I have a total bone to pick with these asinine “women’s publications” that plague our bookstands and drugstore racks these days. I won’t even get into the ridiculous sex advice they give, for the wound is still too painful.
Some of the most offensive myths they like to propagate are on the subject of dating. You young lovebirds want to be creative, so you turn to Cosmo for ideas on where to spend time with your lover. You’ve seen those lists, haven’t you? The ones that attempt to offer advice to lovelorn couples who are tired of the same old “dinner and a movie” dates. But these magazines seem to be under the impression that you shit gold dubloons. “Go to a Bon Iver concert together.” “Visit the MOMA.” “Take salsa lessons together.” These are all great activities to do together, but not all of us have fifty bucks to drop on a date every weekend, not counting dinner.
And if the suggestions aren’t unreasonably priced, they try to appeal to our “inner child,” an even more disastrous turn of course. “Go to a playground and shove an infant off the swings so you can embrace your inner child!” they squeal insipidly. “Suggest the two of you build a fort in the living room! He will completely understand that your inner child is slightly on the slow side!” they cry with feigned enthusiasm. “See if your inner child can tell what flavor Popsicle he’s rimming you with!” Sadly, we are no longer twelve, and we require slightly more sophistication from our dates while still keeping them fun and lighthearted.
The following are things I have actually done with significant others/dates that have not ended in tears or disappointment or him closing the garage door on top of my head while I was standing there. (Not that that’s happened to me or anything.) These are tried and true. I wouldn’t lead you astray, my lady friends. Nor am I a dating expert; far from it. But here are just a few ideas to inspire you to dating greatness, and to reassure you that Shutterstock is still full of white people.
1) I know it sounds weird, but billiards is the less exposed version of minigolf and the more intimate version of bowling. You can go pretty much any time of day or night, and they usually charge you by the hour, and it’s dead cheap. You walk in, hand the creepy attendant a wad of cash from your bra, and play the night away. And here’s the best part: There is a 99.999% chance that your date also sucks at billiards. You don’t have to feel bad about anyone becoming overly competitive and breaking a pool cue over the other person’s head. Although this is a good thing to keep in mind as an escape route, should it surface that he has a tattoo of Patty Lupone’s face on his chest.
2) If either of you has a dog, you’re all set for a sweet free date! Just pack the poor animal into the car, drag it to the nearest park, and have a romp. If things get awkward, you have a captive third wheel with you to divert your attention! Plus, you’ll be able to gauge his or her opinion on animals. Now, this can be difficult if there is inclement weather, or in the situation where neither of you actually has a dog or the means of stealing one. In that case, head to the pet shop in your nearest mall and pretend to be interested in dropping a grand on an untrained shit machine. That way, you can play with all the puppies you want, free of charge and obligation!
3) If you don’t have the money to take your date out somewhere impressive, showing them your culinary prowess can be much more alluring than slinking through the drive-thru at Hardee’s. If you don’t know what they are into, food wise, don’t go too crazy and make some sort of goat curry you saw in your African Cultures textbook. A nice risotto is usually safe. But if they are a little bit adventurous, “the experimentation can be half the fun.” (-Henry Humperdinck, inventor of the Dirty Sanchez, 1913 – 1987.) OH MY GOD GUYS, I just thought of a great idea: Go to the supermarket and split up. Each pick out two ingredients. Then meet back up, and you have to make a dish that incorporates all of them! I really should work for Top Chef.
4) Attending a sporting event together can be a hoot, especially if you’re 87 and use phrases like “a hoot”. I’m not talking about a MLB game, although if you’ve got the cash, it’s a premium way to spend time. Think way more ghetto than that. Local intramural teams. College football. Probably not Little League, though. Getting put on the sex offender registry is no one’s idea of a good end to a date, except maybe R. Kelly. My personal favorite is roller derby. Those games get exciting as fuck, and aren’t at all expensive to attend. Buy an oversized Diet Coke and pick out the player with the cutest butt so you’ll have something to look at if the date gets boring.
5) Not all thrift stores are foul pits of disease and infection. Many of them are quite clean and nice. (And if not, hey, you’re wearing underwear today, right? You’ll be fine.) And buying things is not at all the point, although if you do fall into that trap you’ll spend ten bucks, maximum. Trying things on is really the point. And if a man doesn’t look good simultaneously sporting a nipple-baring shirt, crotch-defining pants and lopsided lab glasses, well then maybe you need to adjust your taste in men, is all I’m saying.