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Hot Dates for Everyone!

October 13, 2010

During a pause in my grueling math tutoring session my hot, engineering, grad-student friend (let’s just call him Hot Tutor) and I started talking about relationships. Because I always make my guy friends talk to me about relationships.  I’m basically looking for any insight I can find into the opposite sex – if such insight even exists.

I was complaining a bit about my last foray into the dating scene – letting Hot Tutor know how it had all ended. I still can’t seem to explain myself fully about why Pancake Man was not the guy for me and it was just frustrating me during my chat with Hot Tutor.

We got around to the fact that it was such a struggle with Pancake Man to decide what we were going to do together.

“You’re a smart guy. Is it really that hard to think of something to do on a date?” I finally asked out of frustration.

“Yes, it is,” Hot Tutor responded very matter-of-factly (because he’s almost always very matter-of-fact).

“No, it’s not really.” I said gently. “Let me just tell you a secret. The activity you choose isn’t all that important. If she likes you she will want to hang out with you. Even if you suggest a restaurant she doesn’t like all that much she’ll go — or she’ll suggest a different place. And if she doesn’t like you she probably won’t go out with you just because asked her to go do something amazing.”

Unless she’s a bitch.

And that’s annoying because you might ask a total bitch (not knowing she’s a bitch) to go to a Goo Goo Dolls concert and she’ll go with you even if she doesn’t like you just because they are her favorite band.


So, don’t ask a girl to something like that on a first date – it’s just a waste of a concert ticket. But if you’re asking a girl out, have a plan – a specific one. (And ladies, if you’re asking a guy out have a plan too.) Don’t just say, “Do you want to do some thing some time?” Have a time, date and activity in mind.

Over the next few math problems and a few bites of pie, Hot Tutor actually suggested I put together a list of things to ask a girl to do on a date and post the list on my blog. Well, I’ve been thinking of it ever since. And…he’s right it is kind of hard to think of a definitive list of activities or pass-times to ask a girl to do on a first date – or even the first few dates.

So, a plain old list isn’t going to work. And it shouldn’t in my mind. Just like a standard candy and flowers gift is not good enough to qualify as being romantic, just picking something off a date list isn’t good enough either. (Although any suggestions that anyone has I would gladly welcome in the comments section. Hot Tutor might even try them.)

The thing is, there are too many nuances to who you are as a person, who she is as a person and to where your relationship is at prior to the date. (But I am great at thinking of ideas for people on a case-by-case basis so let me know your situation if you’d like some ideas.)

So, no list – but I can think of some good guidelines that might be helpful. (Keep in mind these are FIRST date suggestions.)

It should be something you can do while talking to one another. You want to find out as soon as possible if the person is fun to talk to. Cause if he/she is boring, why bother? So, a movie isn’t the best idea and going to a concert or a bar that are too loud for conversation might not be a great plan either. Activities you can do while talking: Games like mini golf, pool and darts. Shopping – like walking around a bookstore, buying groceries or picking out a Halloween costume (maybe even garage sale-ing or hitting a local flea market and seeing who can find the weirdest stuff or best deal). Eating or drinking – Coffee, adult beverages or dinner.

Plan on the date being pretty short. An epic, five-hour marathon of dinner, then a movie, then drinks might be great once you’ve really fallen for one another, but on a first date you’re likely to get bored and overloaded on info about the other person. Try just spending two to three hours together – tops – on the first date. Then you can spend the rest of the evening thinking about whether you had a good time and if you want to try it again. (And then you can book the second date within the next 24 hours – which is always a good plan.)

So, again: coffee, pool, drinks, shopping, working on a project together…that sort of thing. Big tip: no matter where you live there is probably a senior center and just because you aren’t a senior doesn’t mean you can’t hang out there. Most of them have activities like cards or dancing almost every night of the week and they all end pretty early.

Chose an activity or pass-time that you like that will allow you to share yourself with the other person. Some of my greatest dates have involved showing the other person something you’d like him/her to see or including the other person in something you enjoy or want to share. A lot of guys (girls too I imagine) fall into the trap of constantly asking a girl what she wants to do and it can get very smothering.

No one who is really ready for a relationship wants to have someone just following them around. (I tried to explain this to the last fella. I actually said, “I want you to think of something you’d like to show me or share with me,” and he was like, “so what do you want to do?” Which made me realize that what I really wanted was sit on my couch alone if he wasn’t going to try to include me in something special.)

Here’s a hint, have a life and invite another person into it. It doesn’t have to be ballroom dancing and gourmet food. (Although, inviting a girl along to try a ballroom dancing class would be a super fun first date in my opinion.) I once had a great date when a guy showed me a bunch of the online comics he loved to read. We read them together, laughed and I got to see behind the curtain a little bit and find out more about him.

Make sure you can meet each other there. As romantic and chivalrous as it is for the fella to pick up the lady, in this day and age it isn’t a great idea. You just shouldn’t let each other know where you live before you know one another pretty well. For example, around here hiking is a great thing to do and if you like it it’s great to see if the girl you’re interested in will like it. But suggesting a girl go with you up into the hills on a first date is kind of creepy. Have you ever read a mystery novel? Spearfish Canyon and Harney Peak totally sound like places to dump a body.

So, I guess I did think of a few ideas that I can compile into a list for Hot Tutor:

  • Play a game: mini golf, pool, darts.
  • Shopping: bookstore, groceries, Halloween costume, Christmas/birthday present for a family member, garage sale, second-hand book or music store, local flea market – if she picks something little out (like under $20) it might be pretty adorable to buy it for her too. Especially if it’s something like a CD or a book that she can enjoy later that will remind her of you.
  • Eating or drinking: coffee, adult beverages, wine tasting, dinner
  • Working on a project together: Need something assembled? Cooked? Fixed? Oiled? Need to make something for the office pot luck? No? Well, she doesn’t know that. Find out if she has a family recipe for the greatest potato salad ever and then make it together.
  • Find a club to play with: Senior Centers, Churches and the like have activities all the time.
  • Read the newspaper: Almost every local newspaper in the country has an event’s calendar.
  • Call Civic groups: The local Convention and Visitors Bureau, Chamber of Commerce or Downtown Association might be able to let you know about some great things that are coming up. Festivals in the park, Crazy Days Sales, Symphony Performances at the bandshell.
  • Share a Hobby: Ask her to hang out and tell her it’s a surprise. Then show her something you like to do in your spare time. Flying kites, assembling model airplanes, brewing beer, playing video games (this one only works if it’s a game that’s easy for a novice to pick up and that two people can play). Remember, if the activity is a surprise, do the lady a favor and let her know what kind of attire is appropriate. For a woman, just choosing shoes when you don’t know the plan is torture. I once had a guy take me hiking as a surprise; I was NOT wearing th right shoes or clothes. P.S. Hiking in a skirt sucks.
  • Try something new together: Neither of you have ever been to the local planetarium? Check it out. Never hit the zoo? Never been to a play? Do that!
  • Volunteer for something: If you’re the volunteering type that’s a great thing to include the other person in. Big Brothers Big Sisters, YFS, Girls/Boys Clubs, church, the YMCA
  • Take a class: Ballroom dancing anyone? How about cooking? Bible study? Some chicks are into that.
  • Go back to high school: Is there a play or a basketball game or a choir concert? I’ll bet there’s something you could go to at the high school – and they may even have fun food for sale at the event. Added pluses – supporting local youth and it might spur on convos about what you were like in high school.

Okay, I have to stop typing now even though I’m coming up with a ton of ideas now that I’ve started. How about all of you? Any ideas for great FIRST dates?

16 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2010 2:13 pm

    As with my wife, and anyone I dated before she was in my life, I ask girls out who obviously had similar interest. I spend a great deal of time outdoors (mountain biking, hiking and on the water).
    So naturally I sought relationships with others who enjoy the same. That being said, I made it a point to have a first few dates during lunchtime on weekends. A few hours is good. A basket lunch of fresh food, fruit, dessert and drink. A nice park by water that has plenty of open and private areas to enjoy a nice time together. If the weather is not so good, find an indoor opportunity with a view for lunch.

    My wife and I live near mountains and plenty of water. To get a way from all the kids on weekends, we still take our little side tours away for lunch to this day. Driving a short route with a view is a nice time to relax to. It is a nice setting to find out more about what you like to spend time doing.


  2. Nathan permalink
    October 13, 2010 2:29 pm

    It can be difficult to come up with ideas for dates, but most times it seems like guys are on either end of the spectrum. Either they spend an inordinate amount of time thinking up a great date that they forget why they are even doing it (the girl they hope to make swoon), or they get stuck in a rut and don’t even try to think of anything (dinner and a movie anyone?). I have been guilty of both, but have found that my wife likes it when I put some thought into it. That’s all it takes. I think you gave a great start with your ideas. I would also recommend group settings or going with another couple that you know to take some of the pressure off of the situation. That is how it happened for my first date with my now wife (although she still says she didn’t realize it was our first date!)
    Always enjoy reading your articles!


  3. Matt79 permalink
    October 13, 2010 3:04 pm

    Lots of good ideas, and I especially like the bit about “an activity that will allow you to share yourself with the other person” – I’m not sure I’d thought of that before but it makes a lot of sense!


    • October 13, 2010 3:15 pm

      Two questions Matt:

      1.) Do you think you will try any of my suggestions?

      2.) If you were to chose one, what’s a date idea that would allow you to share yourself with the other person?


      • Matt79 permalink
        October 14, 2010 3:20 pm

        I might try to use the “share myself” idea – but I also think you’ve got a good point on “being able to talk to each other” which does rule out things like cinema. I used to play a lot of pool so that might work on both counts.


        • October 14, 2010 3:28 pm

          And it might afford you some sexy chances if you are good enough to teach her a few pool moves.

          Also, a tip to all men: In general, don’t talk trash or get too competitive while playing a game on a date. Especially a first date. Some girls can hang, but most girls will be offended.


  4. Logan permalink
    October 13, 2010 6:53 pm

    Brilliant list Crystal. I will definitely be trying out some of those ideas. That is if I can get her to say yes, of course. 🙂


  5. October 14, 2010 11:40 am

    Wow, this is great advice. You are doing a service here, Crystal!

    First dates – a picnic I went on one time was a lot of fun, at a local park. The guy packed a basket with sandwiches, fruit and mamosas… Yummy!

    Wine tasting is also a lot of fun. Assuming you know the other person drinks.

    Me and my ex went on our first date to an amusement park – While I had a blast and ended up falling for him, I think an amusement park first date is a little too much pressure. Especially if said amusement park is an hour and a half away. That’s quite a commitment for a first date – three hours in the car, and at least two hours at the park!

    I need to do a better job of suggesting things for me and Chef to do – I think he’s getting tired of planning stuff. But I am really up for whatever! But it’s not fair to make him do all the work.


    • October 14, 2010 11:48 am

      Would he like it if you cooked for him? While I’m sure he loves his job, it might be nice for someone else to cook for him sometime. Also, you guys are definitely in relationship zone now so more intimate things might be in order. Like looking at scrapbooks or yearbooks and swapping family and high school war stories. I always like going for a drive and just talking. That’s why trips are nice.

      Once you’re in a committed relationship you get to do awesome staying in stuff that you can’t do while you’re still in the dating stage — Like taking a bath together. I’d say, in-house spa day. Go pick out some soaps and lotions and oils for each other an then go home and use them! No? Too cheesy?


      • October 16, 2010 1:19 pm

        LOL – we’ve done a lot of the things you are talking about! He showed me this incredible scrapbook his mom made for his 30th birthday, and he had great joy going through my God-awful pictures from my childhood. I think the drive is a great idea. I want to take a shower together – that’s definitely on my to-do list!

        And I know he would LOVE if I cooked for him. I’m trying to figure out what I’ll make, but that’s definitely on the list.


        • October 16, 2010 4:20 pm

          SHOWER! I love it. Sexy and sweet — although I wouldn’t recommend it for a first date. 😉

          It would be hard for me to cook for someone who was actually a chef. I’m not a great cook. But you know what I can do? I make amazing hors devours. I am the absolute queen of party food (mostly because no one else cares for that particular throne). And I’m not too bad with pasta. But that’s because I like sauce out of a jar. Something makes me think Chef probably isn’t a fan of sauce from a jar.

          Anyway, I think it is awesome that you’ve already done the picture thing. I’ve had some great moments on that kind of a date. That’s the kind of stuff that makes me fall in love.


  6. Modern Funk permalink
    October 16, 2010 11:58 am

    Great ideas and observations. I would say doing something simple and pure in nature…such as a picnic, a walk by the lake, or a wildlife park. 🙂


    • October 16, 2010 4:11 pm

      Those are great ideas. In my neck of the woods there isn’t much more time to hang out outdoors so I thought it would be better to give Hot Tutor some ideas that were indoor ideas. Plus, a picnic, walk by a lake and wildlife park all sound like a little too much pressure for a first day. And I think too romantic. Playful is a better way to go on a first date — it reduces performance anxiety.


  7. October 17, 2010 9:50 am

    Love your writing style too. 🙂 Hope you keep following me.



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