As a college student hungry to create my own “I’m Shmacked”-esque memories, I’m more than prepared to make these four years a story to live on. That means that at least occasionally, Netflix and chill won’t cut it when I’m retelling the days of my youth. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve saved a lot of money watching “Narcos” as a date, but I certainly wasn’t impressed hearing “ I dunno, wanna just watch Netflix?” when making plans with a cute guy.
There’s so much more to a romantic evening than trying to inch your arm over a girl’s shoulder while a computer screen distracts her. So don’t let Netflix and chill destroy your sex life just because you and bae are too broke to go on authentic dates. Keep things interesting by carrying out these three, cheap date ideas that can be done right on your college campus.
Fine Dining at the Dining Hall
Ever had the fantasy of turning heads when you walk into a room? What if I told you that this date idea will do just that.
Enter the school dining hall dressed head to toe in your fanciest gear. Sharply dressed from your nicest tie to your favorite pair of underwear, you should feel good about yourself as you walk hand in hand with your date to the table of her choice. (Chivalry, my friend.)
Keep in mind, dressing up for this date is of the utmost importance; you’re trying to set this evening apart from a normal night of grabbing dinner with a friend. So once your lady is seated, set the table to match the style of the night. You can never go wrong with tablecloth and a lit candle to once again remind those surrounding you of your classiness.
As for the cheap part, indulge on whatever meal options your dining hall has to offer. It won’t be the gourmet experience you can buy outside of campus, but as your date sits across from you eating her meal, smiling at the thought of jealous girlfriends pointing at her and saying “Can we do that?” you’re going to see how happy you’ve made her.
Eating food together can seem like a lazy way to spend time with someone, but if you put forth the effort and confidence you can create a moment that means a lot to her. Give her an experience that makes her think to herself, “I can’t believe we’re doing this.”
He(arts) and Crafts
On this date you’ll need to load up on paint supplies and wine. For those of you thinking to yourself, “Hey, I thought I wouldn’t have to go broke trying to do this,” you can’t go wrong buying $12 wine at the local grocery store. These dates are cheap, not free.
You’re going to want to kick your roommate out for this one.
Once your date comes over sit yourselves down wherever you feel most comfortable and fill your glasses with that $12 wine mentioned earlier (as you can see, I really like mentioning how low the price is). The focus of the evening is to paint each other. At first it could seem awkward to let another person closely study your features, but as time passes you both should encourage one another to be confident.
Whatever you both decide to put on the canvas can be anything from capturing your favorite physical trait of the other to full-bodied portrait. Worse comes to worst, you can break the tension by showing them your shitty painting. People like someone who can make them laugh, anyway.
A date worth going on should break barriers. Sure, that could be accomplished by making conversation, but even then some discussions can feel forced. The emphasis of this evening is to create comfortable vibes between you and your lady that melt away the pressure of trying to impress one another. Maybe Jack was on to something when he was drawing those French girls.
The Date Must Go On
Nothing shows a girl more promise than a guy who puts effort into planning, and nothing screams planning like buying her tickets to see a theatrical production. Just ask that theater kid you know who always gets laid. Just kidding, he probably won’t answer you because he’s busy taking a girl to see “Hamilton.”
Theater is an extraordinary experience that audiences pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars to go see. However, bringing a date to watch a show on your very own campus won’t have to cost you your week’s paycheck.
What many college students either don’t know or simply don’t take advantage of is that their schools offer them discounted ticket prices to see scheduled productions from outside performers as well as student performers.
Plus, theater is a broad term, so even if your date might not enjoy musical theater, she might love the idea an interactive show where you can sit with the actors and be a part of the performance.
It’s also the little things like keeping the playbills or taking home a souvenir that adds to the excitement. Growing up my family would buy a mug at every Broadway musical we saw, even if there wasn’t any room left in the cabinet.
As a playwright, I can’t emphasize enough how strong theater’s ability is to evoke introspection and emotion. So once the performance is finished take her out for coffee and go on a walk as you both reflect on what you guys took from the show. Dates can start off awkward, but by the end of the night you’ll find yourselves feeling more relaxed and ready to talk. If after all of that you still can’t find anything to say, then my only advice left is “Break a leg!”