Ah romance. It’s that magical thing we live to experience. Relationships are made and broken over it, some people will do anything for it, and lives are changed by it. It’s why we read romance novels, right? We want to experience the blissfully rosy glow of finding new love and getting to know that special someone.
But life isn’t often a romance novel, which we all know well. So, think about it. Some of those scenes out of your favorite romantic book or movie, how would they have really gone down if they’d happened in real life? Well, luckily I’m here to burst your romantic bubble with a smack-down of reality.
1) Long walks on the beach.
This one should be obvious. Sand. Sand everywhere. Sand in places sand should never end up. But even just between your toes might not leave you in the mood for anything other than a pedicure, especially if you have sensitive feet. Plus, the sun and wind. Sunburn? Windburn? One or a combination of the two are likely to ruin your nine-to-five office-cave pale complexion, since the last time your skin got any decent amount of sun was probably 2004. And if you’re lucky enough to get a second date a few days later, chapped lips and dry flaking cheeks are not going to match any pair of shoes in your wardrobe.
2) Night clubbing and dancing.
Even in my twenties, night clubbing was never my thing. The noise. The epileptic fit-inducing lights. The smoke. The drunk idiot who always spills his drink on your dress or in your favorite strappy shoes. I mean, sure, going to a nightclub is probably a great idea if your date is gorgeous, but dumb as a box of hammers and you don’t want to hear a word that comes out of his mouth all night because that would just ruin your fantasy that this gorgeous specimen could be the one. Plus, how many of us can actually dance? I don’t mean standing in one spot and swaying vaguely in time with the music. I mean really dance. Like break out in randomly awesome choreographed moves like we’re living in that movie Step Up and at the end of the night we’re going home with Channing Tatum. Yeah, not so much.
3) Going out for a nice meal.
Oh, SO MANY landmines. What if your date thinks the five glasses of wine you usually drink with dinner is excessive? What if he doesn’t want to see all one thousand, seven hundred and twenty-three pictures on your phone of your dog, cat, cockatiel, nieces, nephews, and random kids in the park you thought were so cute that you imagined they were yours? What if you order something with garlic and then your date silently imposes an impenetrable five-foot minimum distance between the two of you for the rest of the night because your garlic breath could wither a twenty-foot mountain ash tree? Don’t even get me started on what to do if you eat more than your date because you had a single Pop-Tart for breakfast and then lived on eight coffees for the rest of the day and you’re hungry enough that not even a small country could afford to feed you. Who takes the bill for that?
4) Bowling / Ice Skating / Hiking / Any physical activity.
This has disaster written all over it. Maybe you go to the gym, but walking on the treadmill is nothing like hiking up the side of a fricken mountain. And maybe you can smash a few reps on the weights, but tossing a bowling ball in a smooth movement while still maintaining an attractive air is right up there with being able to do the splits and juggle three baby seals at the same time. Not going to happen. And ice skating? Please. Anywhere that requires four layers of clothing is not going to win you any points in the look-at-how-hot-I-can-be-when-I-spend-six-hours-getting-ready department. Getting physical (unless we’re talking about the kind that requires two people to be horizontal) is never going to make for a good first date.
5) The movies.
Think about it. Could anything possibly be more awkward than sitting next to a virtual stranger in the dark for two hours? And then there’s the movies themselves. Do you see a comedy and risk snorting Fanta out your nose when something funny happens on screen just when you take a sip? Do you see a drama? What if it makes you cry and by the time the lights come back on, you face is so puffy your date ends up thinking someone swapped you out for the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man while he wasn’t looking? Do you see an action movie and spend the whole time trying not to cover your ears from the too-loud explosions, or trying not to cover your eyes to avoid seeing the ridiculous amounts of blood spatter? And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that it’s two hours-worth of silence, giving you too much time to get all up in your own head, wondering if you put on too much mascara. Maybe not enough mascara. Or maybe you should have worn your black shoes, not the red ones. Will red heels make him think you’re too easy? What if he invites you to his place for coffee (aka sex) omg you didn’t shave your armpits! Yep, it’s an uncomfortable disaster waiting to happen.
So next time you’re going on a first date, make sure you examine all the pitfalls before agreeing to a plan. And while we might find the one—bad date or not—if you only take one point away from this, remember that none of us are going home with Channing Tatum at the end of the night. Damn it.
Seriously though, since life is very rarely like a romance novel/movie, it just makes sense that romance is the biggest selling genre, and my personal favorite type of content to consume. Who doesn’t enjoy that falling in love experience, even if it’s vicariously through fictional characters? Maybe first dates are risky, but if all else fails, there will always be a romantic book or movie waiting to take the edge off.
Jess Anastasi has been making up stories ever since she can remember. Though her messy handwriting made it hard for anyone else to read them, she wasn’t deterred and now she gets to make up stories for a living. She loves loud music, a good book on a rainy day, and probably spends too much time watching too many TV shows. Jess lives in regional Victoria, Australia, with her very supportive husband, three daughters, two border collie dogs, and one cat who thinks he’s one of the kids.