Monday, August 25, 2008

Good places for a first date

Following are the cream of the first-date-ideas crop: All can feel wholesome and nonthreatening during the day and only slightly sexier after dark.
  • Museums: At a museum, you get to meander through the halls, look at exhibits, and chat about anything that inspires you. It’s a great place to get to know each other and to see each other’s tastes in art — or whatever. Also, most museums are usually easy to get to and offer a place to eat (even if overpriced for what you’re getting, they won’t break the bank). A museum is relaxed, easy, and inexpensive and doesn’t bump into any of the ten rules for first dates.
  • Amusement park: Unless it’s really hard to get to, going to an amusement park is usually fun and makes everybody feel young and carefree. The only real problems? Sticky fingers from cotton candy and rides that make you so queasy you’d give up your firstborn for an antacid tablet, but all-in-all, a good choice.
  • Walks: You can take walks (almost) anywhere: parks, zoos, botanical gardens, and so on. It’s cheap, fun, and pressure-free. Plus, you can often hold hands.
  • Street fair: You’re outside, nothing costs very much, you’re around other people, and there are a lot of things to talk about. In the winter, you can substitute county fairs, car shows, boat shows, antiques shows, and even zoos and botanical gardens, all places where you can move around, nothing is very expensive, you’re outdoors, and you can talk without interrupting people.
  • An auction: An auction is a fun date as well as long as you don’t get carried away and resist the temptation to bid. I actually had a great time at both a livestock auction and a farm machinery sell-off although I did buy a cow at the former once for a guy I was seeing — but that’s another story.
  • Outdoor activities in general: Sporting events, concerts, county fairs, zoos, and picnics are great ideas for first dates. You can talk, and because you’re outside, everything feels less claustrophobic. It’s easy and relaxed, and figuring out what to wear usually isn’t a problem.
  • Miscellaneous indoor events: When the weather turns ugly, consider car shows, boat shows, art shows, antiques shows, planetariums, and aquariums. You can talk to each other with no worries about being shushed!
It may seem that in a big city there are more options, but an awful lot of people that live in big cities don’t know how to act like tourists. Don’t assume that if you are living in a small town that there is nothing to do. Even if you live in a small town, my guess is that there is an obscure museum or park that you haven’t been to, a historic monument, a fun and unusual event, a local sporting tournament. You can certainly look into special exhibits at museums or art fairs, traveling carnivals or dances work too, because what you want a first date to be is a little unusual, a little fun, but not to make either one of you feel uncomfortable.

If you know everyone in town, what you may want to do is go to the next town over so you don’t feel like your first date will appear in the local gazette. There is no such thing as an area that doesn’t have special events, and what you need to do is become a little bit like a detective and look in the Friday or Saturday paper and see if there is an art festival going on, or if you live in a college town find out if there is something going on at the school. Don’t assume that you’ve done everything that there is to do; I guarantee that with a little bit of energy and ingenuity you’ll find something remarkable.

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