10 (Awesome) Sober Date Ideasby Anna David on August 23, 2012
Think you need booze to have a sexy time? Take it from someone who hasn’t had anything to drink in nearly 12 years: drinking does not a great date make. Here are 10 great dates I’ve been on over the years where no alcohol was involved:
The Local Fair:
I went to one in Orange County but just pick your closest county and get out there on that Ferris Wheel. There was something about embracing an activity that I hadn’t experienced since I was a kid that made the whole date feel like some sort of adolescent wish fulfillment. Plus, you really haven’t bonded until you’ve shared a fried Twinkie.
Consider the advantages here: you need to be alone and it helps if you’re somewhere quiet. Think your place or his (or, if you’re just getting to know him, a café or club, like Fat Cat in New York, that allows you to play in public). It’s also intimate time that’s informative: I mean, if he spells cat with a k instead of a c, wouldn’t you rather learn that up front?
Now I should probably confess that working with people I like is one of my favorite activities on earth. And I don’t mean actually collaborating with them, mind you: I’m talking about sitting down at a coffee shop or a restaurant, ordering food and then getting some of my work done while the other person polishes off some of theirs. And yes, I’ve done that on delightful dates—not a first date, mind you, but even early on, spending time together without feeling any pressure to make conversation or be your most charming self can be surprisingly intimate.
Look, you’re only going to bowl worse if you’re tipsy and there’s something decidedly wholesome about rolling strikes and spares while sipping sodas and sharing fries. A recent bowling date I went on ended with us making a video of us singing a karaoke song out of a karaoke song booth (bowling alleys have gotten pretty advanced these days, apparently). Which leads me to…
Convinced karaoke’s better while you’re under the influence? Why then you clearly weren’t around during those years that I would, absolutely wasted, belt Alanis, Fiona Apple and millions of other women’s songs that weren’t remotely in my range. And when you do karaoke stone cold sober, you may notice what I did: that it’s an actual stress reliever. Also, you’re not going to butcher your duet.
It’s a cliché, right? If you don’t drink, what else can you do on a date besides eat? Why, you can drink coffee! Well, I’m here to tell you that when I recently sat outside near Madison Square Park with a gentleman on a gloriously warm summer night, sipping iced teas and talking about our lives, it put the overly complicated, stuffy dates I’ve been on to shame.
Despite the fact that I’m still not good enough at the sport to play an actual match and not lose horrifically, I can’t tell you how many delightful tennis dates I’ve had. Getting your endorphins going, being able to see your partner run all over the court (assuming your aim is as bad as, well, mine) and then sharing a cool drink or meal afterwards is a sure way to guarantee that everyone wins.
I’ve been on dates that were meditation classes and cooking classes while friends of mine have learned to paint, make pottery and dance salsa. It doesn’t really matter what it is: just the fact that you’re united in a common goal, doing something creative, sets you up to both have a good time and feel closer at the end of the experience. And even if you don’t like each other, you still come away with something.
Get out that red-checkered tablecloth and pack your basket because there are few activities as delightful as spreading out and sharing a spread. I recently went on an evening picnic at the LACMA where they offer jazz on the lawn outside on Friday nights while keeping the museum open late, but you can have a picnic any damn where you please. The West Side Highway and Central Park offer an array of opportunities in Manhattan.
A City Tour:
When I lived in New York, I went on a date that included a tour of Chelsea Marketplace, which means that I not only received a slew of information that I was able to use on future dates but also that I got to sample Fat Witch Bakery brownies and Jacques Torres chocolates. Talk about a sweet time.