Crafting the perfect Valentine's Day date is difficult. There is a good degree of ingenuity, skill, and mad impromptu genius that goes into it, and if any part is lacking the result can be disastrous. Many, compelled by the desire to create an impressive evening of unique and memorable experiences, may toy with ideas some would term “unconventional,” “worrisome,” or perhaps “ohhh no what’s happening.” But I have this to say to the novice date-planner: do not worry! I have sailed these waters before, and by the knowledge of my own mistakes I will guide you through the rapids, point out the common pitfalls you may encounter, and lead you to an island I like to call “Good Date-Time Isle” (I apologize for choosing a sailing analogy).
PLACES TO AVOID GOING ON A DATE:
1. A burn ward. It may be nice to remind your date how good your lives truly are, to provide some kind of perspective on life, but there are more pleasant ways of doing this.
2. Somewhere you’re likely to cry. Whether it’s a location laden with painful memories (Boyscout Camp), or somewhere unbearably emotional (a theater playing Up), just go ahead and avoid it. If you’re a real man you’ll let her see you cry eventually, but I usually save that for the second date.
3. Anywhere ending in an ‘-ry.’ Allow me to prove my point: library. Monastery. Fish Hatchery. Coffin Factory. Tuna Cannery. Pretty much all of these are likely to end in misery. “But Reid, what about a steak house-ery?” What? Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know I was going to be asked questions by a liar. Get out of this article! Come back when you use real words.
4. The shrine you made to her. Believe me when I tell you this: it will not come off as flattering. “Remember that time I cut your hair in biology class? Well, this is where it ended up! Hey, where are you going?”
5. Church —wait for it— of Satan. “Okay, I’m gonna let you pick the goat for the sacrifice. Pick a hearty one! We wouldn’t want to anger the Dark Lord! Hey, where are you going?”
6. The future. You may think this would be exciting, that your blatant disregard for the capabilities of modern physics would impress her, but you don’t know what the future is like. Do I? Yes. Let’s take a look at a few choice phrases and see if these can dissuade you: animal overlords, space-fires, censored internet, forced labor neutron mines, STD wars, homeless robots, even more Fred movies (he’s like 45–it gets creepy).
Heck, if you have a time machine, and you really don’t give a dang about physics, may I suggest the past? The past is great! I mean, here’s just a smattering of all it has to offer: guillotines, the glory days of radio, Visigoths, feather pens, Greco-Roman wrestling. Seriously, the past is awesome.
7. Anywhere surgeries happen. Whether it’s a hospital or a back alley (“What you want? Lung? Extra brain? Lie down and tell me what this rag smells like…”), this is a crucial one to avoid. What? You disagree? Go ahead then. Yeah. Tell me how it goes.
8. Non-animal petting zoo. I’m pretty sure I just made this one up, but I think we can agree there’s something about it that’s … unsettling. (Note: apparently, some people think this refers to a brothel. That … was not what I meant. I literally meant a petting zoo where you pet things that aren’t animals, you know, like lamps, and rocks).
9. The café in a bookstore. This may seem innocent enough, but most likely when you get there the girl will tell you she actually didn’t want to go on a date at all, that she’s not ready to have a boyfriend, and then you’ll both sit there awkwardly for an hour making small talk neither of you enjoy. Then, when you’re done, you’ll probably drive around for 40 minutes listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon to help you deal with emotions. What? This one sounds far too specific to happen commonly, and it’s actually just one of the author’s painful memories? How weeeiiiirrrrdddd (Note: I’m fine now! If you were not aware, I have a girlfriend. She’s very real.)
10. A novelty-themed restaurant. These look fun and goofy, but when you’re planning a date, it’s best to avoid places full of screaming children. Here’s a great example: Mars 2112. This is a space themed restaurant, in which before you actually enter the restaurant, you have to “fly” in a “spaceship” to “Mars,” amid scary sound effects and flashing lights. Then when you get inside, a hideous alien guides you to your table, where a Vulcan informs you that during your meal space monsters may try to attack you, but you can buy laser swords and pistols and fight them off, and there’s all these televisions playing videos of dancing robots, and all the walls are red rocks, and all the food has space names like “Nebula Chili Nachos” and “Copernicus BLT Sandwich,” and on birthdays they sing a space song, and there’s an arcade and and and—you know what? I take it back. Could someone take me on a date here?
Mars 2112, yay or nay?