“So… what do you like to do on the weekend?”
“So… do you have any brothers or sisters?”
“So…what do you do?”
“So… what do you like to do for fun?”
“So…what kind of music are you into?”
While sitting to dinner with a guy is all well and good, in my experience, it has NOT been the best date atmosphere to get to really know a person. Most of the men who’ve taken me on dinner dates were not 100 percent truthful, and in all honesty, neither was I. I was too busy trying to sit up straight when I know good and well my posture is normally horrible. The guys were trying to impress with tales of their jobs when later on I found out that half of them embellished to sound more appealing while others just straight up lied. The electrician was a drug dealer. The teacher was a security guard (who DID become a teacher later, in his defense). The outgoing guy was really an absolute lame who just spat out what he read in books or saw in romance movies.
It’s all so unnecessary. The pressure to give some witty or sassy or super-intelligent answer is overwhelming for a girl like me who gets nervous at just the thought of going on a date. Man, listen… I don’t want your canned answer or a lie to make me think more highly of you. I don’t want to try to read you to see what you’ll respond most favorably to. I want to simply be. I want you to simply be. And I want to get to know the real you, what makes you tick. Not the starched and ironed face you sent to dinner to make a good impression on me.
Perhaps it’s the fact that most first dates were quite awkward for me, though I made the best of them with my goofy sense of humor and winning smile. Then there’s the immediate thought some guys have that they are entitled to a kiss or being asked in for a nightcap at the end of the date. Um, dude. No.
The pressure that the “normal” dinner and a movie date puts on people to be near flawless representatives of themselves and NOT themselves entirely is exhausting at best and an absolute set-up for failure at worst.
My girlfriends ask me what alternatives I have concocted in my mind as a suitable first-date (or first FEW dates) option and it’s quite simple for me: Keep it active, keep it during daylight (if you can), and keep it public.
I joke on Twitter about how much I hate dating and would much rather just go zip lining and eat chicken wings with a guy I’m trying to get to know rather than sit for an “intimate dinner” or movie. To me it just makes sense. What better way to get to know someone than to see them in a not-so-normal, yet fun element? The pressure of looking/sitting/speaking perfectly is gone because you’re both about to fly 600 feet in the air with no control. Ain’t a bit of need to be proper up there. Not outdoorsy? An indoor theme park, rock wall, roller rink, bowling alley – all viable options.
Or if you’re not into physical activity, hitting up music festivals, film discussions, a zoo, or museum is just as active, fun and public. The idea is to see beyond the suit, tie, little black dress, MAC makeup, bottle of Moscato and generic small talk. The idea is to really get to know the person, right? Do something that forces you to learn together or be totally unguarded together. That’s when you learn the most about someone. When I fall at a roller rink and laugh hysterically trying to get back to my feet. When a guy helps me harness myself in when going hang gliding. When we can have a healthy debate about a piece of art we feel completely different about. When we can rock out to a new live band neither of us have ever heard before – THOSE are the telling experiences.
And in my way of thinking, you can save the dinner and a movie until we both know we want to take the friendship to another level. An intimate setting for a more intimate kind of relationship. We’ll know each other then. And then, we’ll have sweet little nothings to whisper to each other over a bottle of Moscato, and inside jokes to giggle about between kisses and fine dining.
Until then, buckle your seatbelt and let’s race go-karts.
La Truly seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women through her writing. Follow her on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly and AboutMe about.me/ashley.hobbs.