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I’ve been in the dating game a long time. It’s been over a decade since my first date in eighth grade (we watched The Aviator, which runs nearly a full three hours, and I still never managed to get up the nerve to make a move), and I’m still figuring them out. However, one thing I have managed to hammer down in my years of trial and error is that where you want to go is very dependent on your age. Luckily, I broke it down for you, so you don’t have to make my mistakes.
13-15 years old: “Watch” A Movie
You already know this one. Where else can a teenager with no driver’s license go for some alone time where it’s (somewhat) socially acceptable to make out? Get your respective parents to drop you off at the theater, head to the last row of seats, and make out like your life depended on it. Who care if people are grossed out, they’re all old fogeys who don’t remember what it’s like to enjoy life. Hell, I got my first handjob in a movie theater, and I’m not ashamed to admit that at all.
16-18 years old: Mini Golf
At an age when there are very few first dates, it’s not hard to raise the bar. When everyone is hooking up at parties/the backseat of cars, any sober event that doesn’t take place in the backseat of a shitty Toyota Camry is romantic AF. Mini golf is fun, it’s cheap, and there’s an activity so you don’t have to think too much about holding a conversation. Basically, mini golf is dating with training wheels.
19-22 years old: Dinner Date
The fact that dating in college is fairly nonexistent combined with not everyone being of legal drinking age really leaves dinner as the only good option. When you’re 20-years-old, but want to come across as “mature” and “sophisticated” compared to your peers, this is the move. Sure, it’s cliché, and there’s nothing sophisticated about getting dinner at Sizzler, but both you and your date are too young to know that. You know what they say; “True love is sharing a flask of shitty wine while eating $10 entrees in the booth of a diner.”
23-27 years old: “Grab Drinks”
For most people, this is when the true dating game starts. I’m talking first dates, trying to forge a connection, casually dating multiple people, hell, even not sleeping together on the first night. Some real classy shit. Getting drinks is the best move here. Sure, it gets hate for not being original or romantic, but the truth is, that’s not what first dates are about. First dates are like phone interviews. You’re both feeling each other out, and making sure there aren’t any glaring red flags before really committing to getting to know each other better.
“Grabbing drinks” is the perfect date for this. It’s a casual commitment that could turn into something more serious, like late-night dinner, or bar hopping, or it could end after two drinks when you realize they’re still “friends with all their exes.” The lack of time, money, or emotional commitment right off the bat lets everyone date outside of their “type,” and get to know people they may not have given a chance for a more serious date. Plus, alcohol makes everything easier and less awkward.
28-38 years old: Hiking or Concerts
While it may seem that going on a hike or going to a concert are too wildly different types of dates, they are actually saying the same thing: “I’m still young.” Now, it’s not like your you’re old by any means, but don’t lie, you don’t feel like you did in your early twenties. You’ve strained a muscle sleeping wrong. You’ve gone to bed at 8 p.m. on a Friday night. You’ve thought about buying a weekly pill container for all the vitamins you take. Everyone’s feeling the effects of aging, and everyone is faking youth and exuberance.
Going on a hike says, “I’m still in good shape, and I do things other than just get drunk.” While many people this age in the dating pool have succumbed to the postgrad weight gain and are only seen in a desk chair, a bar stool, or a La-Z-Boy, you’ll shine like a beautiful, muscle-definition-having star.
A concert says, “I’m a young buck who can party all night and still go into work the next day, unlike all these old losers who can barely stay up past the evening news.” Sure, you’ll be a waste of space at work the next day, but your date doesn’t have to know that.
39-50 years old: Anything Expensive
I’ll just say what you already know: you’re past your prime. You don’t look like you did at 25, you can’t do what you did at 25, and if try and take shots, you’ll be too hungover to function for three days. The only part of your dating profile that isn’t on the decline is your financial status. Without a family to drain your resources at this point in your life, you likely have a good amount of disposable income, and it’s time to spend some. Take your date to an expensive charity gala. Go sailing in the marina. Dine at a Michelin-rated restaurant. “Accidentally” drop a stack of c-notes at your date’s feet if you have to, just make sure you look like you’re rolling in it.
51-69 years old: “Grab Drinks”
That’s right, baby. Back to the old staple. Your kids have finally all left the house, and you’ve been out of the game since your divorce a decade or two ago. You’re rusty. They’re rusty. Don’t get fancy, just stick to the basics. Open up that bottle of ’99 Cab and let alcohol do the heavy lifting. It’s like riding a bike.
70+ years old: “Watch” A Movie
At your age, there’s no time to waste on games. You don’t have a driver’s license (after you took out a mailbox two years ago because you forgot to wear your glasses), and you’re not going anywhere you have to change out of your comfy pants for. Have your respective kids drop you off at the matinee showing of Casablanca and head to the back row to make out like your life depends on it. Who cares if people are grossed out, they’re all youths who don’t realize the fleeting nature of life. .