Not your average Date Night.

As a relatively low-key 20-Something female, I don’t have a ton of experience in planning fun dates. That being said, my close friends would tell you that even though I’m not much of a dater, I’ve been on some doozies that even they can remember in detail. Not because they were great dates, but because they were so bad they became comedic gold. So while I will include some date night ideas at the end of this post, I decided to take a different spin on your run-of-the-mill “date night” blog. I’m going to get down to the fundamentals of a good date, while reliving a date I will never forget.
1: The 1st step of a successful date night is to have a plan, and communicate the necessary details. I know there are going to be some ladies out there who are reading this and thinking, “oh but I love surprises.” No you don’t…not completely at least. 
A couple of years ago this gentleman I had been on a couple of dates with sent me a text a couple of hours before he was going to pick me up that read:   
   “wear comfortable shoes tonight”
That was it. Literally. I even tried to ask some follow-up questions. Nope, nothing. Now, if you are anything like me then you know I spent the next few hours trying to decipher what “comfortable shoes” are, and what clothes go with them. I made the assumption that comfy shoes meant a casual outfit, so I laced up my favorite pair of combat boots, threw on some denim, and called it a day. Imagine my surprise (and horror) when I opened the door to a man in a dress coat, ready to hit the town. Talk about starting the date off on the wrong foot…and in the wrong shoe.  
2: Step 2 is an easy one…if you are going out to dinner, make a dang reservation. I don’t care if you are hitting up the local Taco Bell on a Tuesday night. Call ahead of time and get them to hold you a booth. 
Wildly underdressed and all, I was determined to make the best of my night. I mean this guy was kind, handsome, and 6’6! After a few transportation related bumps in the road and a looooong walk in the 45 degree weather, we arrived at the restaurant. I was freezing, hangry, and could not wait to devour a piece of gourmet pizza. Unfortunately, we were reservation-less and not the only hungry people in town. After an hour and a half of table-lurking and awkward silence, we snagged a couple of seats at the bar and ordered our dinner. 
3: Step 3 is big and requires the planner to use their judgment. Know when to call an audible. Sometimes even the best laid plans don’t work out, and that’s okay…just make sure you always have a plan B.
Even though my mood was slightly brighter after being fed, all I really wanted was to go home. I mentioned there were some transportation issues on the way to the restaurant, that’s because we took a local train downtown instead of driving. On the way to dinner, the train ran every couple of minutes and was a pretty effective way of getting close-ish to where we were heading. The way home however, was a different story. The train only ran every 30 minutes and we had to switch trains twice. This would have been a great place to call an audible, stay out of the cold, and take a cab back. Unfortunately, there was no plan B. Needless to say, 2 hours later when the train got to my stop, my combat boots and I dang near ran back to my apartment. 
I wish I could say this is one of those sweet stories where the terrible date turns into a lovely and lasting relationship, but it isn’t. It was just a date with a well-intended man that will be forever engrained in my memory for all the wrong reasons. Don’t let that be you. Remember the fundamentals and plan a fun date that your love will remember for all the right reasons.
As promised, here are some ideas for your next date night:
  • Grab dinner from your favorite restaurant and have a picnic at the local park/lake/backyard/living room floor (check the weather first J

  • Cozy up at a drive-in movie. Load up the car with pillows, blankets, and your favorite snacks and watch a movie! 
  • Take a hike. Literally, go hike somewhere…even Central Illinois has places that make this a possibility.

  • Go for a drive. Some of my favorite times with the people I love are spent sitting in the car asking each other questions and just being with each other. 
  • Channel your inner kiddo and go roller-skating 
  • Take a cooking lesson – a little spin on the classic “dinner date”

  • Game day! Bust out all the classic board games from your childhood…make it a competition – loser buys dinner 
  • Cross some feasible things off your bucket list
  • Movie marathon – spend the day in your sweats binge watching all of your favorite movies (Harry Potter anyone??)
  • Explore the town you’re in. No matter where you live, there’s always an adventure to be had.

-Rachel Lovejoy

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