As a twenty-something man in a committed relationship, more often than not I’ll find myself having nuanced discussions centered on dating (and date ideas) with fellow twenty-something men. Speaking to these guys, you would think that the quintessential Millennial couple has a notebook with at most, a paltry one or two dozen different ideas for an interesting, entertaining, and – most importantly – romantic evening with their significant other, rather than always doing the same things together.
You two have your bi-weekly dinner at a classy restaurant that just so happens to correlate directly with your bi-weekly paycheck. You have your metropolitan club crawl that always makes for an eventful, if not exactly groundbreaking, night out with your other half. Then, of course, you have the cord-cutters who can pull a wonderful evening out of thin air using only a couch to sit on and a Netflix account.
Variety, however, is not only the spice of life — it’s the very stuff that makes it worth living. Why is it that we often forget to incorporate some much-needed variety into our relationships? Variety is an extremely effective aphrodisiac and – single or not – a great way to break up the monotonous periods of your existence and remember how much fun you two have together! In no particular order, here are some good places to start if you feel like opening up your options and going on some unorthodox but awesome dates:
1. Escape Room
We saw this work for Kaitlyn and Ben Z. during this week’s episode of The Bachelorette and we know it’s an awesome idea for a date. Many of us have played a similar game on our computer, in which the goal is to escape a virtual room with nothing but your wits. As fun as it may have been, you probably weren’t rushing to call your significant other to have an exciting, romantic evening hunched over your laptop, trying to figure out how to escape.
The good news is, this crazy situation can now be a physical reality: some twisted, brilliant entrepreneurs have created something called the Real Life Escape Room. You and your loved one can willingly place yourself in a room with a theme of your choice (prison seems to be a popular one), where the only way to solve the puzzle is to observe and think your way out. You’ll bond over this unusual date: you’ll be terrified, you’ll have to use your wits, and it will be a very memorable experience.Worth noting is that you will often be placed with, at minimum, two others with the same booking time as you — perfect for an unforgettable double date.
Don’t roll your eyes quite yet. Tech-savvy millennials might see libraries and brick-and-mortar books as going out the same one-way door as Blockbuster, but if you’re hooking up with a fellow bookworm, you’ll never run out of topics to discuss (and, by extension, ways of getting to know one another). The more tech-savvy you are, the more reason to hit the library, too. It’s a whole new (er, old) world you just might enjoy discovering.
Not only are there plenty of secret make-out spots between the stacks of books, but several of the cream-of-the-crop libraries are also extremely beautiful to be in. The library date is both romantic and different, yet inexpensive and low-key. There aren’t just old books to read together either: movies, graphic novels, and music of all genres can be borrowed for much longer than you need them for, so you definitely shouldn’t leave empty-handed. World famous anthropomorphic aardvark Arthur Read said it best; “having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card”.
3. The Arcade
For those of you who have spent the vast majority of your conscious existence post-millennium, an arcade is where people in an ancient era called the 1990s went to spend their loose change engaging in fun activities such as shooting aliens with plastic guns, riding on plastic motorcycles in front of big screens, and controlling Italian plumbers as they leap on the heads of unsuspecting turtles – all with a plastic joystick.
Whether you’re kicking each other’s ass in Street Fighter or going Rambo on zombies in House of the Dead, couples born of the generation who grew up with the earliest video games will have a nostalgia-gasm (which, ideally, will put you in the mood for the best kind of ‘gasm). Though video arcades have slowly been on the decline for over a decade now, they’re a lot more fun than video game rentals – and a lot more ideal for a night out for two. If there’s a major city where an arcade is completely unavailable, I can’t name it. Last but not least, winning arcade games often results in one of you earning enough points to win a cute take-home gift for the other.
4. Anger Room
If you’re a contributing member to society, I’m going to go out on a limb and say you’ve probably had more than one day where you just feel like turning green, ripping your shirt off, and bringing out your inner bull-in-a-china-shop. If you and your significant other come to the conclusion that you’ve both had an extraordinarily shitty day, consider investing your well deserved free time into grabbing a baseball bat and bonding over some constructive destruction.
First established around 2008 in Texas, the Anger Room has gone worldwide, with locations in countless cities; residents of Dallas, Vancouver, Toronto, as well as cities in Germany, Serbia, and East Asia are among the many who may channel their inner Hulk for 5 – 25 minutes. You guessed correctly: seeing your partner get angry in a situation like this, is kind of a turn on.
5. Swingers Party
Despite what you may gather from the name, this isn’t referring to a collective of playground swingset enthusiasts. Some would argue, though, that these swingers have more fun. To give those who have never been to a porn site the executive summary, a swingers party is a gathering in which people in relationships go to have sex with people other than their significant other. As you can imagine, this is some sketchy territory to charter; only the most secure and mature couples need apply. Also a rather excellent, if not widely accepted, idea for a double date. This is one unorthodox date that both parties would certainly have to agree on.