Okay, so you’ve been emailing each other for awhile, maybe you’re text messaging and perhaps you’ve talked on the phone. You feel certain chemistry and you want to move on to the next step, the FIRST DATE. You can’t decide where to go or what to do. The possibilities for that first date are endless. I’d like to make a suggestion; skip the whole dinner and a movie thing. Try something different. Step out of your comfort zone; out of the box. Remember when you were little and it was okay to color outside of the lines? Try it. It can open up a whole new world. Forget about the standard dinner and movie. Dinner’s nice, but why spend two hours in a theater watching someone else when you can be doing something fun that will help you get to know one another?
Put on your thinking cap and get creative. If you’re not the creative type, ask for help from your family and friends. Not only will something different be fun, but you’ll stand out in the crowd. Your date will remember the fact that you gave some thought to where you were going and what you were going to do. Your first date can easily be a success. There will be plenty of time later on, if you continue to see each other, for dinner and a movie.
Personally, I like bowling. You might be laughing right now, or thinking “no way”, but I can tell you that it can be a lot of laughs. Bowling is a gas, and it’s a great idea for a first date! It’s also nice that you are surrounded by other people, making your date feel safe. In addition, the fun and laughter around you can be contagious. If neither of you have ever bowled, it can be a learning experience for both of you, and no one will be at an unfair advantage. If one of you has bowled before, it can be an opportunity to be a teacher. On the other hand, if both of you have bowled; you can just relax and enjoy yourself. Throw a little alcohol into the mix (for it is one sport that actually invites you to imbibe) and just have fun. You might each bring a friend, which will also alleviate some of that “first date” stress.
If you’re not into bowling, a picnic can be nice. Now, I understand that picnics usually have a romantic stigma attached to them, but you can change that. Rather than finding a nice little secluded spot in the middle of nowhere, plop yourself down in the middle of a populated park somewhere. Entertain yourselves by people watching. You can make an impression, if you put some thought into it. Think about the menu and the accoutrements. If you’re not so swift in the kitchen, ask someone who is. Try a local deli or gourmet store. Many of them will be only too happy to put the whole thing together for you. Pick a menu and accessories that will make a statement. Forget the Styrofoam cups and potato chips. Up the ante a little bit. A bottle of wine or champagne is a nice touch, but don’t forget the corkscrew and the glasses. There’s nothing worse than finding yourself unprepared when you’re trying to make a good first impression. Make a list and check it twice. Remember something to sit on, and make sure it’s nice, clean and without holes or stains. Remember napkins; cloth is nice. Be sure to bring such things as salt and pepper, and ice cold bottled water is always good. Run through your plans with a fine toothed comb and get rid of any snags.
Where you are and the time of year can help dictate where you go and what you do. If the weather is nice you could take a nice long walk or hike, and stop somewhere along the way for something cold to drink. You could go to the beach, walk along the boardwalk and stop for lunch overlooking the ocean. Roller blading or bicycling is always an option, as is a trip to a local winery or a farmer’s market. If it is winter or the weather is chilly, your options might be a bit different. Instead of roller blading, you could try ice skating. If you’ve never skated and you go to a public skating rink, you can find comfort in the fact that you won’t be the only ones falling down. You will be surrounded by others doing the same. If there’s snow around, you could go somewhere nice for lunch where there is a wonderful view. The possibilities, like I said, are endless.
If you plan ahead of time, you can ask others for dating ideas. Your Aunt Mary of Uncle Bob might know just the spot. You can go to your local Chamber of Commerce or Visitors Center for information. Sometimes we have events in our own town that we know nothing about. When the weather is warm, many towns and cities have outdoor concerts or festivals of some kind. There might be someplace historical you’ve never been. Museums and art galleries are good too.
So, if you want to have a successful first date, give it some thought. Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Instead, embrace it. Enlist the help of family, friends and co-workers. Peruse your local Sunday paper or Weekly. Dare to be different. If the date ends up being a bust, at least you’ve tried something new or out of the ordinary. Good luck and happy dating!