Strange Dates That Turned Out Great

Strange Dates That Turned Out Great

Dinner and a movie? So obvious. Copy these intrepid couples' daring ideas instead.

By Caitlin Ascolese

Why your date might freak: The question is, why a date wouldn't freak. "Having been raised by two Shakespeare professors, I screamed in horror when my boyfriend showed up with two tickets," admits Amy Kaye of Morristown, NJ. "'Only nerds do that!' I pleaded. But he said it would be fun and he'd heard good things about all the roast turkey drumsticks and the beer. I dug up a poufy shirt and joined him."

Why it'll end up fun:So it's not cool. Who cares? Seeing people dressed in armor, bustiers, and jester's suits will get you two laughing more than any swanky martini bar. "We weren't even laughing at the jugglers and people talking in fake English accents, we were genuinely having fun," Amy says. "We did have a great moment when, halfway through the day, my boyfriend kind of stared at the people around us in their leather armor and XL-sized bustiers. 'Wait a minute,' he said. 'Aren't these the people I make fun of?' I laughed and told him, 'Yep—and now we're them!'"

Why your date might freak: Anyone who's seen the movie Along Came Polly has been duly warned: This cuisine — piles of spicy fare that you eat without silverware — is hardly for the faint of heart. "When I got my order I discovered that I really, truly hate Ethiopian food," says Matt Christensen of Queens, NY. "I stuffed myself on the spongy bread while she enjoyed her dinner."

Why it'll end up fun: You may go home hungry, but being adventurous is a helluva lot more memorable than grabbing your usual chow. "It was a relief to realize that my girlfriend didn't care whether I liked the same food as her, she was happy that I was there, trying something new," says Matt.

Why your date might freak: Dancing is many a guy's nightmare: "I haven't danced in public since I appeared in the musical Annie in grade school," recalls David Garfield of Rockville, MD. "So when my girlfriend asked me to take tango lessons as a birthday gift to her, I very reluctantly agreed."

Why it'll end up fun: Let's face it: Dancing, even badly, with someone you care about is an incredibly intimate experience. And trust us, you won't be the only one there with two left feet. "We showed up at the studio and I was expecting to feel like a total schlub, but it wound up to be a small group of beginners," says David. "Besides the low-key company, I found myself really getting into the music and remembering how fun it was back when I did think I had rhythm! I never made it onto a dance floor outside of that room, but it felt great to listen to cool music and know that I could dance... if I ever wanted to."

Why your date might freak: You never know what strange, bizarre spectacle you'll be subjected to or, for that matter, whether you'll be asked to participate. "My girlfriend and I were asked to squeeze ourselves into gigantic inflatable sumo wrestler bodysuits, which were then puffed up with air so were like marshmallows," says Michael Truman of Seattle, WA. "Then they put us in a room to wrestle."

Why it'll end up fun: Granted, a lot of performance art may not make sense (people sitting on ice cubes, anyone?)... but you don't have to get it to have a great time and one way memorable date. "It was hilarious and surreal," says Michael. "And somehow, apparently, art."

Why your date might freak: Suggest to a date that you'd like to fire a few rounds, and yes, it can set off their "psycho" alarm. "I was always deathly afraid of guns," says Michelle Johnston of Philadelphia, PA. And she is not alone.

Why it'll end up fun: Get past wondering whether your date digs violence in an unhealthy way, see this pursuit as a skill test aimed against paper targets, and you'll get quite the adrenaline boost. "Since I lived in a high-crime part of the city, I figured I could at least make myself less scared of them," says Michelle. "And when I did it, I felt quite powerful. We got to keep our shot-up targets to remember our somewhat strange, but ultimately very fun date. It felt good to take on the challenge of something I felt was forbidden and enjoy it."

Caitlin Ascolese is a writer in New York and wouldn't mind firing a gun with a date, as long as it's not at each other.
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