The Activity Date

16 Jan

Some daters, especially seasoned ones, will try to spice up the dating process. I mean, how many times can you eat out before the bulge goes from your wallet to your stomach? I’m guessing you’d rather not know. Dating should be fun! If you’re going to spend a couple of hours with a complete stranger, you might as well do something you’ve always wanted do to but haven’t been able to find anyone to do it with – like ride the merry-go-round in Central Park or have a Ping Pong faceoff at Fat Cat. Those are indeed fun embarkments, but if you are going to choose an activity for a first date, you better make sure you are in fact fun. The reason most people prefer the first two sefiros is because generally, people are reserved when meeting someone new. You do not have to display a fun, creative or spontaneous disposition over coffee and a croissant. There is little risk in dining and schmoozing, yet when you’re off to great places (you’re off and away), then you’re inviting Murphy’s Law in ways you might not be capable of anticipating. So if you’re daring, adventurous and undaunted by the unexpected then go for it but I would suggest staying away from the following activities:

1) Bowling: There is one reason I don’t like bowling – no one lets me play with bumpers. But the reason I think a lot of people don’t like bowling as a date is because it involves turning your back toward your date when you’d rather them get used to looking you in the face. This can make girls very uncomfortable, especially if she can’t bowl. It’s a cute date idea in the movies where the guy can help her learn what form to use, but honestly, in real life, it’s the kind of first date most people just want to be OVER.

2) Biking: All I’m asking you is what will you do if the girl’s skirt gets caught in the chain and must be cut out? I’ve never heard of such a thing happening but I sure as heck wouldn’t want to find out…would you?

3) Build-a-Bear: For a first date? Really? Let’s say it doesn’t work out – who gets custody of the bear? I think it’s an ugly situation that can be easily avoided.

There are some activity dates are ehhhh, kacha kacha. Some people will enjoy them, other wills not. Again, there is risk involved, but for you it might be worth it.

1) Mini Golf: It’s definitely less strenuous than biking, but you might come into the same back issues as with bowling. It really depends on the person. I would suggest going to a place like Bogota where there are other options besides mini golf (their basketball hoops are actually a ton of fun), so if it’s getting uncomfortable or boring then there is something else to do without having to pull an emergency activity out of your back pocket.

2) Gaming: Going to a place like Dave and Buster’s  seems to be the cat’s meow these days, but I wouldn’t necessarily go rushing there for a first (or second) date. Air hockey and ski ball are a great way to nurture already existing bonds, but being that most people barely know their dates at first, there really isn’t all that much to nurture. The atmosphere of a game place is usually loud aka the perfect way to force your date to smile and nod rather than ask you what you said for the third time. If you already know each other and have a set comfort level than I wouldn’t discourage it, but in most cases I’d say stay away from anywhere loud.

3) Ice Skating: Ice skating is fun! It’s relaxing, it’s scenic and doesn’t involve much thinking. All you have to do is go around and around in circles til they pull out the Zamboni, and as long as the conversation is good, you’re good! The only risk you run is losing your balance and deciding whether it is less embarrassing to fall on your face or your bottom. Then your date must decide if s/he is supposed to help you up or if it’s better to leave you there for a short while and find someone of the same gender to do it. Hopefully you can just get up yourself, which would deflate your date’s embarrassment, but how about yours? There are many possible outcomes of such an event ranging from, “that was a one-and-done” to “and that was the moment I knew that I was going to marry you.”

 When it comes to first dates, and even second and third dates, you want things to be as relaxed as possible. Fun is not yet a priority. Fun is something you can have with your friends/with people you know and who know you. The shidduch pool is composed of lots of individuals, each one with a different comfort level around new people. Some people take more time to warm up, some people less, but the one planning the date (hey guys) must anticipate either kind of person. So if you’re more in the mood for laser tag than getting to know someone new, call up a few of your friends and shoot the night away, but for a date, keep it simple.

However some Coral Cap favorites are:

1) Grocery Shopping: I’ve never been food shopping on a date, but I imagine it being very fun. Walking down the aisles has a very calming aspect to it. Food brings out the best in people, especially when there is a lot of variety. You’ll learn all sorts of interesting fun facts about your date, like what their favorite foods are to what they don’t like and why (my grandma made me eat rice pudding every time I went to her house and now I can’t even look at the stuff!). suggests going to Whole Foods. It actually sounds like a really fun idea. Check it out.

2) Ceramics/ Pottery: Going to a crafts place has all the security of a sit-down eatery without the eating. You have space to sit and schmooze, a normal noise level and a chillaxed atmosphere. Deciding what to make can be a whole adventure in itself — you can paint anything from napkins holders to a family of Ninja Turtles!

3) The Staten Island Ferry. Have I ever mentioned this one before? It has good views, a good atmosphere and it’s FREE!

NOTE: I used New York City examples, but you can find the equilvilent of each in your area by going to


5 Responses to “The Activity Date”

  1. PNN January 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Great post! Cermaics/Pottery can be fun, but it also can result in vicious custody battles. I currently have yearly visitation rights on a ceramic penguin, a small ceramic pig with red and yellow checkered pants, and a misshapen salad bowl. It’s an ugly situation, and sometimes I wish I’d just gone to coffee.

    One other suggestion for people in NY: The Roosevelt Island Tram has just reopened. Surprisingly, very few people know about it, and it’s a great ride with a pretty cool view across the East River. Roosevelt Island is also fun to explore, whether you’re the type who prefers walking along the shore watching people fish, or more the type who wants to explore the ruins of the old smallpox hospital. There’s something for everyone. 🙂

    Revamp the Shidduch System (RSS) #1 – Shabbos Table Shidduchim

  2. AM Inspiration January 16, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    Agreed with the no fuss date. The ice skating is fun in potential but can be disastrous in reality. Boating also..what happens when you fall in?

    The ceramics is fun but most guys feel like its not manly enough…also what happens when it does not work out? Do you keep it?Throw it out? Give it away?

    • Coral Cap January 16, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

      PNN: Sorry to hear about all the custody issues. I’m sure it’s pretty hard on the pig, penguin and salad bowl as well. I’ve always wanted to go on the RI tram. I’ve always wondered what’s in that nook of the city. Great suggestion!

      AM Inspiration: Oh man, I don’t want to know what happens if you fall in. I’ve heard of people going boating for a date, and actually, canoeing can be a great way to spend a few hours with someone, but as with all activity dates there’s risk involved.

      Ceramics not manly? Says who? I feel like guys specifically choose ceramics to prove that they are solid in their manliness and painting a checkered pant pig won’t change that. The custody issues are different in each situation and everyone has their own approach. Your guess is as good as mine.

  3. Chaim January 21, 2011 at 1:50 am #

    Bowling is not a good idea because people don’t have much time to actually talk with each other. When one bowls the other just sits there. Then the other one bowls and the first one just sits there. I tried mini golf on a date once, because at least with that there is a lot of walking around, and the activity can lead to some talking time.

  4. SoG January 26, 2011 at 2:19 am #

    I’m a big fan of having a picnic in central park, going for a walk, or better yet – go rowing on the lake. The guy has to be semi-athletic and know what he’s doing, though, like coordinating his strokes and which way to point the boat (pointed end forward) and that the rower sits backward.

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