Monday, October 24, 2011

First Date Ideas: Darts and Ice Cream

Photo Credit
I’ve recently gotten to know the guys at DateMasters and they’d like to share a guest blog post on the topic of fun and inexpensive first dates.  Their site offers advice on finding, meeting, getting and keeping high value women of exceptional beauty and great accomplishment.  You can check out their free tips, blogs and newsletters here:  


Hey everyone. This is Jack D. Serrano, Executive Trainer from DateMasters

When you meet a lot of women, it's essential that you have several good date plans that you can use again and again. It's also important to keep these dates fairly inexpensive and fun. No need to go all out and spend a ton of money trying to impress the girl. If she is honestly interested in you and has a good attitude, then she'll be more than happy to spend a fun evening with you, regardless of how much you spend. If she's just out to get free dates from guys then you can be sure that keeping your first few dates inexpensive will drive her crazy. Either way is good for you!

First things first, go meet more women. We recommend that all guys meet as many women as possible. Not only does it give you more options, but it also lets you hone your dating skills (making her laugh, having fun conversation, listening, watching out for signs she might be nuts.) 

And now for the date…

I've gone out for Darts and Ice Cream as a first date countless times with all kinds of different girls, from models and dancers to stock market analysts.  You can meet up with her in the evening around 7p.m. or 8p.m. or later on a weeknight.

Start with dart. It gives her a chance to get her blood flowing and have some good, active fun (with you). Then you get to relax and have a bit of light conversation afterwards. Dates tend to flow best when you do the activity followed by the meal (or ice cream or coffee or drinks).
So we start off with darts and have a few fun games full of light, playful conversation.  It doesn’t matter if you’re good or not because the joy comes from the activity, instead of trying to show off your pro skills.  It’s important to keep the conversation enjoyable and not serious…you can save those for a few dates down the line…as dates are supposed to be fun for both people. 

We’ll play darts for a while, anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes, before I offer my arm to my date and head off for ice cream.

Feel free to substitute this with drinks, smoothies, or any other relatively inexpensive place where you can sit down and get to know her better. We like to keep it inexpensive for a couple reasons.

1) It weeds out women who are just using you for a free meal or night out
2) It slows down the whole dating process.

One of the biggest mistakes guys make is getting way too serious, way too fast with girls they like. This is especially important for really great women.  Beautiful, smart, successful, driven women are used to guys they date falling for them too quickly. It's a turn-off and they get bored with guys like that.

While you eat ice cream, continue to have fun, light conversation. This is also your chance to get to know her better to find out if she really is more than just a pretty face; someone who you want to spend more time with beyond this first date. You should be different from most guys by ACTUALLY getting to know her. Listen to what she has to say and make her laugh.  Also, keep your eyes and ears open for red flags that might cause trouble later on down the road.  Volumes could be written on the subject, but I think you get the idea.

This date usually lasts 2-3 hours and by the end a simple kiss is a nice finish. 

Overall, Darts and Ice Cream accomplishes everything you need for a great first date with a great woman. 

Thanks Jack!  I personally would substitute ice cream for gelato, which I detail in this post about Two Really Fun Date Ideasfor under $40

Next week, I’ll share one of my favorite afternoon dates and how it can lead to an even more fun evening…which involves you cooking for her...

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Coffee Date Pt 3: The Ideal Date

Finally, after recounting two coffee dates I’ve experienced, there is some wisdom to be shared.  The first date was Pricey at a Restaurant and the second was more Casual.

The Ideal Coffee Date is casual and can be a springboard for a greater experience.  It is merely a way to get together and enjoy light conversation over a hot beverage. 

There are two good times to meet for a coffee date:

1)  Weekend afternoon. 

Meet her on a Saturday or Sunday during the afternoon, which happens after brunch but before dinner.  Choose a great cafe with character that is not a  Starbucks or a sit-down restaurant.  In Culver City alone, The Conservatory and the Akasha Café are fantastic places with a good ambiance, music and quality coffee and pastries. 

The great thing about a weekend afternoon meetup is that it takes no precious time out of anybody’s weekend.  It’s before dinner, so you both can have plans made up beforehand.

But… if it’s going well… you can keep the day going, do an activity, get dinner or even get together later that night.  If your weekend is booked in advance and you want to keep things casual you can also meet on a:

2)  Weekday evening… after dinner

A weekday coffee date is more of a “lets get a hot beverage and dessert” setup, because it’ll take place at 8:30p.m or later to emphasize that the activity at hand is enjoying a late night dessert.  Most likely, you’ll both order tea or a decaf, but if she orders a regular coffee, she’ll have a lot more energy.

A Starbucks will do, if you can find a less-corporatized café with live music or even poetry reading (always worth a laugh), it’ll be more fun. 

These dates can then lead to a short walk around the neighborhood and have the potential to be extended or cut short.  I’d suggest cutting it short and seeing if you can get together that weekend for a second date like seeing a museum, event, movie or concert. 

I feel like I’ve described the setup of the coffee date…but I hope you know the more important that

It’s not about the coffee, it’s about the connection. 

No matter how well-planned a date is, the most important is if you two are having a good time together.  That you’re laughing, getting to know each other and flirting with each other.  Have fun!  Life is short, and even the most casual dates should be injected with a sense of joy and stimulation

Like a shot of espresso, but stronger.

Next week I’m excited to step away from the podium and share a guest post from another dating blogger that features an unusual first date that I guarantee you’ve never experienced.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Coffee Date Pt 2: The Casual Date

The Gist:  Tips for enjoying a casual coffee date at a local café.

In the second part of our exploration of the coffee date, we’re going to look into what I call “The Casual Date”  This date is comfortable and easy to plan, as it involves meeting a girl on a weeknight evening at a nearby café, like a Starbucks or Coffee Bean, without the fuss of ordering at a restaurant and having a waiter serving you.  You can checkout the previous post on a coffee date at a restaurant here:     

The following describes an actual coffee date that happened recently. 

The setup
My buddy and I were playing tennis one evening and I saw two women playing a set next to us.  One of them caught my eye and after some flirty exchanges we exchanged phone numbers.  We didn’t know each other that well, so I called her up and suggested we go out for a cup of coffee at the Starbucks in Downtown Culver City, which is close to where we both live.

The day of, she texted me to ask what time to meet, and since I get home from work around 6:30 p.m. from work, I said that 7:00 p.m. would be good. 

At Starbucks, I was excited to see her off the tennis court.  She arrived and soon we were in line to order our drinks: for her a green tea and for me a coffee.  As I eyed the desserts, I offered to get something that we could share.  She was interested, but wanted only a small bite.  I decided to indulge and get a cookie as we sat down together.

In conversation, we had a good time chatting, but I noticed that from the questions I asked her, her responses were rather short.  I couldn’t tell if she was a little nervous from the first date, or if there wasn’t much chemistry.  As we talked I noticed a few silences, and by the third one it felt like it had been a while and so I decided to end the date.  As we left the café, I checked my watch and noticed it was 8:15 p.m.

I walked her back to her car, we hugged and I bid her goodbye.

Continuing my walk to my apartment, I randomly saw her from across the street walking in the opposite direction.  She waved and I asked where she was going.  She said she was heading to a nearby Indian market to get some food.  This whole time she had been hungry and I hadn’t even known!  As I headed home that Thursday evening …

Here’s What I Learned

1)  Choose a time to meet AFTER dinner.  Having a late night coffee on a weeknight is a perfect reason to get together for a first date, but emphasize in your conversation with her that you two are meeting for coffee and dessert.  A good time to meet is 8:30 p.m. or 9:00 p.m., so you can meet for a hot drink and it’s implied that both of you have had enough time to get home from work, relax, have a bite and then meetup.  This way you’re not caught in the awkward situation I was in of seeing the girl you were with go out for a quick dinner after your date.

2)  Enjoy the coffee in a real cup.  A lot of people don’t know this, but you can elevate your coffee experience at Starbucks, Coffee Bean or any coffee chain by asking at the register for your drink to be poured in a porcelain cup.  This way you can hold a real, hot mug with tea or coffee and besides making your drink taste better than sipping it through plastic, the experience feels more at-home and enjoyable.

3)  Go Decaf.  I made the mistake one time of having coffee on a first date at 9:30 p.m. on a weeknight and later could not fall asleep until 1 a.m.  Just because you’re “meeting for coffee” doesn’t mean it has to be an espresso, and I recommend choosing decaf or tea so that you can get some sleep later that night.

4)  About an hour is ideal for a coffee first date.  We left the coffee shop at 8:15 p.m., meaning we had been sitting and drinking for almost 75 minutes.  It felt a bit long and I realized it’s best to keep the date a little shorter and even ending it early while it’s still fun so that you’re both excited to get together for a second date.  Plus, if you’re drinking coffee from a mug, it will naturally cool down in about 20 minutes, so once you’ve both finished nursing your beverages, make that the reason to end the night, rather than sit there with two empty cups.  Even if it’s going really well, an hour is enough.

I highly recommend this more casual experience for a coffee date as most women will agree to meet for coffee on a first date because it’s easy and comfortable.  Also, it’s not a strain on your wallet, so you can take her out for something more exciting the next time once you’re sure there’s a real connection.

The final blog post on the coffee date will synthesize everything I’ve experienced from my own coffee dates plus what I’ve learned from insightful conversations with my female friends.  I call it “The Ideal Date.”  Check it out next Monday…but in the meantime meet a girl for coffee and let us know in the comments what you learned from the experience.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Coffee Date Pt 1: A caffeinated look into a classic first date

The Gist:  This is the first of three posts looking at three different coffee dates and what I’ve learned from each experience.

For a man on a budget, taking a girl out for a cup of coffee on a first date is a wonderfully simple way to get together without investing a lot of time or money.  It may not have the jazz and excitement of an exotic lounge, restaurant or concert experience, but it still allows two people to get to know each other and see if there’s a real connection.  Discovering a connection with a woman is the reason that relationships work or don’t work out in the first place, so why spend tons of money doing elaborate activities when a hot drink at a café works just as well?

From my own experience, there are several factors to consider on a coffee date such as:
  • When is the best time to meet?
  • Where should you go?
  • What should you do during the date? … and after?
I’ll explore the answers to each of these questions based on what I’ve learned through trial and error and the collective wisdom of dating books, blogs and websites.  The first coffee date I will focus on is what I refer call the Pricey Date and reflects a moment from the past, the next post will spotlight a more recent encounter that is an example of a Casual Date and from the sum of all that I’ve learned I will later present the Ideal Date.

The Pricey Coffee Date (The Past)

The coffee date is one of the best first dates as it requires very little money to execute.  At most coffee shops, two coffees will cost you less than $5, and you could also share a dessert or pastry.  About a year ago, I met up with  a woman for a blind date and ended up spending $20 on coffee and dessert, because we went to the Grove and sat down at a restaurant (even though it was called a “café”) and ordered two lattes (about $5 each) with two desserts, which were gigantic and could easily have satiated a crowd of six.  We met at 8:00 p.m. to chat and from that experience here is …

What I learned
1)  Sitting down at a restaurant for a cup of coffee and dessert makes everything more expensive.  It’s hard for me to see $5 as an acceptable price for a cappuccino, but you have to know you’re paying for the sophisticated restaurant environment.  The perk is that it creates a more attractive atmosphere, but you’ll also have to fork over more cash for tips and dealing with a server.  

2)  Waiters typically don’t like customers who are just buying coffee and dessert, so be upfront and extra nice.  If you’re not ordering a full-on meal, the waiter knows he’s in for a more miniscule amount of tip, which means you could get bad service.  Say up front when you sit down that you’re there for coffee and dessert.  This way, the waiter won’t bring out the bread and pester you to order appetizers, drinks, specials, etc.  Be friendly and smile at your waiter, which also has the benefit of allowing your date to see that you’re a social and amicable man. 

3)  Stay for one hour tops, but about 45 minutes is best.  Consider how a hot drink cools rapidly, and will be at room temperature in less than 20 minutes.  The optimal time to enjoy it is rather short.  Even if the conversation is going well, you’ve completed the act of enjoying a cup of coffee after no more than 20 minutes, so use this as a reason to end the coffee portion of the date and do something else.  Set this up beforehand by telling your waiter “thanks, that will be all” the moment the coffees and one dessert (two is way too many) arrive so he’ll know to bring the check.  You can then pay immediately and you’ll now have the freedom to leave the restaurant as you please, even best when the conversation point is at a high such as after a great story or shared laugh. 

If it’s going well, you can now end the date early and build anticipation for the next one or continue the night in a new direction.  We will explore how to elevate the coffee date in the new two posts.

The post next Monday will examine a Casual Date for coffee that happened at a Starbucks in Culver City

So  if you’ve been on a coffee date…

What did you like about it?  What turned you off?  Do you have any suggestions for our readers? 

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