While online dating is fun and offers a nice, slow way to get to know somebody, eventually, you want to move the date into the IRL sphere. You have to if you’re going to get any real sense of what your chemistry is like. I can’t tell you how many times I made the mistake, when I was single, of enjoying multi-week if not multi-month relationships that existed solely online or over the phone, only to meet up with the person and learn much to my disappointment that…I wasn’t attracted to them in real life. Or the chemistry was just off. What a bummer to have dedicated so much time to that communication over something that fizzled out the second it moved into IRL. Don’t make the same mistake I did. A nice progression of things is: a few good online message exchanges that turn into a handful of fun phone calls that convert into a real life date. Of course, during the COVID-19 pandemic, having a first date is easier said than done. Many of our traditional venues for dates are closed, or just unsafe. And there are just so many times you can meet someone for a social distancing walk before you get bored. You want to do fun and dynamic things with your dates. So, here are some COVID-19 friendly first date ideas.
If there is a place near you where you can rent kayaks, go kayaking! Use separate kayaks because it’s more COVID-19 friendly, but also, it helps you talk easier. It’s much more convenient to chat while kayaking side-by-side than when one of you is sitting in front of the other. It’s a nice, relaxed way to enjoy the outdoors and speak in an intimate setting at the same time. It’s not like they’ll be many other people out there on the water with you.
Outdoor movie night
You can either have or attend an outdoor movie night. If one of you has access to a yard, then you can rent a project, set up your blankets six feet apart, get all of the best movie snacks ready, and enjoy a flick under the stars. If you don’t have a yard, just find an outdoor movie venue in your town. You can pull up in your cars side-by-side, sit on the hoods, and enjoy the movie.
ATVing is a great choice for the adventurous daters. It’s outdoors. You can have your own ATVs to keep your distance. It’s much more exciting than dinner or drinks. But, you can pack a picnic to have on the hoods of your cars when you’re done – and perhaps some beers in a cooler – so you can talk about the experience.
A beach picnic
You can always go the simple route of just having a beach picnic. Bring a large umbrella that will give you six feet of distance. Get a small table with a stake at the bottom that you can put in the sand. Bring a sand- and waterproof blanket and a good picnic basket. You can go for a walk by the ocean when you’re done eating.
A hike is a simple way to get out of your usual, boring surroundings, take in some scenery, and get a chance to chat. Find a secluded hike where there won’t be many people, both so that you can keep your distance, and so you can speak openly without worrying about others listening in. You could pack a bottle of wine and some plastic cups for when you reach a nice lookout point.
If you rent a large tandem bicycle, you can leave one seat empty between you two, and enjoy this classic and fun activity. It gives you the chance to take in the sites of your city in a close-up way that driving doesn’t, and lets you see how well you work together – will you both literally pull your weight on the bike?
A rooftop meal
If you have access to a rooftop – perhaps if neither of you does, a friend will lend you theirs – consider having a romantic rooftop meal. Bring a nice setup with two foldable tables – so you can sit distanced — and chairs and a tablecloth up there. It’s so romantic to look over the city. And you don’t deal with the crowds you would at a restaurant.
A picnic in the park
If you don’t have access to a beach, you can just have a picnic in the park. Go at sunset, when it isn’t as hot – and when you get to look at the beautiful sunset. You can both pack your favorite snacks (individually wrapped) to share with one another. Bring one for you, and one for him, of your favorite foods. It gives you the chance to learn a bit about each other.
A driveway dinner
When you don’t have parks or beaches nearby, you can’t go wrong with a simple driveway dinner. It’s kind of fun in a childish way. You can both meet with your cars in either of your driveways. Bring folding chairs. And just kickback. It gives you a chance to see where the other lives, sort of, without going inside and risking spreading the virus.
A nice meal in the park
I recently saw a couple doing this and I thought it was so cute. They’d brought checkered cotton tablecloths. They had a little folding table with a bucket of ice with champagne in it. They brought real silverware. They made two setups, on side-by-side tables, and it looked like they were eating at a fine dining restaurant.
Outdoor wine tasting
Wine tasting is often an outdoor activity, or it can be, if you stick to the outside portion of the property. It can be nice to get a bottle and two glasses, and take a stroll through the beautiful vineyards, or just grab a seat outside overlooking the vineyards.
Visit the zoo
If the zoo is still open in your city, then this could be a fun outdoor activity. The kid in all of us comes out when we’re at the zoo, checking out the cute and funny animals. If you’re not big on the zoo, maybe there’s an outdoor aquarium or botanical garden you can visit.
Rent an open-air jeep
Go off-roading together in an open-air jeep. You’ll want to both wear your masks, as you can’t sit a full six feet apart in a jeep. But you will have fresh air, and off-roading gives you the chance to go off the beaten path and explore some areas outside of your city. Plus it gets your adrenaline rushing.
Outdoor cooking class
Many chefs are now offering outdoor cooking classes, both because it’s COVID-19-friendly, and because this is a nice time of year to enjoy the great outdoors. They’ll set up cooking stations that allow you and your date to keep six feet of distance, and you can bond over learning and trying a new recipe together. Maybe you can plan to make it inside one of your homes, when this pandemic is over.
If paintball venues are open in your town, then this can make a really fun, outdoor first date. Plus, the helmet acts as a mask. You’ll get to be a bit competitive with each other, which is sexy, and just act like kids again. It’s really a nice distraction from what’s going on in the world.