Good datenights are fun and awkward, and thereby twice as fun. They work wonders for building, stabilizing, or saving relationships from impending doom, but finding a good idea can seem daunting.
That is why today, I want to list some actionable tips for having great datenights, and fun ideas that go beyond the cookie-cutter “we should have coffee sometime”. The caveat is that they might not be to everyone’s liking, so definitely ask ahead and see if that idea sounds fun.
Recreate your worst date, just better
I guess we have all been through pretty horrible first dates, and our very first date was likely not even the worst. For me the worst dates were either those that “could have been”(tm) or those that made me realize I was more into my idea of this person that who she was in real life. Or maybe dates that went really well, until either side messed them up.
This alone gives quite a bit of potential to recreate those days, just better. Laugh about how you messed them up, then steer the conversation into a direction that allows you to react better, worse, different.
Recreate your best date, just worse
This may be even more fun than the first one. You get to tell each other about moments in your life that are still stuck in your mind, and probably moments when everything hung by a thread and could have gone either way. So maybe, just play through that option, and grin as you imagine how much worse that date could have gone. Do the right thing at the wrong time, the wrong thing at the right time, and have giggling fun all the way down to the bottom.
Obviously to be taken with a fair amount of common sense, this can be one of the most exiting evenings you have spent in recent memory. Whether it’s skinnydipping in your neighbour’s garden pool, spending a warm summer night in your friend’s garden hammock when they aren’t home, or climbing the top of that wooden tower by the lake that is closed at night - there’s probably someplace you shouldn’t be, but could be.
Spend a no-picture night at a scenic location
We live in times where you have seen the things you are about to do a dozen times over, by a guy with a fancier camera or someone with a worse camera and much higher skills.
So many people live through the lenses of their phones and cameras and never get to truly appreciate the world around them. Pictures do not capture memories, and my favorite moments in life are those that I can’t even share with anyone who wasn’t there.
Roleplay the people you like least and make them fall in love
That person you are thinking of right now, the one who makes you cringe and shiver and whose voice in your head sounds like nails on a chalkboard. Your partner has someone like that as well, I can guarantee you.
Ask each other about their “qualities” and defining elements, and then spend the rest of the day acting as each other’s nemesis. The good thing is, since you both like each other, chances are high that your nemesis’ share a couple traits that would make them get along. This is a recipe for disaster, and giggling fun that makes you neck hair stand up in both a good and bad way.
Go on a Ghetto Safari in an upscale neighbourhood
People watching is fun, anytime it doesn’t make you an arrogant or otherwise horrible person. I never understood the fun in those types of vacations that are basically “poor people watching”, that is just an obscenely priviliged-brat-thing to do.
“Rich people watching”, on the other hand? STUPIDLY fun! We have a district in the city I grew up in that fills your head with limitless joy as people who live there fulfill every rich people cliche you could dream of. Walking down one street I once saw a woman with a handbag-dog who had a haircut and a little vest (the dog, not the woman), heard two suits discussing art gallery investments, and one minute later a guy on the phone looked at me and my friend and changed to the other side of the road. Mind you, we just came from work and were dressed in perfectly acceptable clothes, minding our own business.
That.was.fun. My friend and I are still quoting that art gallery conversation.
Get one of these children’s chemistry toy sets and realize how boring your childhood was
You know those times when you look at two people and think “they really have no chemistry with each other”?
Well, don’t be like that, and buy that toy chemistry set that makes blue foam or red crystals, and then wonder how on earth you could ask for one of those things for Christmas back in the day.
Bonus points for putting on an episode of Breaking Bad, trying really hard to follow the recipe, then inevitably end up on the couch together to watch three more episodes and fall asleep quoting “Science, Bitch” and other such memorable moments.
Start a fight, break up, then be each other’s caring friend
There is something special about a) having someone who cares for you and listens to you after a breakup and b) being that person. Both are special moments, moments that can be so sweet and caring and at the same time mess with your head because they require life-altering drama to happen. If you have ever held someone as they cried their way to sleep you’ll know about the hundred conflicting feelings that go through your mind, and probably theirs, and it’s just something that you won’t forget for a long time after.
So if you feel like your relationship is one of trust and mutual care, then this may just be the ticket to a truly memorable datenight. Bonus points for including the phrases “you’re being unreasonable”, “I’m so sick of this shit” and later “he’s such an asshole for even thinking that, much less saying it out loud”.
Do the thing you never could as a kid
I never had those shoes that light up when you step on them, and I always wanted to go to a drive-in cinema, which I managed for the first time when they sprung up again during the quarantine. I’m sure you have things like that, that you couldn’t afford, didn’t have the friends to do them with, or lived too far away from to cycle there.
Time to fix that hole in your life.
Recreate your favorite movie romance
I guess we all have our favorite movie romance, and probably enough of them to find it hard to decide. It may be a tad expensive to get an Arwyn costume, but personally I always thought that Aragon could have done much better than that bland chick when he had a king’s daughter with fire in her eyes to ride and ride with.
Personally though, my all-time favorite movie romance will always be the one from the movie Drive, because it is both romantic and so, I don’t know, innocent maybe. It is a violent movie, and the romance is sweet and caring, careful and tasteful. Just maybe cut to the end credits right after the kiss in the elevator, things go downhill from there.
Try not to talk for as long as possible
We as humans have forgotten how to deal with silence, noise is everywhere. Imagine, then, how much fun it could be to just enjoy the noisy world around you, without adding to it.
We live in times when you can order food at touchscreen menus in fastfood restaurants, and you can shrug and point your way through left and right turns until you get there. You can salute the waiter who brings that food to your table, and you can eat in silence and remain so on your way back to the car. Take turns directing each other to weird and off-beat locations, shrugging each time to signal you have no clue how you ended up here either.
Laughing is permissible, and probably inevitable. Loser pays the dinner.
Take each other’s phones and text with friends as each other
Among the things listed so far, this one just might require the largest amount of trust between a couple. Sit on the couch together, and pick someone to text with, without ever telling them that it’s you and not the one they think they are texting with.
Be a little respectful, a good bit of embarrassing, and laugh whole-heartedly as they become increasingly confused with that unexpectedly weird conversation.
Spend an analog, retro datenight
I don’t know about you, but I have a split personality and love-hate-relationship with technology. I swear by Google Maps to get me to the place I want to go, the camera in my phone, and at the same time I miss the days of my childhood that were stunningly different to today’s world.
I’m one of those nineties’ kids who can derail into nostalgia-induced rants and momentary drunk depressions the moment you show them pictures of the times when life was still good. It doesn’t matter that literally everything is better, faster, easier today, I still feel like the world has drastically declined since the days when I cycled to the local library and stood in line to borrow the books for my homework assignments.
I was too young to date back then, but that doesn’t mean I can’t relive that time I never experienced! One of the most fun date nights I ever spent was when a friend and I decided this was both a stupid and a stupidly fun idea and we bought cassette players, spent a week getting our favorite period-appropriate songs on there, and those flimsy headphones with the thin metal headpieces.
We then sat on a bench, put on each other’s headphones and listened to songs we had somehow forgotten about, never understood the meaning of, and reminisced about the fun road trips in our parents’ cars or whatever memory we connected with that song. It was a blast.
Go through this list together and laugh about all the weirdness that could ensue
Saving the best for last, this list could save as a datenight on its own. Be it on the couch, at a restaurant waiting for your meal to arrive, or on one of those parties you always knew you wouldn’t enjoy.
And if you feel like you need a bit of extra adrenaline, then just send this list to your boss’s wife and ask her to pick one.