Joseph-Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel made it famous in 500 Days Of Summer, but the Ikea Date is not just for the movies, folks! Here’s why it might can make the perfect first date.
Why You Should Try An Ikea Date: “Errand Dates” are easy, transition dates for people you’re vaguely friends with, but don’t really feel comfortable inviting out to a candle-lit dinner (too fast, too soon!). If you’re looking to decorate your apartment, or need a specific thing, you can casually ask someone you’re interested in to come along and help you. Remember, Ikea is just the fun ice breaker–if things go well, you can easily extend the date to a bar.
The Ikea building itself is perfectly designed for first dates, effectively breaking up your afternoon into three separate components: If the date is going well, you can move on to the next section; if the date is a disaster, you can call quits at any time.
Section 1: The Showroom
Strolling through the cookery and living room sets of Ikea can be every bit as romantic as a walk through the park, and much more informative. You can stick to usual first date conversations (where did you go to school, what kind of music do you listen to, etc.), or you can use your surroundings for inspiration. What did your bedroom look like when you were a kid? Do you cook? How firm of a mattress do you like? (This is an important question!)
If you’re game, you can take the little notebooks they have at the beginning and shop for furniture for your dream house, with absolutely no budget limitations. (Yeah, we’re aware this is cheesy, but it’s also kind of adorable, and the screaming babies and stressed shoppers will totally keep it from being too much of a Hallmark moment.)
Section 2: The Restaurant
Time for a break, don’t you think? Luckily, Ikea has placed a cafe right in the middle of the showroom. Split a plate of meatballs, or coffee and cake, and get to know each other a little better. (The food is actually good. Sometimes I go there for breakfast.) (Is that an embarrassing admission? In that case, uhm, I never go there for breakfast.)
Section 3: The Floor
Still going strong? There’s tons of random stuff in the floor section that’s fun to talk about/pick-up: kitchen gadgets, posters, things you didn’t even know you needed. Endless fodder for laughter/conversation.
Bonus Round: The Food Store
After check-out, there’s a handy little Swedish food store. Not only can you buy the world’s most delicious hotdogs and cinnamon buns for $1, you can pick up other Swedish delicacies, and maybe take them home and make them that night?
Pitfalls To Avoid:
Remember, the DATE should take precedence over the ERRAND. Casually strolling through the store at your own pace=fun. Flagging down an employee to ask a billion questions, retracing your step to pick up the specific lamp you forgot to get, hauling huge pieces of furniture, or endlessly waiting in line=not fun. Save that for when you’re actually dating someone.
-It’s so cheap! (So be sure to PAY for your date’s $1 hotdog)
-Low-commitment! (Meaning, you can leave at any time if it’s too overwhelming)
-It’s everywhere! (Live in the United States? There’s probably an Ikea near you. Live anywhere else in the world? There’s probably an Ikea near you.)
And for a little more inspiration: