The Problem With the First Date Ideas in the New York Times


People are like lemmings, the New York Times teaches us in this weekend’s Style section meta-trend piece on dating, entitled “Watching Trends in Dating.” More specifically, this is “The Ritual of the First Date, Circa 2010” and New Yorkers are lemmings because they collectively migrate, in this case to date ideas. The scientific data to prove our unoriginality comes from, a dating website in which you pitch yourself by completing the phrase “How about we…” The article is telling about the current moods of New York City’s four million single residents. Unfortunately, so many of them are too cheesy for their own good. The idea for the dating site is one thing; the dates have their own problems:

After filling in the “How about we…” blank, interested parties can seek you out, based largely on the originality of your pitch.

But apart from a general bias against dating sites, there’s something unsettling about the specificity of these dates. In short, it’s corny. Really, though, the ick factor is more complex: It’s not the ideas themselves, it’s the anonymity of the proposer combined with the randomness of the person being taken on the date. It could literally be anyone. A good date — from what I understand, and I could be completely wrong — is thought up (maybe even collaboratively!) for another specific person, catered not only to the person you hope to take out, but with the intersection of your interests in mind.

Sure, no one would contact a proposer unless the date vibed with their own interests, but doesn’t the fact that it wasn’t conceived with you in mind take away from the intimacy of it all? And isnt the point intimacy? As in, getting laid?

Or maybe the ideas just suck. Here they are in order from least offensive to most embarrassing (with more specific dates admittedly graded harder):

12. Lobster rolls

11. Oysters

[Ed. note: Seafood is both delicious and not cheap. Bring gum.]

10. Tacos: fish tacos, dried cricket tacos, taco tours of Brooklyn, even post-surfing tacos at Rockaway Beach in Queens.

[Showing off surfing is boss, if you can pull it off, but skip the cricket unless your record collection includes more than 51% world music.]

9. Standing in line at the Shake Shack

[Summer fun!]

8. Fondue

[Only if you’re already divorced.]

7. Walk the High Line and look for people with mullets

6. Beer and a game of ping-pong at SPiN

[Too trendy; one of you works at a record store, the other as a graphic designer. Blogger? ]

5. Learn how to read tarot cards (after buying a set somewhere in Manhattan) and practice at the 169 Bar

[This could work?]

4. Recreate Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

[This could never work.]

3. “Bar Olympics,” in which Skee-Ball is a sport

[Only if you have a goatee.]

2. A swing class and wine tasting

[Only if you’re already twice divorced.]

1. Ninja New York, a Japanese restaurant with ninjas for waiters in the meatpacking district

[Only if you’re 11 years old.]