Kendrick and I go to the movies a lot.
It’s partially because we really like going to the movies – I personally enjoy the experience of being required to do absolutely nothing at all except for ingest salt-encrusted carbohydrates for two hours – but also partially because over time going to the movies has kind of become our default date. We don’t even usually go to dinner beforehand, because honestly? I am a crazy popcorn person and would rather eat more popcorn than less popcorn, and I don’t want to spoil my appetite with things like actual food.
Default Dating is something that happens to lots of couples, especially those who have been together for awhile. And there’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s not exactly…exciting. Or memory-making. It feels good just to get out, of course, but not like “dating” used to feel, which was sort of…great.
We make an effort to do lots of out-of-the-box-style activities with our son pretty much every weekend, but it’s rare that we take off on an adventure on our own. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that doing cool stuff together can be something that sort of gets away from you if you don’t pay attention.
I want to pay attention.
I remember hearing about the NYC-based dating company HowAboutWe a couple of years ago, when a single friend told me she had been on some dates using the service and had loved it, and when I recently learned that they had expanded into a couples division…well, everything about it – cool, offbeat dates geared at helping couples have mini-adventures of their own – sounded like something we needed to try. Basically, what HowAboutWe For Couples does is curate a collection of unconventional date “experiences” at a price significantly lower than the retail value of the date. Members pick the activities they’re into, and off they go; the company does the hard part (that whole “thinking up cool stuff and finding out where it’s at” bit), and you get to have all the fun.
For our 5-year anniversary, our original plan was to go to our favorite riverside restaurant for dinner and then to see We’re The Millers. And while I’m still looking forward to a night out at that particular restaurant and seeing that particular movie…it’s our five-year anniversary. That’s a big one. And so I decided to use HowAboutWe to surprise Kendrick with something totally new.
I scrolled through the options, considered dates involving things like bike tours and whiskey tasting and dumpling-making …and then thought: you know what?
We have never done a sporty-type date before. I suppose on our own we’re both respectably athletic(ish; me much less so than Kendrick), but we’re just not one of those couples who go off hiking and jogging and bike-riding in our free time.
I wanted something that we wouldn’t just “do” together, but would actually experience together, if that makes any sense. And so what I chose was a private rock-climbing lesson for two at Chelsea Piers that turned out to be a full-on gymnastics class: we started out on the rock wall, but then our instructor let us do…basically whatever we wanted.
We did flips on the trampoline (my favorite part), parkour (military-style obstacle training; Kendrick’s favorite part), the balance beam…
And standing front tucks into A FOAM PIT.
The doofy smile is because that would be the realization of a personal childhood fantasy, right there.
For Part Two of our date (also booked through HowAboutWe), I de-sweated as much as possible and put on a pair of heels, and we made our way over to The Cookshop for oysters, fluke carpaccio, and a chocolate-almond torte. Something about trying a brand-new restaurant in the city that formed the backdrop of nearly all of those years we’ve been together, picking off of each others’ plates and actually talking for two and a half full hours – how it felt kind of weird just because we don’t do it all that often and great for much the same reason…I guess it sort of made us remember what we’re doing together to begin with.
Things may be lovely just as they are, but it’s always good to remember where we can go. Which is anywhere we want.
If any of you would like to try HowAboutWe for yourself, you can sign up and browse dates for free…and the company is offering Ramshackle Glam readers $50 off of any date in the collection using this link. Honestly: try it. I’m positive you’ll think it’s as great as we did, and I’d love to hear about what you do.