A great date can be as elaborate as a hot air balloon ride, complete with champagne, hors d’oeuvres and an unexpected marriage proposal – or as simple as a meal in a café, with steamy cappuccinos, ambient jazz tunes overhead and hours of conversation.
Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, an anniversary or any occasion you want to woo your boo, how can you plan a great date that will set hearts afire? Central Oklahoma has become a mecca of entertainment, activities and fabulous restaurants that promise to be settings of many a romantic and unforgettable moment in time. But a great date night requires thoughtful planning.
Dates that keep the focus squarely on you and your date will be best bets.
At this stage in a relationship, you’re still learning what makes your date tick. Communication is key, and great early dates can be quite simple, yet très romantic. Light-hearted conversation held in a booth in the corner of a dimly lit restaurant, with a bottle of cab and a charcuterie plate, make for a romantic scene straight out of a movie.
A sweet first or second date is one in which your new friend and you can converse freely, maybe steal a kiss or two, and get lost in one another. Keep it down-to-earth so you don’t feel pressure to be anything but your awesome selves.
A hand-in-hand stroll along the banks of Lake Hefner, swapping stories while watching the fiery glory of the sunset gleaming across the water can be incredibly intimate for getting-to-know-you dates. A rooftop picnic surrounded by the downtown skyline, with a mix-tape style soundtrack, will make you feel like you’re on the brink of something truly extraordinary.
“If you feel comfortable being in each other’s homes, canoodling on the couch, making meals and laughing and just having a relaxing night at home, it’s a great date,” says Melissa Brown, CEO of It’s Just Lunch, a matchmaking company that works with Oklahomans who are ready for love.
If you’ve already gotten to know each other, discovered some adorable quirks and know your mothers’ maiden names, it’s time for trust-building adventures that will strengthen the bond you’re building.
An escape room can bring a couple closer as they depend on one another’s logic and sleuthing. You might be surprised to learn that your honey is a regular Sherlock Holmes. What’s better than knowing your heartthrob can get you out of a tricky conundrum? That’s hot.
This is a good relationship stage for fun outings that aren’t quite so self-centered. One 405 reader recommends a visit The Loony Bin or other comedy club, for a hearty laugh. If you go too early in your relationship, you’ll crack up during the first set but might miss out on the second and third comedians, distracted by your date’s magnetism and missing out on punchlines. There’s no rewinding live comedy, so pick a time when you can hold your date’s hand, but pay attention to the show. There is nothing like laughter to bring a couple together; a good stand-up comic can create those inside jokes that keep the giggle going for years to come.
Or, maybe it’s time to pull out a few stops for high-adrenaline, excitement-filled escapades such as indoor skydiving at iFLY, rock climbing at Summit Climbing, Yoga and Fitness or kayaking at Riversport Adventures in the Boathouse District.
If you’re finishing each other’s sentences, it’s time for some surprises. Look for the unexpected.
Daytime dates are always a good idea, since a great day date leaves the evening free to carry on with impromptu excursions. Reaching out on Facebook, one Oklahoma City woman wrote that she and her significant other work nights, so their days are the best time to date. On a whim, she created four boxes, each filled with items for a day date. One box held a roll of quarters and concert T-shirts for a rock-and-roll date playing pool at a local hole in the wall. In another box, she packed beach towels, a swimsuit and a new pair of trunks for him, along with White Water Bay passes. She came up with two more creative date boxes and stashed them in the trunk of her car. Now, when the two have a few daytime hours for each other, she lets him pick a date box.
For day dates that don’t end at sundown, downtown Oklahoma City holds a surplus of cultural options for lovers. Cinephiles will relish in independent, international and classic films at the OKC Museum of Art’s Samuel Roberts Noble Theater. Nearby, at 21c Museum Hotel on Film Row, you can take in original works of art and have dinner and a drink. You’ll know you’re there when you see “Woozy Blossom,” a 16-foot-high perforated steel tree that produces a continuous fog along Main Street.
Those seeking a less adult-themed excursion can indulge their inner children in an adults-only setting at Science Museum Oklahoma. The museum hosts SMO 21 evenings each month, with themes such as wizardry, summer camp and “don’t try this at home science.” Where else might you eat fire on a date within minutes of taking a hovercraft for a spin and playing hide-and-seek in CurioCity?
“We can all but guarantee you won’t run out of things to talk and laugh about, and hopefully, you’ll learn something together – and about each other – in the process,” says SMO’s Lindsay Thomas.
To keep your relationship fresh and exciting, consider embarking on a new hobby – perhaps sailing classes, ballroom dancing or horseback riding. Unusual adventures will create indelible memories and stories to impress your friends and delight your future children and grandchildren, Brown said.
All right, you’ve purchased the ring. Now, it’s time to plan the proposal. Find a great setting that means something to both of you.
If this date is “the” date, the one that involves an expensive piece of jewelry and a few moments down on one knee, you could take a tip from one 405 reader. A nice tip to the pianists at Michael Murphy’s Dueling Piano Bar in Bricktown granted this man stage access where he found himself, ring in pocket, singing Adam Sandler’s “Wanna Grow Old With You.”
“I wanna make you smile whenever you’re sad; carry you around when your arthritis is bad,” he crooned. “All I wanna do is grow old with you.”
It was his first time to sing on stage, and he forgot the words to the second verse, so repeated verse one. His heart pounded out of his chest as he gave his soon to be fiancé the gift of his public proclamation of love. His bold choice worked, despite the lyrical mishaps, shaky voice and wobbly knees.
To tailor the date to reflect your relationship, consider proposing where you first met or where you first said, “I love you,” according to HowTheyAsked.com. If you met in college, a campus stroll might be the perfect setting. Or, if your sweetie is a stargazer, a proposal under the stars where the bright Milky Way can be seen will capture his or her heart.
You may be nervous, but this is a time to go with the flow. Don’t rush the proposal just because the dessert has arrived or family is waiting to offer congratulations — wait until the moment really feels right.
“I’ll miss you, kiss you, give you my coat when you are cold,” he sang. “Need you, feed you. Even let you hold the remote control.”
You know it’s a great date if he lets you hold the remote control. Needless to say, she is now his missus, and the two will never forget that ultimate great date.
Looking for love (in all the wrong places)?
Online dating has turned romance on its head, and isn’t always the best way to meet people who are right for you. On the other hand, thousands of Oklahomans, who might make up a fake meet cute for cover, can honestly say they found their mate online.
Locally, several matchmaking services can help you find a match IRL. Companies like It’s Just Lunch and Oklahoma Matchmakers and Oklahoma Singles pair Oklahomans who are looking for something serious. Oklahoma Matchmakers says it’s less like the online dating world, where your favorite photos are on display for basically anyone to see, and more like a friend introducing you to another friend.
Be advised, these services can be a tad pricey. But the price could well be worth skipping all that annoying swiping, banal texting and explaining your lifestyle, job and blah, blah, blah to people you’ll likely never meet in person.
If you do choose online dating, experts agree that choosing subscription services is best. Knowing someone is paying for the service is a possible indicator of his or her seriousness. Mashable.com lists some of its favorite online dating services: Match, EliteSingles, Zoosk, eharmony, Single Parent Match, OkCupid and Silver Singles.
Be sure to follow the rules of online dating:
Connect with your match on multiple social media sites to feel confident that you’re talking to a real person, with a real name, rather than a bot.
Text through the dating sites for a while before giving out your number. You may even want to meet the person in a public place before giving them your digits.
Be honest if you’re not interested. It’s inconsiderate to let someone think he or she has a chance if they don’t.
Don’t hesitate to end an online match if things go south. To keep good karma, let the person know how he or she has offended you, then block and report. It’s socially acceptable and can potentially save you and the offensive match hours or days, freeing up screen time to pursue better choices.
For affairs of the heart, February is recognized as the month for lovers, with romance-inspired decorations, heart-shaped candies and roses galore adorning stores and commercials. You’re undoubtedly seeing, and perhaps feeling, love.