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Elevate Any Date: Tips to Creating An Unforgettable Adventure

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You’re Creative! TALENTED! FULL of ideas! In fact, you’re a bottom­less pit of innovation, curiosity and fun! Then why are you such a boring date? Dinner? A movie? A walk in the park? Yawn. What next? A carriage ride? Noooooo … Here’s a little secret: if you really want to impress a woman, show her something new. Give her an experience she’s never had before. Trust me: if you do it properly, she’ll return the favour later that night.

The trick is to set up a situation that can spark intimacy-building conversation. “A great date is about ‘me too’ moments,” says Nicholas Boothman, author of How To Make Someone Love You Forever In 90 Minutes Or Less. “It’s also about self-disclosure, where you grow closer by exchanging ideas, feelings, hopes and vulnerabilities.” Here, then, are five dates every man has in his arsenal- and the ways you can elevate them to a new level.

1 DINNER AND A MOVIE

Your upgrade Shift the scenes.

With just a little ingenuity, you can invigorate this crusty old standby. First of all, rearrange the order: see the movie before dinner. Then “replace the coke and popcorn with an appetiser that bridges itself with the movie,” says sex therapist and dating coach Eric Marlowe Garrison. Catch­ing an Italian flick? “Wrap a few slices of prosciutto around some honeydew melon, and sneak in two plastic wine glasses and some vino.” Sure, it’s against the rules, but that’s the point. Have fun with it.

Seeing the early show and then sitting down for a later meal can also put you on common ground, no matter how different your days may have been, says Garrison. “And it provides some good conversation openers.” Ask her what her favourite movie was as a kid and what it is now, or which director she feels could best tell her story. The idea, Garrison stresses, is to create an evening with a sense of romantic fluidity, with one thing leading to the other.

2 EVENING STROLL IN THE PARK

Your upgrade Give her the universe, too.

It’s one thing to point up at the sky and blurt out, “Orion’s Belt!” That’ll likely be the beginning and end of that conversation. Instead, show her some celestial sights up close. A glimpse of Saturn’s rings or Jupiter’s moons through even the most modest equip­ment should make her melt, not only because they’re gorgeous to look at, but also because seeing them first-hand makes them real in a way no Rubble photo can. Plus, it’s a natural way to start a conversation about Big Stuff. “Looking at the night sky is great for encour­aging discussion about those things we all think about but don’t discuss much in daily life,” says Dr Yvonne Fulbright, sex educator and author of Pleasuring: The Secrets To Sex­ual Satisfaction. “It can range from where we come from to what else is out there.” You don’t want to wrestle with ungainly gear that you have trouble operating, so err on the side of simple, says Artie Kunhardt of the New York Amateur Astronomers Association. Kunhardt suggests buying a star chart, a pair of7x50 binoculars and a small photo tripod. (Find gear at www.orms.co.za.) Kunhardt also recommends printing out a chart ofthat evening’s celestial highlights. (Download the star chart software for your coordinates from www.stellarium.org.) Use this in addition to the star chart, which doesn’t show the exact positions of the stars because they change on a nightly basis. Then kick back and show her that heaven exists.

3 WATCHING THE SUNSET

Your upgrade Paint it.

Dates are filled with potentially roman­tic moments. Sadly, many of these moments are cliches – the carriage ride through the park, the New Year’s Eve kiss, sunset on the beach. This can work against you. “When we try too hard or in predictable ways to create intimacy, we generally fail,” says Dr Scott Stanley, co-director of the University of Denver’s Centre for Marital and Family Studies and author of The Power of Commit­ment. “Intimacy is about revealing the self, but the self isn’t revealed on command.” That’s why a paint set might just totally kick the bottle of wine’s arse as the must­have accessory for an unforgettable sunset. You’re both painting the same thing, but your final products are going to be completely different, Stanley says. Talking about why her sun is all the way to the left when yours is in the middle, for instance, will be a far more revealing conversation than the usual tell-me-about-your-parents fare. “Being creative together reveals parts
of the self – your values, dreams, fears,” Stanley says. “And no one has to be interro­gated or feel threatened or exposed. It comes out very organically in creative expression.” Before you stake out your picturesque view, head to www.artxpress.co.za for your paints, easels and canvases. Helpful tip: stick with quick-drying, water-based acrylics and bring a tube of white. Painters use white to soften and mix colours and, of course, fix mistakes.

4 SUNDAY DRIVE

Your upgrade Stage home invasions.

Take advantage of the fore-sale homes on the market and go on an open-house tour. Dr Marianne Brandon, co-author of Reclaiming Desire: Four Keys To Finding Your Lost Libido, says such adventures are great for setting up scores of insightful exchanges. “You get to see that person’s taste, and because you’re looking at homes, this brings up memories for both of you, and interesting things to discuss,” she says. As you scan the open-house ads in the paper, go for variety – from modest older homes that might help you explore each other’s past and more immediate nesting urges, to the more expensive starter mansions that reveal your aspirations. “Looking at homes is a great way to encourage a natural, organic conversa­tion about what you want from the future – how you see your lives unfolding,” says Dr Herb Goldberg, author of What Men Still Don’t Know About Women, Relationships and Love.

5 SMACKING GOLF BALLS

Your upgrade Shoot clay birds.

Hitting the driving range may be fun, but it’s not anything she hasn’t done a mil­lion times before. But exploding a of clay disks with a shotgun? Now, surprise her. “Most women have before, and they’re fascinated once do,” says Paula d’Autremont, at the Angeles Shooting Ranges. “And I would say 90 percent women who come here are better the men. A woman wants to take and do it right, while men mostly to shoot off a whole box of ammo.” Wacky as this might sound, a round of competitive trap shooting first date. “If you’re sitting in a staring at each other, it’s a lot the conversation,” says Stanley. “But with a target and equipment is so and focused. Put your anxiety into the conversation flows freely.” Clay Target Shooting Association Africa at www.etsasa.co.za for more info.

© Men’s Health 2009

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Lover of gadgets, men's culture, cool stuff, Earl Grey tea and all things manly. An optimist in his prime. When he's not keeping the wheels turning at Mantality HQ you'll find him trawling the web, and visiting trade shows to find the newest and coolest gadgets. During his down time he's usually with his 2 dogs, on the golf course, cycling or basking in the literary company of Oscar Wilde, Bret Easton Ellis or Martin Amis whilst drinking espresso strong enough to strip paint.

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