Summer dating allows us to spend a lot of time outside. But cooler weather’s on its way, so it’s time to think about moving back indoors. Here are some fun ideas for interesting indoor dates that don’t involve loud clubs or packed bars; just sweet strategies for bringing you two closer.
Try an active date
1. Take a cue from Dancing with the Stars and try a dance-class date. “Frequently, dance studios or community centers will have evening classes where you can learn one or two dances, such as the salsa or waltz, and then you dance the night away,” notes Betty Crockford of Mountain View, CA. “Not that you need an excuse to hold each other close, but It’s definitely an added benefit.”
2. En garde! Dan Collins, coauthor of “Single In The City” (an advice column in The Baltimore Examiner), suggests taking a fencing lesson together. A competitive fencer for 21 years, Collins, local fencing club hosts an open night for swashbucklers of all ability levels, and you can drill together under a coach’s supervision. (P.S.: You don’t use sharp swords!) “You can learn a lot about a person by seeing how he or she handles a blade, as fencing takes not just merely good physical skills but brain power”, Collins says.
3. Want to be a little more practical? Sharon Naylor, author of The Bridesmaid Handbook, advocates combining your date with your workout. “A try my workout” date gets you moving together and sharing each other’s favorite fitness or yoga routine,” she explains. “Your date may discover that yoga is actually way more challenging than expected, and then you have an activity to share together in the future. And you or your partner may love being “the trainer” it’s a chance to show off your smarts and form without the kind of barking or tough talk that some trainers use. But she cautions, “This isn’t boot camp. It’s just a fun evening of introducing your partner to your favorite workout. You might even create a plan to work out together in the evenings more often, which guarantees more face time and getting-to-know-you time. Just make sure you don’t get too competitive, or that might kill the mojo.”
Play mind games (the good kind!)
4. Donna Lynn of Seattle knows plenty about indoor dates as a life-long resident of that rainy Emerald City. “After I’ve been dating someone a bit, I suggest we take a short evening or weekend class at the U,” she says. “We identify a common interest and then find a class like Native American cultures or Literature of the Old West. It guarantees we’ll have time together during the week, and we usually get dinner or dessert after class. And even if the relationship goes south, you’ll have some learning to show for it.
5. Work that library card. “One of the most romantic things ever, at least to me, is reading to each other,” admits Sarah Smithson of Boston. “It can be the current best seller, poetry, a playanything. It’s just a nice, quiet way to spend some time together. This is a great reason to snuggle on the couch or elsewhere.”
6. Why pay big bucks for artisanal beer when you can make your own? “Making beer is a great activity for a date,” notes Alan Ketner of Buffalo. “There’s cooking, chemistry, and the excuse to see each other a few times before the brew is done,” he notes. “Then you can have a private tasting when it’s time to open the bottles and sample the fruits of your labor. Bad batch? At least you’ll have a fun story to tell.”
Go back to the future
7. Still getting to know each other? Hit the rewind button. Naylor suggests an evening of exploring each other’s childhoods. “Pull out the old family photo albums and videos so that you can both share pictures and footage of yourselves as children, bad haircuts included,” she says. “The best dates are ones in which you laugh and learn more about each other, so this date allows you to share the stories and photos of your favorite kiddie Halloween costumes, family vacations, you in your dancing school ballerina outfit, that baby photo of you in the bathtub and more. At least you’ll both be embarrassed.”
8. Revisit old favorites. “One of my favorite dates is “retro TV night”, divulges David Masterson of New Rochelle, NY. “We rent DVDs of our favorite childhood TV shows I like to get the old Dean Martin variety shows, buy some candy and step back in time. If the shows aren’t as great as we remember them, there’s always that handy fast-forward or eject button!” You could do the same with your favorite childhood movies, too.
Try one of these ideas the next time the weather is chilly, and you’re guaranteed to create stronger connections, and maybe get some sparks flying.
Margot Carmichael Lester is the coauthor of Be A Writer and Be A Better Writer. She lives in Carrboro, NC.