga or Tai Chi class (or any number of exercise classes), invite someone you’re interested in to take part with you, and make it easy for them to say “yes” by paying their way. You will be in public (first dates that are too private can be awkward), working up a healthy sweat, and your date will know that you’re interested in physical fitness. Regardless of how your date “performs” in the class, this can be a very solid first date. I took a girl to a yoga class once, and we laughed for months about the instructor passing gas during a difficult pose, or how silly our faces looked while we were stretching up against the wall.
- Go to a flea market or garage sale – Every town in America has some sort of bargain store or flea market, and if you can’t find one at the right time or on the right day, look for garage sales in the paper. Remember that friendly competition can create attraction — not to mention being a ton of fun — so set up some sort of contest. See who can find the ugliest sweater, or who can buy the biggest or most valuable item for under a dollar. Your date will no doubt appreciate the creative aspect of this date, and the time “shopping” is the perfect background for getting to know one another.
Tips For Inexpensive Dates
After a couple of first dates, you may find yourself looking for things you can do with your dating partner that don’t break the bank. Here are some tips for inexpensive dates.
- Go to a Little League game – as silly as it sounds, it is just as much fun to cheer on kids and young teenagers playing baseball as it is spending hundreds of dollars and going to a professional game. The concessions will be much cheaper too, allowing you to really “splurge” on goodies for you and your date. Guys — your girlfriend will think you’re sensitive for attending a children’s game, and girls — your guy will think its cool that you want to watch a sports event. You get bonus points if you have a younger sibling playing in the game — your cheering will be more enthusiastic and your date will appreciate your commitment to family.
- Take pictures together – most people have access to some sort of camera, be it digital or Polaroid. Explore your city and have fun with the pictures. You can pretend to tie one another up on a railroad track, or pose with employees at fast food restaurants. Pretend you’re on a scavenger hunt and make a list of items to include in your pictures. You can even take your date to a fancy clothing store and take photos of your date in a tuxedo or wedding gown. Remember that laughter and silliness are keys to enjoying time with someone. You can’t be serious all the time.
Once you’ve gotten past the first few dates, done the “cheap date” thing, and have gotten serious about your partner, its time to plan a romantic date to tell them how you feel. Some of these may be cost prohibitive, but the romantic impact make them worth saving up for.
- Night on the town – Call a nice restaurant in advance and have a rose or a single flower that you know your date likes at your table. Over dinner and drinks, you can tell your date how they make you feel, how your time together has made you enjoy life more, or just share silly stories from your previous date. Schedule a carriage ride around town after your dinner, if such a thing exists in your town. If not, just hold hands and walk around, enjoying the sights. This would be the perfect time to suggest you date one another exclusively, or to tell your date “I love you” for the first time.
- Have a unique picnic – I once dated a girl who was a breakfast cereal fanatic. To prepare to tell her how I felt about her, I packed a very strange picnic dinner — two bowls, a gallon of milk, and three breakfast cereals I know she loved. We went out into the woods and had cereal as the sun set through the tree branches. She mentioned she’d never had such an interesting picnic, and I could tell she appreciated how much thought I put into this relatively cheap but extremely romantic date.
- Enjoy the unique activities in your area – Maybe your town has an ice skating rink. Skate together, making sure to hold hands and share lots of physical contact, before heading home for hot chocolate by a fire. Some cities are near enough to a lake or beach that you can enjoy a sun set (or sun rise for you early birds) while you talk and have a snack or a drink. If it is winter, and it snows where you live, plan an afternoon building snowmen, snowforts, and throwing snowballs at one another. You’ll be surprised how often people will join a random snowball fight or will join in to help you build the biggest snowman of the winter. Time spent in nature is not only free, it creates lasting romantic memories you can share with your lover for a long time.
Good dates are creative dates. There’s nothing wrong with “dinner and a movie”, but you should try and tailor it to you and your partner’s individual taste. Try out a new exotic ethnic restaurant and see a movie that fits the theme — Indian food followed by a viewing of “Slumdog Millionaire” would be a contemporary example. As long as there is romance involved, and the date is appropriate to the level of affection between you and your partner, there is no such thing as a bad date idea.
For more information about what some good dating ideas are, read: