Spice up your Valentine’s date this year with an evening that’s a little out of the ordinary.
Candlelit Italian dinners, clinking Cabernets, chocolate-covered strawberries, long walks on the beach…. You get the picture. These are all lovely, romantic Valentine’s dates, albeit a bit clichéd. But here’s the thing: sometimes romance is a tad overrated and innovation is slightly underrated.
If you and your Valentine want to try something different and more spontaneous this year, consider taking a hiatus from Cupid’s typical plans with some of these uncommon Valentine’s dates.
1. Running Just as Fast as We Can
Throw on your jogging suits and begin sprinting as a couple in one direction for as long as you can. Whoever gets tired and gives up first has to pay for a driver to get you both home. And however much the ride costs, the winner gets to buy a gift for themselves for the same amount. Over-the-top adorable couples may want to invest in coordinating workout apparel should this date become an annual favorite.
On a budget? Hitchhike home. Loser gives winner a foot massage, and see where it leads you.
2. Supermarket Sweep
Similar to the 1990s game show, head to the grocery store and set a timer for five minutes. Each person has to plan a meal, grab the ingredients they need and meet at the checkout counter before the timer goes off. Go home and prepare your creative entrées for one another. Offer prizes of your choosing for the tastiest or most creative meal.
On a budget? Do the same sweep out of your freezer and pantry at home. (Note: items such as frozen pizza or ramen do not qualify as innovative dishes.)
3. Doing Good
It has been said that couples who volunteer together grow together. There are countless volunteer opportunities for any interest, from animal shelters to nursing homes to homeless shelters. Additionally, grassroots organizations like Triple Threat Mentoring and Feed My Starving Children make volunteering a blast and could even become a regular activity for the two of you. You could also just do something off the cuff for a neighbor or friend, such as babysit their kids so they can go out. (For couples considering having children, this is a great opportunity to see how your partner interacts with children — or it could serve as birth control. For couples with adult kids of your own, you can enter the nostalgia of days gone by or thank your lucky stars that the nest is empty, depending on how the evening goes!)
On a budget? This one should be free. If you’re paying to volunteer, you might be getting scammed!
4. Competition de Flatulence (Translation: Farting Contest)
There’s nothing like a little healthy competition. Go to a greasy hamburger joint. Eat up. Go home and let ’er rip. You may want to decide ahead of time whether sound or smell merits more points. If this completely repulses you or you’re not a gassy person, then consider other high-intensity competitive sports, such as Skee-Ball or air hockey.
On a budget? Skip the hamburger joint. Instead purchase two heads of broccoli, eat them as fast as you can, and let the fun begin. Not a fan of farts but can’t afford the arcade? Compete in your living room with the home gaming system or board game of your choice.
Sit at a bustling restaurant, town center, marketplace or mall. Try to guess people’s interactions and conversations from afar based on body language. For couples who’ve been together for a long time, you may be able to read each other’s minds when observing the same scene. For newly partnered pairs, this activity opens your eyes to your date’s insights and outlooks.
On a budget? Pack some snacks and sit on a park bench in a busy area and begin the people-gazing.
6. Horizon Expansion
Studies show that self-expansion is a key aspect of relationship satisfaction. Couples who find one another interesting and challenge one another to new areas of growth report the greatest levels of happiness in their relationships. For those newly dating, these actions can be as small as introducing one another to new friends, watching an interesting show or movie together or sharing new ideas. For mature couples, this could be overcoming longtime fears together, such as bungee jumping, a high ropes course, traveling to exotic places or trying something else you’ve always been nervous to do.
On a budget? Sit down and make a bucket list of large and small milestones you’d like to achieve together, whether traveling or learning a new hobby. Write down a plan including specific action steps to achieve your goals. Even just the act of dreaming about new ventures will be bonding.
No matter what you choose to do, the whole point of a Valentine’s date is to enjoy one another and celebrate your time together as a couple, whether it’s budding love or a life partnership. If none of the ideas above spark your interest, you could, of course, circle back to the candlelit dinner. If you put your creative minds together, you can come up with a twist to make the dinner unique.