The most pertinent piece of advice Aziz Ansari gives in his hilarious book about dating in the time of Tinder Modern Romance is to stop going on simple chatting-over-drinks dates:
How do we go about analyzing our options? On dates. And most of the time, boring-ass dates. You have coffee, drinks, a meal, go see a movie. We’re all trying to find someone who excites us, someone who makes us feel like we’ve truly made a connection. Can anyone reach that high bar on the typical, boring dates we all go on?
One of the social scientists I consulted for this book is the Stanford sociologist Robb Willer. Willer said that he had several friends who had taken dates to a monster truck rally. If you aren’t familiar with monster truck rallies, basically these giant-ass trucks, with names like Skull Crusher and Grave Digger, ride up huge dirt hills and do crazy jumps. Sometimes they fly over a bunch of smaller cars or even school buses. Even more nuts, sometimes those trucks assemble into a giant robot truck that literally eats cars. Not joking. It’s called Truckzilla and it’s worth looking into. Frankly, it sounds cool as shit, and I’m looking at tickets for the next one I can attend.
Anyway, for Willer’s friends it started as a plan to do something campy and ironic, since they weren’t big car and truck fans so much as curious about this interesting and kind of bizarre subculture. It turned out to be a great date event: fun, funny, exciting, and different. Instead of the usual boring resume exchange, the couples were placed in an interesting environment and got to really get a sense of their own rapport. Two of the couples he mentioned were still together and happily dating. Sadly, another one of the couples was making out in a small car that was soon run over and crushed by a monster truck named King Krush. Very unfortunate.
In one of our subreddit threads we asked people to tell us about their best first dates, and it was amazing to see how many involved doing things that are easy and accessible but require just a bit more creativity than dinner and a movie.
The dates that are not boring are not all super eccentric things. The common thread is that they weren’t just resume exchanges over a drink or dinner; they were situations in which people could experience interesting things together and learn what it was like to be with someone new.