I am here to disagree. Gentlemen, not only will you not seem cheap, you will probably become more attractive in my eyes. Here’s why:
1. Free dates take planning and creativity. It’s easy to just pick a random restaurant and movie and fork over the cash. But coming up with something that doesn’t require money means you’ve put a lot of thought into the date—and me—and that you’ve got some creativity and romantic tendencies buried in you somewhere. I like that.
2. Free dates prove it’s the company and not the excitement that matters. If you’re off to the prom in a limo and a big, fancy dress or being flown off to Disneyland in a private jet, it’s easy to be swept off your feet by the magic of the moment. Sometimes it’s easy to mistake those butterflies of excitement as indications of romance when, had you been with the same person in any other situation, you wouldn’t have clicked. If all we’re doing is going for a drive or cooking dinner together and I’m still enjoying every minute of it, it proves you are what’s making the date so special.
3. Free dates really are fun. Really. And just to prove it, I’m going to give you some ideas for starters.
Some of these dates may require a little money in order to purchase supplies prior to the date, but they should still be cheaper than eating out or catching the newest movie in theaters (or especially both!). Courtesy of Blair and Tristan Tolman, authors of The Ultimate Dating Idea Book.
Ice Cream Sculpting
Peel the carton away from a frozen block of ice cream and place the block on a clean cookie sheet. Then use knives, forks, spoons, and other utensils to sculpt a unique piece of art. Or course, as you cut ice cream away, feed it to each other. Supply an assortment of candies to use for the sculptures’ features—eyes, ears, nose, appendages, etc. This can also be a great group activity to do as a competition, with awards or prizes for the best sculptures.
Geocaching is a high-tech and fun game of hiding and seeking treasure. Geocachers all over the world have placed logbooks and sometimes small treasures in waterproof canisters and then have hidden them in interesting locations for other geocachers to find. Geocaching websites give the coordinates to these caches and descriptions of their difficulty levels so you know where to hunt for them. Go with a date or a group, using a GPS to direct you to the coordinates of the cache. If you find it, be sure to log your names in the logbook.
Dinner Among Spies
This date will require the help of a host. Invite several couples to a host’s house for a nice dinner. During the meal, the host gives each participant a folded card that says: “Welcome to Dinner Among Spies. Below is a list of five tasks you should try to complete during dinner. You will score one point for each task completed. Your tasks are unique to you. Do not let anyone else know what they are, and try not to let others accomplish their tasks. When dinner is finished, you will be asked to reveal your tasks and your score, and a winner will be declared.”
Each participant’s card should list five unique tasks, created in advance by the host. Here are some starting suggestions:
- Get someone else to pass you the water pitcher.
- Get the person directly across from you to laugh at a funny facial expression you make.
- Get the person two people to your left to pass you the salt and pepper shakers.
- Get someone in the group to ask if you are feeling okay.
- Get your date to ask if you are cold.
- Make a male member of your groups say “Ouch!”
- Get someone in your group to ask you if you would like another napkin.
- Get someone in your group to say, “No more water, please!”
Free Movie Screening
Schedule a viewing room at the public library. Take your date to the library, check out a movie, and watch it together in your private little theater.
Bake sugar cookies together. While they’re in the oven, mix up multiple batches of frosting in different colors (or buy it!). Decorate with the frosting and additional candies, chocolate chips, nuts, etc. You can eat as many as you like and then deliver the rest to someone in need of some extra cheer.