The impression that you make on your date doesn’t just begin when you say hello. It actually begins when you suggest where to go. Those of you who follow my column regularly know that I only recommend having drinks (coffee, tea, martinis or wine) on your first date since it’s essentially more of an audition than a date. However, for a subsequent outing, you have the opportunity to really make an impression.
The go-to plan is often dinner and a movie. Not only is that an uninspiring idea, but seeing a movie also eliminates the possibility for discussion and connection to your date. Unless your plan is to spend the movie making out in the back the whole time (which also doesn’t really get you acquainted either.) There will be plenty of time for action if you make yourself memorable in a more meaningful way.
Here are some fresh date ideas that will not only allow you to get to know one another better, but will also impress your date with your cleverness.
1. BE EXCLUSIVE:
Getting exclusive access to a restaurant, show or concert that would otherwise be off-limits will win you major bonus points. You don’t have to be a Hollywood high roller to get the advantage though. Many credit cards give advance access to tickets for popular events – or even have exclusive events for cardholders. Want a table at an exclusive restaurant? Try calling when they open for dinner to see if any cancellations have come in. Be respectful and complimentary and they will often see what they can do. You can also enlist the help of a concierge who will often help you for a fee or tip even if you are not a hotel guest.
2. MAKE SOMETHING TOGETHER:
Participating in an activity that you have to do together is a great way to build rapport. Many cities have responded to the foodie revolution by offering cooking classes in a wide variety of cuisines. Not only are you both learning valuable information, but you are also learning about collaboration. And best of all you get to eat your creation when it’s finished!
3. BE A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN TOWN:
Most people don’t even think of going on a bus or walking tour in their own city. You live there, what could you possibly learn, right? Think again. Exploring your own town with a date allows you to bond and laugh while you see your city through fresh eyes. And if nothing else, it will fill you with inventive factoids that you could use on the next date if this one doesn’t work out.
4. ACT LIKE A KID AGAIN:
Nothing lets your guard down on a date like doing something that you know is ridiculous and childish. Try mini golfing,playing laser tag, or hitting up a water park. I’ve also heard of a place in Los Angeles that has wall-to-wall trampolines. Talk about getting the adrenaline flowing.
5. A 3-HOUR TOUR:
Nearly every city in the country is by some kind of body of water. Sign up for an adventure on the water. Canoe down the local river. Go whale watching in the ocean. Take a paddleboat into the lake. There’s something about being on the water that is always romantic.
6. GIVE BACK:
Just like making something together bonds you, doing something for others can also give you a sense of mutual fulfillment. Try volunteering for an organization that assists those less fortunate. Just make sure that the group doesn’t have a political bent since talking politics on a date is a recipe for disaster.
These are just a few ideas to shake things up, but feel free to get creative! Doing something unexpected can win you major bonus points with a bored and uninspired online dater. It’s smart to run the idea past your date in advance so she doesn’t show up in high heels to work at the soup kitchen or in a mini skirt for snowshoeing.
Ladies, don’t be afraid to suggest something unusual too. It’s lovely to have a guy plan dates for you, but if you have a better idea and a date plan that you’d both enjoy more, throw out the idea. You might see a side of your man that you otherwise wouldn’t know was there.
I’ve found that a few tickets worth of bumper cars (after a few shots of vodka) works wonders to enliven the mood!