Too often, dating and drinking are synonymous. After all, if you’re not going on an unusual date adventure, like a zombie virtual reality experience or a zip-line eco tour, then you’re probably getting a drink at a bar. It’s low key, non-committal and if you wind up with nothing else, you’ll have a nice buzz. But.
If you go on dates frequently, that is a lot of alcohol to consume. And even if you only meet up with a Tinder match on the first Tuesday of every month, you still might want a break from the martinis and bellinis. I have written extensively about the way alcohol impacts not just your physical health but also your happiness.
So, if you’re keen to give alcohol (and anxiety) a miss on your next date, here are some booze free ideas to get you going:
Tie a cable from one tree to the next. Treat it like a tightrope.
Slack lining is not physically demanding. There’s no intense cardio, plenty of opportunity for physical contact (sometimes you need to hold hands. For balance) and it’s easy to set up in virtually any park with trees that exist in close proximity to one another.
Slacklining is an excellent date idea because it gives you an activity to busy yourself with, so you don’t have to worry about intense eye contact over your whisky sour, but it’s also not so all-consuming that you can’t maintain an actual conversation.
It does require nice weather but, then, so does almost every date idea on this list. I’ll write a Perfect Winter Date post when winter comes. But it’s not here yet and I’m going to soak up every last ray until it officially becomes flu season.
A beach date is generally best reserved for a second or third date, although I’ve surfed on a first date and it ranks top five, so you decide.
You can float on your back in the shallows, architect castles in the sand, play cricket, chill on a hammock (Rosebud back beach is perfect) and, of course, surf.
If you haven’t surfed before, start in relatively calm water with baby waves and make your goal to stand up on the board. Remember, the goal isn’t to surf. If you happen to catch a green and ride it to the shore, that’s just a plus.
Like slack lining, surfing is a great opportunity to touch. But with less clothes. I’ve written more about surfing on a date here.
One for the body confident who doesn’t mind being tossed around in nature’s washing machine. But seriously, surfing on a date is fun. I swear.
If you’re worried your waterproof mascara isn’t up to the task, there’s still plenty to do. Walk along the pier, climb the sand dunes, consume the compulsory fish and chips.
I finally got to do this the other week! So I can vouch wholeheartedly for its date suitability. At last, a chance to use my year ten rowing skills. It was like the hand callouses never left.
Going for a row is super romantic, in case you didn’t already know. But also, maybe go watch The Notebook.
You can hire a rowboat at Studley Park Boathouse or The Botanical Gardens. Unlike actual rowing, row-boating doesn’t require much effort. You can float along, intermittently knocking into the bank, enjoying tranquil nature and the odd rebel kayaker.
Warning: On the boat, there is no escape, unless you feel like a dip in the Yarra (for goodness sake, do not do this). So make sure your date is someone you want to get to know better, not the cute guy who poured your coffee but who you’ve never exchanged full sentences with. You know, be sensible.
Thought I’d offer one low-key option on this slightly sports-centric list. Board games! Check out one of these cafes/bars that offer board games like Cluedo, Scrabble and Game of Thrones. If you’re viciously competitive like me, a reminder that Pictionary isn’t life and death.
Chicken N Beer – FREE in Richmond
Queen of Spades – $5 to play in Fitzroy and Collingwood
Marche – $12 in Melbourne
29th Apartment – $$ price unclear in St Kilda
Let your date know you’re in the know (you know), and take them to an event that doesn’t require the consumption of alcohol. I’m going to keep tabs on date-appropriate events and try to do a monthly round up. In the meantime:
Events are arguably more exciting than a picnic or board game because they occur less frequently. And as we know, scarcity equals desirability. Like when Lululemon creates limited edition leggings and people get all nervous that they’ll miss out. Just like that.
Make your next date hangover free. And thank me in the comments!
Next up: Five Dates Under Five Dollars
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