Everyone, it seems, is constantly looking for enjoyable social experiences, no matter how old or young he may be.
But as anyone who has ever been on a date knows, it can be either an enjoyable or a miserable experience, and generally those that are lackluster experiences are that way simply because no one took the time to make them really enjoyable.
So with an eye to improving the memories and experiences of all who date, in both group and twosome dating, the following ideas are presented.
They are (drum roll and bugles, please!) the Ten Top Dates of 1971:
1. Star in Your Own Spectacular. Arrange with four to six couples to each bring a box lunch and several funny, weird costumes or some old clothes. Take a movie camera and several rolls of film and head for the nearest interesting site—perhaps a ghost town, a seaport shanty, a Japanese pagoda, a historical site, or a beautiful scenic mountain or seacoast locale. When you arrive, assign everyone a part and let the cast put on their costumes. Let them suggest plot and actions and then begin filming your own do-it-yourself superspectacular, with all cast members competing for Oscars. After finishing the movie, everyone relaxes with box lunches. This date almost guarantees a second fun experience, because a few weeks later a follow-up party brings everyone together again to view the completed film, with Oscars going to the best, worst, and funniest performances. This is a superb way to fill a memory bank.
2. A View and You—by Candlelight. In the late afternoon two couples are picked up in a chauffeur-driven car (the chauffeur being a friend or member of the family of one of the boys) and taken to a designated place where tandem bicycles await, guarded by a younger brother dressed in some sort of uniform. After leisurely riding and chatting for an hour, the two couples arrive at some scenic view—a mountainside, a seaside, a lake, a river, or a hill. At a prearranged time, the “chauffeur” returns, whisks from the car a card table, four chairs, a lace tablecloth, a candelabrum with lighted candles, pizza, soft drinks, salad, sweets, and voila! A candlelight supper with a view—and you! Again your chauffeur returns at a prearranged time, after you have eaten and watched a beautiful sunset. He clears the table, returns everything to the car, and departs, leaving the two couples to take a leisurely return ride home by bike.
3. Wash-the-Wagon Date. Each couple brings a car that needs washing and plenty of buckets and soap. It is advisable to wear bathing suits or grubbies, because most of the fun will happen after the cars are washed and a water fight ensues, using balloon-and-bucket props. Rules should be drawn up and the fun confined to those at the party—no attacking of passing cars or pedestrians! Conclude with plenty of towels and hot stew, homemade bread, jam, and salad. A camera is always a good way to record the hits and provide future enjoyment. This date is lots of fun for neighborhood parties, where group dating is just the thing.
4. Create Your Own Masterpiece. A most memorable date can be a creative experience in which you and your date make something together. How about writing a children’s storybook and illustrating it with pictures cut out of magazines? This is an activity made to order for one, two, or three couples, and it guarantees an evening’s time spent in fun and thoughtful endeavor. The finished book could be given to a member of the family for a birthday or to a child in the hospital. This idea is great for a wet or wintery evening. Chili or stew served with fruit, cheese, and sweet rolls will nourish the hungry authors. If you really want to get to know a person better, if you want to know what he likes and thinks and feels, creative dates like this are the finest!
5. Paint-the-Town Date, or A Tom Sawyer Special. To two couples, add four paintbrushes and several gallons of paint. Find a widow or a family with a fence, garage, home, or barn that needs painting or find something around your own home that needs to be brightened up. Make all arrangements previously with the owner as to color, kind of paint, and so forth. One young couple painted the girl’s father’s cement mixer with a wild assortment of colored flowers. A backyard barbecue may complete the afternoon, or aluminum foil dinners of meat, potatoes, onions, and carrots cooked in coals will carry out the Tom Sawyer theme. If you wish, you can ask the couples to dress like Tom or Huck Finn. The best results from this date are the warm and productive feelings you gain from having made one spot on earth more beautiful.
6. A Sew-Sew Date. Clothing is so individual and cosmopolitan, why not get together with another couple and spend an evening creating a specialty, such as a leather vest, a belt, a wallet, or a purse? One fellow bought an inexpensive blue denim jacket and then faced the front with leather. Macramé is also fun. Another couple made for a younger brother a cute sleeping bag in the shape of an alligator. Finish the evening with pancakes, bacon, and eggs.
7. A Kindergarten Date. Call four to six couples, tell them to come dressed in playclothes, and meet at the local school playground. Play all the silly little games you played in grade school, such as drop the handkerchief; run, sheepie, run; London Bridge is falling down; kick the can. Be sure to bone up on all the rules of the games beforehand. Use the playground equipment. Also have everyone bring or tell about his favorite childhood comic magazine or the story that was his favorite when he was six. Afterward, go to the home of one of the girls and fingerpaint and make ice cream. Top off the party with hamburgers and ice cream. If you want to turn this into a special party or a birthday party for one of the fellows or girls, secretly collect baby pictures and a funny story about each person from parents or family members. Then type up each story, without using names, and attach the baby pictures. After eating, everyone tries to guess which baby picture and story belongs to which person. The results can be hilarious.
8. The Play Is the Thing, or “To Be or Not to Be.” Choose a short play, preferably a comedy. Have as many copies made as there are characters in the play; then invite a corresponding number of people. Don’t worry about the number of girls or boys in the play, because sometimes it is more fun for a girl to take a man’s part and vice versa. Upon arrival, each person is given a script and is asked to choose his or her part. Each couple is allowed a few moments to look over the script. Then, with appropriate sound effects and music, the play begins. Each person reads his part and acts out his character, making his own sound effects or being helped by others. The evening may conclude with fondue or fix-it-yourself sandwiches and sundaes.
9. An International Holiday. Plan with three or four other couples to celebrate the Chinese New Year, Jewish Rosh Hashanah or Hanukkah, Hawaiian Kuhio Day, Irish St. Patrick’s Day, Mexican Cinco de Mayo, or any one of the many holidays from the nations of the world. Find out what the people do on their special holiday, what they traditionally eat, how they celebrate, and why. This may take a bit of study and planning, but it can be very rewarding and interesting. With so many returned missionaries to aid you, this shouldn’t be difficult. One young couple celebrated the Chinese New Year with firecrackers and a Chinese dinner served on a low table. Everyone ate while seated on cushions on the floor. After dinner each person was given a piece of paper and asked to think up an original Chinese proverb. The host couple gave a brief account of how the Chinese celebrate their new year. Background music and artwork from the country had been checked out of the local library, and for a few special hours, everyone enjoyed being part of a distant land.
10. Happiness is … This is a date where you do something for someone else, such as—
—Planning and preparing a special family night for her (his) family, complete with lesson, games, and treats. If agreeable, the couple’s families could join together.
—Gathering up your little brothers and sisters and some of the neighborhood kids and flying kites or playing ball with them or taking them on a hike or a picnic.
—Making some goodies and taking them to someone you know who is ill or housebound.
—Ultimately being worthy to accept the greatest date of all, going to the temple of the Lord.
After checking the above ten suggestions, it is easy to see that for the most successful and memorable dates you need to—
1. Plan ahead, even for informal dates. Most girls cringe when a boy arrives for a date and asks, “What do you want to do?”
2. Realize that movies and spectator entertainment won’t help you to get to know a person very well; making and creating things together will—and it will also be the most fun.
3. Double date or plan dates with four to six couples, depending upon the activity.
4. Keep your dates fairly simple and inexpensive.
Novel and enjoyable ideas for twosome or group dating or for group activities and experiences (either social or involvement-type experiences) are important to all of us. So let’s share the good ideas by sending yours in to the New Era to appear regularly in the FYI department. Hopefully, your idea will be based on an actual experience. You must send enough information so that others could duplicate the activities, giving all necessary details. Send entries to FYI, New Era, 79 South State Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111.