Whenever I would begin dating someone new, I would put them through some tests.
There are two I can think of right now:
1. He had to be willing to bake something with me.
2. When I did something nerdy, (i.e. pull out my stargazing app when walking around at night) he had to find it interesting, too. Or at least appreciate my nerdy-ness.
Obviously, I wouldn't base an entire relationship off of these things.
But when guys did not pass both of those tests, usually problems arose later in the relationship.
Tom has been the only one to pass both of these!
And I forced him into both of them within a few weeks.
We baked blueberry muffins and I added too much salt.
And I did, in fact, pull out the stargazer app one warm spring night on our second date.
What I found is that I wanted someone willing to try new things, and actually enjoy them for curiosity's sake.
(And yes, I wanted someone nerdy, too.)
One of the things I love about Tom is that I can say things like "Let's try this!" or "Let's visit this place!"
And his response is never one of "Uggghhhhh fine, but you're buying me ice cream on the way home."
(We do like ice cream though!)
It's always, "Oh, that would be fun!"
So I have found that while tried-and-true dinner and a movie is always a solid option, my top favorites involve trying something completely new (and not even scouring the internet for reviews first!)
Trip to Springfield, Aug. 2012
In no particular order, five of my favorites from the past 21 months or so of our relationship!
If you and your significant other/best friend/yourself have not tried a dance class, go. Go go go! I found a free one just by looking at the events calendar for our town. There were tons of them over the summer. The sucky part was that we had to switch partners throughout the class, BUT we did score some dance moves to show off at a summer wedding. And to break out randomly in the kitchen, parking lots, etc.
Bed & Breakfast:
For our Christmas together, since I had to get home to the Chicago burbs, we went for an overnight stay to Galesburg and stayed at a random B&B I found online. The price was cheap, we had a deliciously indulgent dinner and the innkeepers made us waffles in the morning. Can't beat weekend adventures!
Day trip to Springfield, IL:
Speaking of adventures. We took a day trip to Springfield to visit some sights and stop by the Illinois State Fair! Day trips are an easy, inexpensive way to get out and explore a bit. Plus, I was so inspired by the idea of spending the day somewhere new that I created a lame video about it with my broken camera. (Actually I love that video, even if it proves my level of amateurness.)
Breaking into the botanical garden:
Me and Thomas, second or third date. Pretty sure it was the third. We decided to take a walk down by the zoo/botanical garden/park area. As we were walking, we saw an entrance cracked for the botanical garden. Only later did we find out the door was cracked for a wedding, and we were actually supposed to pay like $9 to get in. Oops? Either way, it was really fun to walk around and get to know each other, even if we were total hoodlums. An unexpected, but very fun way to spend an afternoon.
The Mullet Family:
Ah, the second date. The stuff of legends. We went to Steak N' Shake for some dinner and milkshakes, and Tom pointed out a family behind us. A family of mullets.
ALL OF THEM. Mom, dad, and three little children. All mulleted. And the kids were wearing dinosaur pajamas and dousing their crackers in ketchup.
We still talk about that to this day.
This isn't really a date idea, I just wanted an excuse to relive the magic.
I like to get up early and start the day. Most normal people (including my boyfriend) like to sleep in. So one day over the summer I woke up at the crack of dawn, otherwise known as 8 a.m., and mentioned how I wanted to go to the local farmer's market. So we went! We bought some berries and pastries and ate them down by the river and I really, really loved it. If you've got a guy who is willing to accompany you at 8 a.m. on a Saturday to the farmer's market, he's a keeper. And it makes for a pretty nice morning excursion/waffle house alternative.
Also, there was one more.
Then I forgot it.
(I forget things constantly. It makes me fear my elderly age, when I will surely believe I am a cat named Eleanor.)
What are some of your all-time favorite dates?