It was February. I was to go on a date with a girl who had been introduced to me through a mutual friend. When we first spoke, I had nodded my head in agreement at many of the things she said and she had done the same to me, so we decided another meeting was in order. Lamentably, we didn’t make concrete plans beforehand. I met her after work and we began windowshopping for a place to eat and imbibe. It began to rain. Neither of us had had the foresight to carry an umbrella that day. So we did the only thing logical in such a situation: walked into the next establishment we passed.
A dive bar. Dim lighting, jukebox blaring, regulars bantering. “Great,” I thought, “We found the least romantic venue in the city.” But then a funny thing happened: we had a great time. You will too. Here’s why:
It’s a safe investment
You know what will compound any regret you experience after a bad first date? Knowing you paid an arm and a leg for it. Circumvent such disappointment altogether by treating your date to the fairest priced drink in the neighborhood.
When you take her/him to the most expensive restaurant in the city the first time you go out (Jerry Seinfeld once contended that this would mean dining at the airport), you risk revving up the pressure up to a level that makes some people uncomfortable. No one should feel obligated to kiss/sleep with/go on a second date with you just because you spent so lavishly. Let your smile and easygoing demeanor do the impressing, not your wallet.
The romance will be organic.
Five things you won’t find at a dive bar: candlelight, flowers, white tablecloths, a pianist or a wine menu that’s longer than half-a-page. This will ensure that chemistry — and not superficial tokens of romance — will be primary to your success … Although there probably is a dartboard and an antique condom machine in the bathroom. Careful mixing those two.
There is probably a jukebox.
In which case you should probably choose some songs together. It’s a failsafe icebreaker and there’s a great chance you’ll bond over some tune that you both had memorized in grade school.
You’ll find out how down-to-earth he/she is.
Maybe I’m not speaking for everyone here, but I could never be with a girl who scowls at a place with dusty floors, crude clientele and questionably clean pint glasses. If her eyes veer around the place disdainfully when we sit down, or she makes a comment on the establishment’s general state of cleanliness (or lack thereof), I can extrapolate that she’s probably not one for camping, long road trips or backpacking through third world countries either. And those are staples, at least for this correspondent.