By Ray Lucas
THERE WAS A TIME when I was younger that I had legitimate “date moves.” To be frank, my best dating moves were B.C., which any parent understands as occurring “before children.” However, I like to think that at one time, when it came to using a little creativity on dates, I had game.
I still remember my high school date move: My date and I would pick up a carryout order at Rocky’s Italian restaurant and eat picnic-style on the Belvedere way before there was Waterfront Park. Afterwards, we would walk through downtown Louisville at dusk, hitting spots like the Seelbach Hotel lobby and the Belle of Louisville. I realize this sounds a little corny, but considering my high school buddies were taking their dates to Mr. Gatti’s followed by a movie at the Greentree 4 Theatre, it didn’t take much to raise the bar.
For the uninitiated, dating moves refer to a go-to date that you pull out when you are looking to step up your game with someone you feel has long-term dating potential. The unspoken rule on this type of date is that you would never use this on the first or second date. You want to hold it in the reserve in case you feel a special spark and then pull it out of your bag of tricks when the time is right.
As I describe this, I can already feel the rolling eyes of my buddies, my co-workers, my teenage children and, for that matter, my wife. However, I’ve always been a believer that you have to use all the tools God gave you. My dating philosophy is most closely aligned with one of John Mellencamp’s lyrics: “You don’t have to be handsome, but you can’t be shy,” though I would add, “or unoriginal.”
When I started dating my now-wife, we went out on a few preliminary and traditional dates. They included dinner at the BBC, live music at The Backdoor, and meeting friends at O’Sheas. When it came time to set the bar a little higher, I went to my go-to date move – an afternoon of kayaking.
I told her to meet me at my house with swimwear and didn’t tell her much more than that. We drove to Deam Lake, unloaded two kayaks and spent a few hours circling the lake and floating in a cove with our toes in the water. We paddled, talked, splashed water and soaked in the beauty of the lake and the sun. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, right?
Writing this down on paper, it is easy to see that this whole idea of dating moves sounds contrived. However, I would submit that it worked. From high school up until and – especially! – including my wife, I have had the good fortune to date girls a little out of my league.
I have always assumed that most guys have some sort of date they reserve for someone special when she walks into their life. Yet, I had never asked any male friends about this theory until recently.
On a recent guys’ night out with a most decidedly un-scientific sample, I asked a few of my friends about their dating moves.
One, probably one of the better-looking friends I have, stated that he really didn’t have a go-to move. Figures. I guess it’s just us guys with working-class looks that have to work hard at it.
Another one of my friends said with a sly grin that his best dating moves involved his hot tub. He then shared several stories as a testimonial to make his case. He’ll be the first to admit that he’s always been a little on the trashy side, but hey, I’m not judging. Whatever works for you, brother.
The best example of a great dating move came from my friend Dave. He shared that when he was first dating his now wife, he took her to a nice restaurant for dinner. After dinner was over, he asked the waiter to bring one of every dessert on the menu to their table. Then they sat there with six different desserts and half the restaurant watching as they sampled them all.
Say what you will, but at the end of the day, you don’t mess with something if it works. Dave, like me, married way over his head, and I am of the belief that it is bold moves like this that made the difference.
Now I am married, trying to keep up with a career and family, and my dating moves have badly eroded. My wife and I text each other throughout the day to make sure we know who is picking up whom from school, who is picking up groceries and what time the kids need to be dropped off at scouts and play practice. Family life doesn’t leave much hope of sneaking out for a midday paddle. Our recent Saturday afternoon dates have been at Chuck E. Cheese’s birthday parties or grocery shopping at Meijer.
Sadly, I haven’t pulled out a quality date move in a very long while, until recently. With not an ounce of creativity, I booked a babysitter so we could meet two other couples out for a movie and a couple of drinks afterwards at The Exchange Pub + Kitchen. It was a relatively tame night, and we were home and in bed by 10 p.m., but we had a very nice time. Driving home, we vowed to make going out on a monthly date a more frequent habit. With age I have come to see that it’s not the dating move that’s critical; it’s the company you share it with.
My newest dating move: secure the babysitter! Whatever works.
What’s your best dating move? Share it with Ray and if it’s a ringer, he’ll share it in an upcoming issue. Just send an email to him at email@example.com.