For the majority of my life, ‘dating’ basically meant either two for one Jägerbombs in my local ‘Spoons, or – if anyone tried to take me to a place where real people eat actual food – rapidly retreating to a corner, muttering darkly about table etiquette and awkwardness over the bill. Mum’s so proud. But then I went out with someone who made me realise that London is a goldmine of activities and that not every date had to be stressful, awkward, or likely to end with me throwing up behind Chicken Cottage. And who then – on what I can only assume was a totally unrelated note – promptly moved to Korea.
The first time we went out he took me to ‘hip hop karaoke’ near Oxford Circus, and despite feeling a little out of place at first (my normal look is less ‘Hip Hop’, more ‘Amish Geek Chic’), I had an amazing night. Especially after I realised I wasn’t expected to sing. The week after, we went to a free burlesque show in an old underground toilet near The Strand, and while it was slightly surreal being on a date where a woman (other than myself) was stripping, it was also fun, different, and the intimate atmosphere of burlesque actually worked well. Plus – free!
My favourite though was probably what I later described to my friends as a ‘casz poetry slam’ in a tiny gallery out West. (‘Casz’ being the short version of ‘casual’. Obvs.) Admittedly, this isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time – or so the looks on my friends’ faces told me – but as an English Graduate this is about the most fun I can have with my clothes on. And it just shows that you can always find something to suit your interests, however niche they may be.
Basically, the man was a dating wizard.
Having said this, it’s probably worth bearing in mind that not everyone wants to go on eccentric outings borne out of a fear of getting food in their teeth or vomit in their hair, and there’s definitely a time and place for a relaxed drink or nice dinner. But it’s also true that if you dig a little deeper there are plenty of places you can go with someone that will tell you a helluva lot more about them than how they take their gin. Although that’s vital information too.
So, don’t be afraid to get a little creative next time you want to impress and can’t decide between getting groped by strangers in Wetherspoons or trying to pretend you know your Merlots from your Riojas at a fancy restaurant; creative dates are usually memorable for the right reasons and if they don’t go as planned, often make for a good story! They also give you the perfect excuse to see more of London so even if you’re not dating anyone, explore with a friend, a stranger or yourself, because in this city there’s really no reason to miss out.
Image by mattboisclair courtesy of Flickr