Our surprising first date!

By Chelsea Kaplan

What does a “date” mean to you? If you automatically say “dinner and a movie,” you don’t know what you’re missing. Sure, that strategy was fine the first time around, but now that you’re more mature, self-confident, and back on the dating scene, it’s time to think outside the first-date box. Take a cue from these folks who broke out of the old stand-by evening and opted for more unconventional settings.

Home (Depot) is where the heart is
“Alton and I planned to go on a picnic for our first date, but it was pouring down rain, so we decided to go out to a restaurant instead. But beforehand we stopped at Home Depot because Alton was building a new house since his wife got theirs in the divorce settlement. I forget what he needed, but I can tell you that our very first kiss was in the cleaning-supply aisle! Our relationship has been soaring ever since, and we are getting married this September. Now every time I see a Home Depot, it makes me smile.”
– Susie Langerhaus, 37, Emmitsburg, PA

Lights, camera, action!
“I met Amy at a friend’s party, and we immediately connected because we are both huge movie buffs. I suggested we catch a movie for our first date, but we had trouble deciding what to see—there were so many good ones out. So Amy suggested we see them all. We watched four movies back-to-back, lunching on popcorn, candy and soda and chatting between each show. Not only did we catch up on all the movies we wanted to see, but we had a fantastic first date.”
– Mark Hobkin, 53, St. Louis, MO

Be open to the pots-ibilities
“I like to know what a woman enjoys doing before we go out so I can plan our first date accordingly. When Julie said she likes those paint-your-own-pottery places, I wanted to kick myself. I was in far from the best mood when we met, but her enthusiasm and fun-loving attitude immediately got the best of me. We joked around, painted silly things on vases, and occasionally on each other. I can honestly say it was one of the best dates I’ve ever had.”
– Jonathan Millstein, 38, New York, NY

Theater act
“When I felt like I was ready to begin dating again, a friend fixed me up with Don. She said he was perfect for me because he loves his kids as much as I love mine. Before our first date, Don asked me if I enjoyed the theater, and I enthusiastically said yes. You can imagine how confused I was when we pulled into an elementary school on our big night out. But I soon realized what was up. We saw a fourth-grade production of Stone Soup featuring Don’s daughter. I never would have pegged that as my ideal first date, but I was impressed that Don wanted to show that his children were his top priority. We began dating exclusively soon after our ‘theater’ date!”
– Linda Bridgham, 44, Highland Park, IL

Salsa, anyone?
“When I was in my twenties, a typical date was dinner (meat and potatoes) followed by big-band dancing. So when Paul asked me out for dinner and dancing, that’s just what I imagined. Instead, we went to a crowded Spanish tapas restaurant with salsa music. After a dinner of blood sausages, smoked meats and olives, Paul gave me a salsa lesson. Though the food wasn’t my norm and the dancing was a bit suggestive for a first date, I must admit I totally enjoyed that unconventional night!”
– Miriam Hodges, 65, Winter Park, FL

Poker perfection
“I usually take a first date to my favorite Italian restaurant around the corner. But once, I opted for a day trip to Atlantic City after I realized she and I both loved to play poker. We lost some money but had a great time. And I found myself even more attracted to her after I witnessed her card-playing skills.”
– Frank Brenner, 48, Cherry Hill, NJ

Now that’s amusing
“I hadn’t been to an amusement park in years — probably since my kids were little — so when Kris suggested we go to Six Flags for our first date, I was a little taken aback. We ended up having a blast—we ate funnel cakes, rode all of the roller coasters and Kris even won me an enormous stuffed giraffe. A few months later, we went again with all of our kids, and now that we’re married, we’ve made it a family ritual to go every few months.”
– Debbie Resnick, 55, Conyers, GA

Sowing the seeds of love
“When Tom and I spoke before our first date, I casually mentioned I was going to plant some herbs that weekend. When we met up, I thought we were visiting an art museum, but instead, he had loaded up the back of his car with all sorts of herb plants plus hoes and soil. We spent the afternoon gardening and getting to know each other. I was impressed that Tom showed an interest in one of my hobbies. Plus, focusing on an activity alleviated a lot those first-date awkward moments. My herbs are still thriving, as is my relationship with Tom.”
– Sue Poston, 60, Fairfield, CT

Animal behavior
“A date once took me on an afternoon trip to the zoo for a first date. It just so happened that we went during mating season, and the animals were all quite amorous, if you know what I mean. It set an interesting tone, to say the least, but I think we both felt a bit more relaxed from all that laughing.”
– Ricardo Colon, 44, Phoenix, AZ

The (pedi)cure for the common date
“I met Claudia through the New York Road Runner’s Club when we were both training for the New York City Marathon. Our feet were in terrible shape from all that running, and we constantly joked about it. I was nervous about asking Claudia out, probably because my divorce was fairly recent. Luckily, she took the lead. One day after a run she mentioned she was going for a pedicure and dared me to get one with her. I took her up on it and we spent our first ‘date’ at one of those drop-in nail salons. After, we walked our pretty toes — hers red, mine buffed — to lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon getting to know each other better.”
– Jeff Lai, 46, New York, NY

Writer and editor Chelsea Kaplan’s work has been featured in Men’s Health, New Woman, Bridal Guide, The Mommy Times, and www.thefamilygroove.com.

[via MSN]

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