Like a great dance in the game of dating, as guys, we're taught to lead. Convention says we make the first move, so the "first date" is usually ours to plan. But like that lady in the red dress, confidence is killer. And there's nothing sexier than when the music shifts, the woman grabs your hand, and takes the first step for the next song.
So ladies, just the mere mention of planning the next (or first!) date draws out a subtle smirk. We pause. Process what just happened, and then go full smile. We're simple people - the initiative, the confidence, you've already won us over. That said, if you need a little help coming up with ideas, read on to see a guy's perspective on good date spots in and around D.C. early on in the courtship.
Dates in the District
Oya + Poste - Oya is upscale and modern but the bar offers plush seats where you can get close (make sure you stay on the bar side). The five-day-a-week happy hour won't kill your purse and the creative sushi options will force you two to work together on choosing the best dishes. After a little glitz at Oya, follow up with the giant outdoor patio lounge at Poste. Sit outside under a clear sky and a full moon. Order a drink. People watch and enjoy.
Zaytinya + Poste + Graffiato - make a game of "elegant bar hopping.” One appetizer, one drink, three nice restaurant bars.
Oyamel + Iron Horse Taproom - Here's a secret. Guys like guacamole just as much as girls do. Have a few appetizers at Oyamel. Dare each other to eat a grasshopper taco. Relax with a margarita, soak up the energy and atmosphere, and then walk up the street and kick his ass in skee ball at Ironhorse.
|Cork Wine Bar|
Birch & Barley + Anywhere else on 14th - With exposed beams and warehouse style lighting, sit at the bar of Birch & Barley. Devour a plate of charcuterie and play beer roulette. There are over sixty or so beers on tap but the taps aren’t labeled (just numbered). The game? Each of you select a number at random and order the small taster size (3.5 oz). Try to guess the beer that was poured and the better tasting of the two. After a few rounds, wander down 14th street. Depending on your guy, stay front room and listen to a band at Black Cat, hop over to Masa 14 and share a few small plates of Latin food, get hot and sweaty
in the basement of Cafe Saint-Ex, or, wedge into Cork if he likes wine.
Dates in Arlington
|Green Pig Bistro in Clarendon|
Green Pig Bistro + Iota - Go pork and hipster. Grab some maple butter cornbread and share some pig tacos at Green Pig Bistro in Clarendon. Then head over to Iota and sit outside while you listen to the live band playing inside.
While it looks like I’ve practically named the entire city, you can pull out a few common themes:
Movement - Hop around, have fun. There's a time and place for white tablecloth dining. On a first or second date…a dimly light room, romantically staring into each other’s eyes, a sommelier whispering some sweet je ne sais quoi… Not. A. Chance. It feels too stiff. And too sleepy. Shifting venues will refresh your spirits and give you both new topics to talk about and lend yourselves to more people watching.
Find two - As Kate mentioned in an earlier post, make it a two-part date. We want to have fun. Move around. Play. Not three hours in one place. So mix and match - pick out two restaurants close to each other or a restaurant and an activity/bar game/or small adventure.
Share - Eat at places with small plates. Pick appetizers to share. You're messing with our subconscious as you’ve already gotten us to share things with you.
Play together - Find games to play. Make up games to play. Have non-serious "competitive" wagers. Dance. Find music.
Be confident – Just as you want us to be confident in our decision-making, be assertive in your plans for the night.
Avoid a sports bar with my favorite team playing - I really don't want to sneak glances at the TV or worry about what percent I need to talk to you versus watching my favorite team. It will end in disaster. Don't do it.
Let us pay for something – If we offer to pay for the cab, or the tip, or the drink at the next bar. Just let us. We still know that you planned the whole thing and you treated us, but it’ll make us feel better.
It’s tough to pick a non-restaurant, non-bar game date early on; you practically have to pull some Jason Bourne shit to find out what he likes. But as these dates progress, pick up on little things that could help you out with future dates.
On one of my most memorable dates, I couldn't tell you what we ate or what she was wearing. I have no idea what day it was. Nor the occasion. Or what we did after. So why has it stuck with me ever since? She remembered something I said – something that was off-the-cuff but meaningful. It made me realize she had been listening all along and that's cool as shit.
But like I said at the beginning, we're simple folk. Don't stress, you'll look hot regardless. By just taking the lead on this one, we're all yours.
Matt is the creator of www.thirddatecooking.com. You can follow him on twitter at @3rdDateCooking and read his other guest post here.