Romantic date ideas
25. 6. 2017
Well, the answer to the problem of coming up with ideas for Romantic Dates seems to be contained in the motto that is well-known by all good Boy Scouts and Girl Guides: Be Prepared.
How to be prepared for romantic date:
The best way to ready yourself in preparation for that all important date, is to ask questions. Simple everyday questions such as, ‘If you had the money and the freedom to do anything, what would you do?’ Clearly this might be a little dangerous, leading your prospective partner to think that you’re loaded. But even if the reply comes back that he or she would like to travel around the world, at least it’s some sort of an answer, and you can always modify the way you deal with it. ‘Well, yes, I’d also like to do that, but it can’t be done in one evening, so let’s do the next best thing and find a café where we can sit outside and watch the world go by.’
It’s also true that one person’s idea of a romantic date could be another person’s idea of hell. Suppose, for instance, that you discover that your prospective date likes nothing better than to visit museums or art galleries. Excellent, fantastic, so long as you have a similar vision. But if you have never set foot inside one of these establishments and have never had any intention of so doing – it could be problematic to say the least.
Anyway, whichever way we look at it, the first thing to do is find out as much as possible about your contact, the sort of stuff that floats his or her boat.
Questions, questions, questions!
So now we have the problem of wondering what sort of questions to ask. Should they be sneaky-type things, such as ‘What did you like to do when you were in your last relationship?’ No! No! A thousand times no. On first, second or third – maybe even more dates, it’s never a good idea to bring up the theme of a previous relationship. This sort of enquiry can lead to all sorts of edgy emotions, especially if the relationship, marriage, or whatever, was particularly rocky! And what if the previous partner had recently died? Uf – tragedy, tears and disaster. Leave these subjects well alone until you get to know and understand your partner’s past.
There are two ways in which to approach the subject of ‘what to do.’
- The first way, and the most obvious, is to be upfront and put the question directly. ‘What would you like to do?’ This leaves the answer firmly in the hands of your contact. He or she has to respond either by giving a direct answer, ‘I like dancing,’ or by an evasive reply, ‘I don’t know. What do you like to do?’ Whichever or whatever, you’ve learned one of two things: that they are positive about life and know what they want, or that they are dismissive about taking control and would rather leave the whole matter up to you.
- The other way forward is to be round-about and crafty. We can ask the same question but in a different format: ‘I’d love to ask you out, and I’ve a few ideas about what we can do. But before I suggest something, is there some favourite place you’d like to go?’ And you can push the envelope a little further by adding: ‘Maybe a café, a restaurant, or perhaps there’s a movie you’d like to see?’ The power of simple suggestion is awesome. And even though you might end up with a lacklustre reply, at least you’ve shown some form of courtesy by giving your contact the chance to come up with a suggestion.
And? What now?
Simple – we move on to the next problem. What actually constitutes a Romantic Date? This is a little tricky because we are all different and, as mentioned above, one man’s heaven is another man’s hell. So this cunningly leads back to the fact that we need to find out as much as possible about our prospective lover.
A rule of thumb states that one can generally guess a person’s interests by studying their character. An airy, fairy type of person might be equally enchanted by an invitation to visit an art gallery, a suggestion to amble through a sunlit forest, or to kick pebbles on a deserted, windy beach in winter time. A business man or woman might enjoy getting away from the city for a cosy evening meal in a nice country pub. An arty advertising executive would angle towards . . . who knows, a Flamenco extravaganza followed by a late night visit to a tapas bar, a walk along the South Bank, or an in-house discussion on the art of gentle persuasion? Someone who’s a great cook might become ecstatic at the idea of being taken to a recently-opened fusion restaurant. Lovers of theatre and cinema would jump for joy if you invite them to . . . yes, exactly, the theatre or the cinema! Lovers of Mozart, Beethoven or Brahms, would love to go to London’s Barbican or New York City’s Lincoln Center; hikers would love to be asked to go for a stroll through the countryside; mountaineers . . . well, difficult, unless you too are proficient at climbing something taller than a molehill.
Whoah – a lot of ideas, one or more of which might appeal to you and your date. After all, it is vitally important that this Romantic Date is something that you both enjoy . . . and something you both find romantic! So here are a few more ideas – stuff that can be done anytime, and more stuff that’s definitely better done in the summer.
For a first date, it can be very romantic to invite someone to a nice, cosy café – one that serves excellent coffee and maybe also has an enticing selection of naughty but delicious cakes. A coffee shop is usually relaxed and pretty informal, the sort of atmosphere that is perfect for that all important first date. And what about romance? Bring a rose or two and ask the waitress to put them in some sort of a vase and place it on the table. Caution: if you are in the Czech Republic, make sure you bring just one flower, or an uneven number of them. Even numbers signify death and disaster and should not be on the agenda, no way, no how, not never!
Next up is the restaurant. Yes, restaurant – not a fast food emporium! Unless you are a teenager, the burger bars and kebab take-outs can’t really be placed under the banner of romance. A romantic dinner speaks of candle-light, soft music, delicious food and great wine, linen tablecloths and napkins, and clean cutlery. Yep, we’re out to impress, and we don’t know of too many women who wouldn’t be happy to be invited to an out-of-the-way bistro for an evening of gracious guzzling.
Art galleries and photographic exhibitions. Hmm, sounds stuffy, tedious and boring? Ok, so forget it. But, if you’re the slightest bit interested in anything from the art world, a relaxed afternoon or evening spent strolling around a gallery can be extremely romantic. And if your date has never been to such a place, it’ll open her or his eyes to a different universe and give you both plenty to talk about. Again, if your date has never entered the hallowed portals of a museum or gallery, he or she might well think, ‘Wow, this is really different. What a great idea!’ And after you’ve successfully worn out all your legs, you can flake out in a café or bistro and let the conversation look after itself. Bring it on!
Animals? Fish? Yes, dogs and cats are one thing, two actually, but the larger type of creature, as well as the most microscopic insect, are all of interest to many people. Fish, too! So what we’re saying here is that a visit to a zoo or an aquarium could be something different and a perfect answer to the question of what to do. Yes, we realise it’s more than likely that you’ve both been to one of these places in the past, but not together. And if you both like animals as much as most people seem to, why not give it a try? The fishy stuff is also pretty spectacular, and in most aquariums there are some areas where the lighting is kept fairly low – an ideal situation for you to beam your best smile at your date’s reflection in the glass of the fish tank. And, who knows, he or she might return your smile. Yes, and the fish too! Planetariums are also excellent places for a romantic date. You get to sit in comfortable seats beneath the stars, listen to awe-inspiring music such as Also Sprach Zarathustra, and watch the greatest show the universe has to offer – all in the dark.
Cinemas and theatres, as mentioned above, are also dark, or darkish, places. And while a trip to the cinema is perhaps a bit of a cliché, it’s definitely worth suggesting because your date might be panting to go and see the latest film by . . . well, by whoever. Blockbuster or European-style art movie, it’s a great way to spend an evening with the added attraction, or not, of popcorn, glowing smartphones and rustling wrappers.
Summertime, when the living is easy:
- Picnics are great and picnics are fun. Picnics can be enjoyed anywhere and everywhere, even in the cramped interior of the car when the heavens suddenly open and the temperature drops about fifteen degrees. By their very nature, picnics are an outdoorsy type activity, so it’s pretty essential to make sure your date is okay with all the fresh air, the bugs and the beasts, and the sand in the sandwiches if you decide to romp on the beach.
- Water, water everywhere! How about a boat trip on a river? How about propelling a punt along the rivers of Oxford and Cambridge? Boats are brilliant and a bundle of fun, and if you can’t swim, make sure your prospective partner is a lifesaver, or wear a lifejacket. Alcohol, when mixed with boats and deep water, is probably not a very good idea, so leave the drinking bit until you reach dry land. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know, but there always seems to be a pub within easy reach of a boating area. Fresh air and splishy-splashy stuff, what could be more exhilarating? Your partner will love you forever, unless of course he or she happens to be agoraphobic.
- Bicycles are fun . . . and healthy – especially when you find a nice quiet track or lane in the country. If you discover that you both enjoy cycling, a non-energetic bicycle ride is a fun way of being romantic. The simple task of planning an interesting route will bring you together and add to the romance, especially if done with the aid of a little wine or a couple of beers. Remember to pack some cheese, a French baguette and a bottle of vino for a bit of the alfresco. And take the map! Smartphones, thankfully, don’t work everywhere!
- Gardens and garden centres. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but if your fingers are even slightly green, a visit to a beautiful garden attached to some stately pile will either make you green with envy or thankful that you don’t have the job of keeping the place all neat and tidy. Probably every public garden has a tea-room, restaurant or coffee shop attached, so when you’ve had enough of immaculate lawns and weed-free flower beds, there’ll be some sort of refreshment close at hand. Garden centres are perhaps the domain of older romantics, but are great places to shuffle round and practice your Latin pronunciation before retiring for tea and scones in an overheated glasshouse.
- Castles and ruined buildings leave much to the imagination, but they make really great places for a romantic encounter. And, the good news is that every country has them – they’re everywhere. Great Britain, Europe, Asia and South America are stuffed with ancient buildings of all kinds and all sizes. The USA, having been invented quite recently, doesn’t feature too many ancient castles but has a fair share of forts and stockades and several ancient ruins put together by indigenous American Indians. And if you don’t know much about history and who killed who, it doesn’t really matter, because these places are enclosed in magical surroundings that conjure up all the romance you could possibly require. No matter where you live, there will probably be a castle or an ancient heap of bricks within easy reach.
How about stuff outside the box?
- Venturing outside the safety zone is pretty individualistic, it’ll make you stand out from the rest, and, because the idea is yours and yours alone, there’ll be nobody else to blame if the whole thing goes tits up. But, on a positive note, your partner will respect you for being different. Yep, great idea, but make sure your prospective date is up for it. So, how far outside the envelope do we want to go? You might find a lengthy discussion about climate change absolutely fascinating, but the person you’re trying to woo might think quite differently. And what about attending an evening class on how to grow bonsai trees? How about sneaking into a dance class? And an evening of wine-tasting should appeal to most people and will certainly tell you whether your date’s taste buds function the same way as yours.
- Pub quizzes are excellent if you want to check out your partner’s intelligence. But be careful, because it might easily work the other way round. Of course, it means you’ll be stuck in a pub with a bunch of people all scratching their brains, but there’ll be alcohol and coffee and crisps and oodles of camaraderie. Perhaps this sort of event may not be particularly romantic, but you’ll have great fun and share lots of laughter, and afterwards there’ll be plenty to talk about.