On the thousands (OK, hundreds) of Match.com meet-ups I had during my dating days, it was the rare man who suggested we get together to do something other than have drinks. While there’s something simple about that first-date go-to, I took special notice the time the stuffy-seeming contract attorney suggested we spend one of the last warm fall days of the year on a hike outside of the city. And even though the motivational speaker who promoted himself for two hours before he asked one single question about me was not someone I ever wanted to see again, I did enjoy walking along the beach with a delicious milkshake while he blathered on and on. A long time later, I loved that my first in-person meeting with the Not Boyfriend was to view a museum exhibit he’d been dying to show me.
Dates for drinks are easy, yes. But maybe first dates shouldn’t always go straight to the comfort zone. Don’t be lured into believing you need the warm, slow buzz of booze to get over the first-date jitters. Or that the pub she picks or the cocktail he orders will give you necessary clues about what kind of person is sitting on the bar stool next to you.
Getting just creative enough — no need to decorate mugs with puffy paints or take a helicopter to Aspen “Millionaire Matchmaker”-style — could carve a more meaningful opening for conversation and sharing and revelation than a couple hours of clinking glasses. It might also show you, like the motivational speaker did with flair, that it is not a good match at all.
Whether you choose not to imbibe, have said farewell to drinking altogether, or just want to spend some alcohol-free time together, here are some great ways to get to know your date. Worry not, none of them are bowling.
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