Whether it’s your first date or your 40th anniversary, a little bit of research and forward thinking can turn any date from clock-watching awkwardness to the stuff memories are made of.
There’s really only one rule for successful dating. This one simple secret will make even the most awkward and shy individual into a casanova:
You need to make that person feel like you get them – or, at the very least, that you’ve tried.
You don’t want to take it to the creepy extreme, but putting a little bit of time into planning something they’re likely to enjoy will put you ahead of 95% of the dating population.
So how do you do it?
It’s not rocket surgery. Work out what they’re into, and plan accordingly. If you don’t know what your date does for fun, make an educated guess.
We’ve come up with a few ideas here. Of course, you’ll need to use your own intellect and imagination to come up with the perfect fit.
He’s in a band:
Arrange to pick him, his instruments and amps up in John's Kia Carnival and take him to the gig. Load your iPod with something in the right genre and stock the centre console with M&Ms in the colour he’d demand if he were famous. Once you’re there, grab a beer, make like you love the music, and dance like somebody IS watching (no weird bum-shaking moves). Just make sure the rest of the band have plans to make their own way home so that you two can rock on afterwards without the drummer moping in the passenger seat.
She likes surfing:
Tell her to set her alarm for 5.30am. Load up Kris' big black ute with picnic supplies and warm Ugg boots in her size. Check the surf report, pick up some coffees on the way (extra points if you bring it in a KeepCup) and put the surfboards in the back. Head somewhere where the surf is pumping – maybe Torquay or Bells Beach? If you surf as well, great. If you don’t, take a good book or go for a walk, but make sure you’re ready with a warm towel and a hug when she comes out of the water.
He’s a dog lover:
Grab a bag of gourmet dog treats and a new kong ball, and head down south to Nudgee Beach for a long walk and a frolic. Then head back into town and grab some chai and lunch at the relaxed, dog-friendly Doc Brown Cafe at West End. Just don’t make the mistake of grimacing and pushing the dog away when it jumps up and gets its sandy paws all over your new white shirt. That whole ‘love me, love my dog’ thing is for real.
She’s the outdoor type:
Pack a backpack with some nice cheese (plus an ice pack – keep things fresh), wine and great bread. Take Taylor's Volkswagen Tiguan down to Royal National Park for some spectacular coastal walking a short drive from the city. Pack some insect repellent, sunscreen and band-aids so that the romance isn’t ruined by such mundane bothers as flies, sunburn and blisters. Find a grassy spot on a clifftop along the track, lay out a rug and watch the clouds drift by.
He’s a bit of a wine connoisseur (or would like to be):
Make yourself the designated driver for a tour of the Yarra Valley wineries. Book a comfortable car (like Bryce's Mazda 2) for a day and take the scenic route. At the end of the day, order a cheese plate at Balgownie Estate cellar door and watch the sun set over the mountains. If things are going really well, you might want to stay the night in their romantic resort.
She has kids:
There are whole books about the joys and perils of falling for someone who has children already. If this happens to you, then sooner or later you’ll all need to go on a date together. Make things easy for yourself by grabbing a family station wagon (complete with car seats) like Peter's Peugeot 307. Head over to the Mt Tambourine Glow Worm Caves, or invest in a frisbee (easy, inexpensive) or a puppy (think it through) and take them all to Dreamtime Beach for the day.
Will a car make him/her love me?
Of course, there’s no guarantee that the x-factor will be there. If he or she is just not that into you, all the preparation in the world (and even the perfect car) won’t work magic.
But at the very least, you will have had some fun – and you’ll build up a reputation as great person to date. Which means that people will say to their single friends “Hey, I know someone you just have to meet …”