Most Yalies complain that they’ve never been on a real date. Maybe that’s because no one ever taught them how. Thank God for scene. Yalies can vastly improve dating at Yale by choosing to actually go on dates. (“Hey, Kristin, you’re a genius. I never thought of that.”) Well, now you know. Read on and find out how to go on a date — everything from the asking to the good-night kiss.
“WILL YOU GO OUT WITH ME?”
Unfortunately, if you want to go on a date with someone, you’re going to have to ask: in person, over the phone, or (try to avoid this one) via e-mail. Fortunately, most Yalies will be so thrilled by the prospect of going on a real live actual “date” that they’ll be too shocked to say anything but “Yes, take me.” Well, maybe not those words exactly, but at least they probably won’t say “no.”
The words “see you there” or “meet up later” should never be included when asking someone for a date. Set a time, pick a place, and if you’re going to go to a large function, go to his or her room and pick him or her up. The quickest way to ruin a date is to miss meeting up with the person entirely.
If you’re having any doubts whatsoever that the person will accept your offer of a date, the choice of where to go on said date is clear: Roomba. An invitation to Roomba, the Union League Cafe, Hot Tomatoes or any other nice restaurant is sure to push a questionable response to a “yes.”
This is not (fully) because these restaurants are expensive, but rather because a change — any change — from dining hall food is a welcomed treat. (But remember, a girl who goes on a date just because it’s expensive is not someone you’d want to date anyway.) If you have the funds, asking a girl to a nice restaurant is a classy yet conventional date. (Note to readers: Said classiness is debunked if you take the girl’s best friend to the same restaurant a week later. Trust me.)
“SO, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?”
If you’ve successfully secured a date without the use of bribery, the real question is what should you do?
Not all dates have to be expensive, and they certainly don’t have to include dinner or a movie. In fact, some of the most fun dates are far from conventional. Don’t be afraid of asking someone on a date that might not seem like one. A date is simply an opportunity for two people to get together and enjoy each other’s company. What you think may be “weird” could be interpreted as creative. It’s possible that the person you ask will be impressed by your ingenuity (if not your macabre allure) when you ask him or her to take a tour of the crypts under the New Haven Green with you.
Anything from checking out an exhibit at the Peabody Museum or an art museum to going to see a play (no pressure to talk, and Yale’s full of excellent productions, so it’s bound to be a good time) can be a great way to spend an evening. If you want to have dinner included, the Yale Cabaret offers a novel combination of dinner and a play every weekend.
Taking a walk toward Long Wharf or East Rock or browsing the shops on Chapel Street are also good dates (and there’s the Chapel Sweet Shop for when the walking tires you out).
Go see one of the many outstanding comedy groups, dance groups or a cappella groups. Be sophisticated and watch a performance of an orchestra, a solo recital, a choir, a band or even Buju Banton at Toad’s. There are so many musical events at Yale that there’s no excuse to be at a loss for one to attend. In fact, there are so many that it’s impossible to see them all; going on a date will give you an excuse to attend at least one.
Or get a blanket, buy some food (and wine) from a store on Broadway, and go for a romantic picnic at East Rock, the New Haven Green, or Cross Campus. Even the top of the Art & Architecture Building or Jonathan Edwards College can provide a beautiful, secluded spot.
For daters lacking the desire for novelty, renting a movie and sharing popcorn is an equally acceptable alternatives. But clean your room before this date, as there’s nothing less romantic than dirty socks. Trust me.
For the athletic, beer-drinking Yalie, going to a tailgate and (painfully) watching a (heart-breaking) football game can be a nice way to spend an afternoon. Plus, it’s free. (Note to hot male readers: I am a big fan of the tailgate date.)
Oh, and meeting up at Beta late-night does not constitute a date.
WHAT’S WITH THE CAFFEINE?
Dates make some people nervous. Add caffeine to the situation and someone’s liable to blow — er, combust. So why is everyone so eager to get hopped-up on coffee?
“Grabbing coffee” has become the date of choice for most Yalies for good reasons. It’s low-key, it’s inexpensive, and it can last as little as half an hour or as long as three. (If you’ve broken this record, never ask me out.)
While most Yalies seem to prefer Koffee Too? to Au Bon Pain, both venues are more than sufficient for a successful coffee date, though the garish lighting in ABP does not exactly lend itself to subtle sexiness or romance. The other good thing about a coffee date is that if things go badly, you can always save face with: “Hey, it was just coffee, not a real date –“
THOU SHALT NOT: A WORD OF WARNING ON FIRST DATES
The above sections concentrate on local dates, with the exceptions of East Rock and Long Wharf. It has been my experience that first dates which involve leaving campus always go badly and make me wish I’d never agreed to go in the first place.
The fact is, it’s risky to travel to a first date. On a second or third date, by all means picnic on or hike around East Rock, grab a case of beer and head to the Place in Hamden for some outdoor fun, or take Metro-North to New York for some jazz in the Village or some theater or art in Midtown, but be wary of leaving campus with someone who could turn out to be a psycho — or worse yet, just plain boring.
TO KISS OR NOT TO KISS?
Indeed, that is the question. While not required, the good-night kiss is a long-treasured component of many dates. You’re on your own for this one: feel free to have a hearty handshake or spend the night. If you’re nervous about the pressure of hooking up at the date’s conclusion, go out on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. I’m not your mom; I’m just looking to give you a how-to for dating, in the hopes that maybe Yalies will get the truly brilliant idea of starting to go on dates.