First Dates She Thought She’d Hate (But Loved!)

Think that a family wedding reception might be the worst first-date idea ever? Listen to these women's tales of clicking with men in ways they'd never dreamed of in some truly unexpected places.

By Laura Schaefer

ou're really excited for your first date with a new guy — until he suggests going to play laser tag with his buddies. Cue record-scratch sounds...

Before you run for the hills, however, know that even a strange first-date suggestion doesn't have to throw a wrench into the gears of love. These seven ladies all embarked on dates they weren't too sure
I thought it was the most unromantic place in the world, but we had a great time.
about — and actually enjoyed themselves! So keep and open mind and put on your waders, because you just might have a great time.

1. Fishing
"A guy once took me fishing as our first date," says Paula Battilana, 29, a manager in Brisbane, Australia. "It was a surprise; I had no idea where he was taking me. But we (ironically) got fish 'n' chips and then fished off the Hornibrook Bridge at Redcliffe. It ended up being lovely; it was a beautiful evening with stars out, and we got to talk and laugh at my bad fishing. And best of all, my dog accompanied us on the date, so he got brownie points for that one!"

2. A comedy club
"My husband took me to a comedy club for our first date," recalls Edwina Gleeson, a small business owner in Sydney, Australia. "I thought it was the most unromantic place in the world, but we had a great time! It took all the pressure off of us to find things to talk about; it had lots of humor from all the comedians (even if one routine was a big Kiwi-bashing, me being a Kiwi…), so we laughed constantly. And a meal was included in the price of the ticket, so I could line my stomach and not get too sozzled! Obviously the date was a success — 11 years later, after eight years of marriage and [having] a son and daughter, we still laugh together."

3. The toy store
"My date suggested we spend the day in F.A.O. Schwartz, which seemed weird at first," admits Tamara Johnson, 33, the New York-based author of 31 Dates in 31 Days. "He'd come down from Boston for the day to take me out and suggested we make it a day of regressing back to our childhoods. We started at the carousel in Central Park before heading to the toy store. I thought the idea was unusual. What in the world was I going to do at a toy store? But I went and found out right away that his idea was perfect. As we entered the store, we met a guy named Hector, who was working at the Rubik's Cube kiosk. 'You mix it, I'll fix it!' he'd chant. My date approached Hector confidently and challenged him back: 'YOU mix it, and I'LL fix
I just thought it might be kind of lame. But it all worked out.
it.' He mastered the cube in just a couple of minutes, and I realized I needed to let down my guard and take on the day to play."

4. Staying in and playing cards
Alisha Kirchoff, 28, who's the associate director of the Russian, East European and Eurasian Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, remembers one low-key, late night pie-and-cribbage date that stood out. "I didn't think I'd hate it," she says, laughing. "I just thought it might be kind of lame. But it all worked out — I married the guy!"

5. A cheese festival
"I wasn't so sure... but who can resist Wisconsin cheese curds?" says Mandy McCarthy Rinne, 30, a kindergarten teacher from Appleton, WI. "We also were with mutual friends who were introducing us. It turned out to be a blast! We played games where he won a lei and gave it to me. Yes, I married him."

6. A wedding reception
"A friend of my husband's kept asking a girl out a few years ago, and they were never able to arrange it. He convinced her to come to his brother's wedding reception, which I think would be awkward," says Brianna Wolbers, 31, a technical writer in Madison, WI. "They had a fun time at the reception, spent all night out with the wedding party, and are getting married in 2013."

7. A health seminar
"My now-husband took me on our first official date to a seminar on Bowel Health!" exclaims Amy Cadd, 29, a registered nurse from Sunshine Coast QLD, Australia. "I wanted more to spend time with him, and I was a little bit curious, but I ended up thoroughly enjoying the talk and we are now very close friends with the health consultant who ran the seminar. And obviously, our relationship is still as healthy as our digestive systems!"

Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls and Planet Explorers New York City: A Travel Guide for Kids.

For the other side of this story, read: First Dates Men Expected To Hate (But Loved!).

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