The formula goes like this: you get asked "out"; you get dressed up - so does he; neither of you acts normal for the rest of the evening and the date is such a distraction that you can't enjoy the play, symphony, movie, etc.
You both spend the entire evening acting out a scene that - if it were in a movie or a television show - is so 'formulaic' you would never watch in real life.
I much prefer to have dates that fall outside that formula.
Best dates ever - "hey, there's this volunteer thing going on...
" Or, "I've got this thing I've got to go to for work...
" My personal best date ever was, "Hey, I've got to drive to Nashville to pick up a regulator for my SCUBA tank, want to come?" What I loved about these dates was that I was asked out on them because the person just really enjoyed my company and felt that if I were with them, whatever they were doing would be more fun.
These kinds of dates can be disastrous, so be careful about saying, "yes.
" Ideally, this should be with someone that you also feel makes any task more enjoyable.
These are great "turn a friend into something else" opportunities.
But, there is nothing more romantic than being out at some event - like a volunteer opportunity - and having the guy who's interested in you getting you coffee, checking in how you're doing, etc.
If they make it obvious that the two of you are there "together" it's a fantastic feeling, much more romantic than flowers and candy and a trip to an Opera you didn't have any interest in any way.
One of the best things about these kinds of dates is that both of you have something else to do with yourselves.
You have time to be together and enjoy that before all the pressure of "tell me about yourself.
" And, if the date goes well, you can always take a well-needed stop at a coffee shop afterward to learn about each other.
These after-event debriefing coffees can also help you cut through the patter that can sound the same after dating many different people.
You will have both just had a shared experience.
Talking through it - what you each found funny or irritating or inspiring - will give you some idea about whether or not you share a similar view onto the world.
It is also really helpful to pass this preference along to friends who try to set you up.
It acts as a pre-screener.
If you like environmental organizations and the "set up" date won't meet you at an Earth Day volunteer booth you may already have all the information you needed without having to suffer through a date.
And, in the end, I like having memories that did not come out of a greeting card or a jewelry add.
I am me, and I want my love life to be unique - not a cookie-cutter version of what everyone else thinks the dating formula should add up to.