What goes well with a Tinder date? A blog post about Tinder dating. Or just dating dating. No judgment.
Dinner is an option, of course, but it’s just so tame. There aren’t a lot of adrenalin rushes to be had over mains and dessert. Unless you eat the green apple and barramundi salad at Chin Chin in which case: Be still my heart. Dinner is also a pretty long-term commitment to someone you’re not actually sure you’re going to like. They may look cute and well-traveled in their photos but does that mean they can converse beyond the typed word? Very sadly, it does not.
If you do want to be unoriginal (and really, why would you?), don’t get locked in to an extraordinarily long conversation about rock-climbing. Meet over cocktail hour. It’s in the name.
Movies are another kind of classic best avoided. Just another forgettable evening in front of a screen, sitting next to a stranger you’ll learn precisely nothing about. If your true motives for a movie date are so you can see Black Panther for free – provided you have archaic beliefs about who should pay – then this could well be an option for you. But also, get a Flybuys card, accrue some points and see free movies this way. Much more self-reliant.
With the following suggestions, which are all activity based, you won’t get trapped with someone who didn’t extend you the courtesy of a shower before your meeting. If your date turns out to be strange or tedious or unable to talk on a subject other than themselves, you will be surrounded by alternative activities that do not involve them. Although do try a little. Nervousness can be excused. Indifference – never.
After the following dates, you’ll be able to return home, use your Face Halo, and know that the day was not a total waste of make up:
1. Virtual Reality Zombie experience
Immediately, this sounds like a good idea. It involves Virtual Reality, so you’re basically telling your date that you are a cutting-edge individual who knows what’s up. It’s like a video game but more physical and interactive, since you run around a warehouse. It’s also a unique – and therefore likely memorable – experience to share with someone. If things don’t work out, you can at least look fondly back on that time you slayed zombies together in North Melbourne.
2. Get bloody
Blood donation. My personal dream date. Fall in love with a fellow altruist (or chocolate chip cookie lover). Major bonus: Red Cross has a comprehensive questionnaire for all prospective blood donators. Avoid all those awkward questions – let the Red Cross ask them!
If your date is eligible to donate, you’ll know that they:
a) Haven’t engaged in risky sexual activity in the last 12 months
b) Are not injecting drugs recreationally
c) Weigh over 50kg
d) Have healthy levels of iron in their blood
e) Aren’t squeamish
While you donate, you can partake in the nine-letter word game (at the old South Melb centre, anyway) or assess your potential new partner’s creativity and see what games you can come up with together.
If you’re both cheap AF, then a blood donation is a nice way to have your date and get your milkshake too. After saving three lives, you can enjoy a nice range of juices, crackers and Byron Bay cookies.
3. To market, to market
Essentially, you want a (free) event where you get to browse around and are not forced to make continuous eye contact for thirty plus minutes. Markets are abundant with conversational triggers, like candles, coffee scrubs and handmade jewellery. Leave your cue cards at home.
Learn about your date’s preferred flavour of soap (mmm lemongrass), enjoy some fresh air and (hopefully) their company. Try the Rose St market in Fitzroy or the market next to the Heide Museum of Modern art. Note: ‘Market’ is interchangeable with garage sale and secondhand book store.
4. Be an exhibitionist…
…No that’s not quite right. (Or is it? )Be an exhibition attendee. Visit a Carnivores’ Trail, get up close with little penguins, learn about digital infrastructures, go mainstream at the NGV or receive tonnes of free samples at a trade show. If you’d like drinks thrown in, try an art show. Wine quality isn’t guaranteed. But it’s free, so you’ll take what you’re given.
5. Let’s go surfing
This may go against everything I’ve said about brevity but if this date works, it works very well. First things first, you do not need to know how to surf; however, swimming skills are a definite must. Secondly, you need a chill attitude (for all the water that’s about to go in your eyes that you’re going to blink away like it’s not perforating your retina).
Or exceptional acting skills. Either work.
Third, you need a surfboard.
Once you’ve got all those elements in play, you’re set.
One of my best ever first dates was surfing at Gunnamatta. I didn’t particularly know the guy – we’d met earlier that week on the train – but he seemed like the non-psychopath sort. Plus the beach, in summer, is a very good place to date. There are a lot of legitimate reasons to touch (sunscreen applications, balancing on the board), heaps of sunshine and zero excuse needed to prance around in your best bikini. When you’re over the waves crushing you, you can retire to the sand to chat or sunscreen-bake. Or burn in our case.
They’ve done studies on methods of accelerating attraction – if you can get someone’s adrenalin pumping in your proximity, you’re on the track to love. Sick but scientific. I just realised that this wasn’t a Tinder date and therefore does not really belong on this list. Oh well. It was a good date. It stays.
<<We interrupt this program to bring you more words of wisdom>>
Here is where the list gets slightly derailed. I started to realize I couldn’t necessarily advocate for people going on these sorts of dates if there wasn’t some prep work involved. A background check, if you will. I don’t want to send you off on a surf date and learn later that you were drowned.
I appreciate I am not the most normal of Tinder users. Like not everyone spends a month having hour-long phone calls with their prospective Tinder date. Or exchanges letters. Or has Before Sunrise moments on the reg.
Hand-written letters are the best
Personally, I like as much getting-to-know-you before meeting in person. This saves everyone time, makeup and Uber/train fares. If a guy isn’t willing to talk on the phone, he is either a) too shy b) too lazy or c) not adventurous. None of which is my kind of guy. Find your own filter. Apply liberally.
If you’ve only exchanged a few texts with the person you plan on meeting, stick with a strawberry daiquiri and save all of my amazing ideas for date #2. If you’ve stalked their Facebook profile (hello 2007 profile pic), Facetimed them and gotten beyond the copy + paste section of the conversation (efficiency), then continue on.
6. Take the plunge
Head to the hot springs in Mornington and spend a few hours doing reflexology (walking on stones), getting steamy in the pools and sauna and immersing yourself in ice cold water. This supposedly has hormetic benefits (stress that makes you stronger), like the way you do minor injury to your hamstrings through deadlifts, but ultimately strengthen them. I don’t know. It’s really freaking cold. Fun fact: I once read that finishing a shower with cold water seals the hair cuticle, meaning smoother, silkier locks. I used to do this. Now I would rather have frizz. Can’t deal with the cold.
At the hot springs, you can also get a kodo or yinka massage, sip wine and go on a botanical journey (mud wrap, facial etc). I’ve only been during the daytime but apparently at night, the fairy lights go on and it gets really beautiful. And romance was born.
7. Tree top walking
I have not actually done this. But I have driven past it so many times on the way back from Warrnambool. If you’re a broad-shouldered ambitious guy, take me here! Breathtaking rainforest views, a zipline eco-tour, an unflattering harness – what’s not to love?
8. Dialogue in the dark
Yes, I know I constantly contradict myself. And this idea is no exception. I am now recommending you do the exact thing I told you not to: Hang with a stranger in the dark. But this is different. Promise!
Dialogue in the Dark is a sensory journey in pitch black. You are guided through darkness by people who are blind or have low vision. Learn how to navigate your surrounds, as you move through a simulated Melbourne. You’ll have to rely on your other senses and communicate without visual clues in this hour-long experience.
Ok, gotta wrap it up there. Did you like any of these ideas? Which was your favourite? Hopefully among the extremely pricey and completely free, there was at least one to float your boat.
As I publish this, I am off to eat sushi pizza with my newest Tinder date. Here’s hoping sushi pizza is everything I’ve dreamt and more!