Rate the date spot


Diana Kohr

Headline with cupid arrow

Nicole Ong and Dhriti Iyer

Ah, Valentine’s Day: the time of year when grocery stores start carrying sappy heart-wielding teddy bears and corny (almost cringeworthy) greeting cards. Whether it means cheesy pick-up lines or the biggest bouquet of roses you can afford, finding the perfect place for a date can be the most arduous part of this holiday. Drawing inspiration from iconic romantic movies of our generation, we tried out these classic date ideas from beloved rom coms.

Chocolate Tasting

Let me be clear: most things are better when Rachel McAdams does it. This is no exception. In the scene from “The Vow” where they tasted chocolates and attempted to guess the flavors over dinner, both parties were happily munching on their chocolates and laughing over the assortment. We tried to do the same, tasting these chocolates alongside a meal at a local restaurant. We picked a $12 box of chocolates, but regardless of our choices, the idea is pretty accessible overall – whether you prefer an expensive, fair-trade, small-batch chocolate or the standard grocery store Valentine’s Day box, the experience comes out relatively similar. I went into this hoping that any of the typical first date awkward conversations could be recentered around the chocolate; don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate (really, who doesn’t?), but most of the chocolate-centered talk consists of “Yeah. I think this one’s got hazelnuts,” or “I don’t really like white chocolate.” This date idea seems pretty hit or miss to begin with: if you don’t have anything to talk about from the start, chocolate tasting won’t fill any awkward silences.  – Nicole

Despite the sweet scene from “The Vow” where Rachel McAdams and her husband have a dinner date tasting chocolates, this idea is a bit weak for a first date. In the movie, the couple enjoyed a night of laughter, enjoying their chocolate assortment. On our date, we attempted to replicate their date at a local cafe. Before purchasing our breakfast, we snacked on the chocolate and attempted the guess the flavors.  While the chocolate itself was enjoyable, it only held our attention for so long. I found that after a while I started feeling sick from the overwhelming sweetness and eventually all the flavors began to blend together. As someone who isn’t the biggest fan of chocolate, this date was definitely not as enjoyable as it could have been. The idea would definitely work much better incorporated into another date such as a dinner or a picnic, where there is more time to get to know the other person. Diving straight into a chocolate-picking competition may hinder the process of the two people getting to know each other. Get to know each other a bit before diving into the challenge. – Dhriti

Books and Breakfeast

As a huge book nerd, I think this one’s a hit. You can tell a lot about a person from their taste in books, and someone’s most favorite and most hated books can spark instant discussion. Even if one specific book isn’t your or your date’s favorite, there are plenty more to peruse. Independently-owned bookstores in downtown areas tend be my favorite for this: there’s not much of that polished feel that a Target book aisle has—it’s far more genuine. Some bookstores even do “blind dates with a book,” where they wrap up books and label them with key features like genre and subject, and you pick what you fancy; it’s the perfect surprise for a morning date. Following up the bookstore visit with breakfast is a great idea—even if you both have nothing great to talk about during the meal, at least you can bring up the books (whether to laugh at or discuss them with admiration, that’s up to you). If you’re a bookworm, this might be the first date for you; if not, perhaps switch the bookstore for a shopping experience that fits you or your date. Regardless, this setup is a perfect opportunity to comfortably ease into getting to know your date. – Nicole

Avid booklovers and rom-com fans will adore this date. Small, local bookstores often hold unexpected treasures, which are always fun to discover and share with others. We modeled our date after a date from the movie “Dan in Real Life,” where the lead character Dan selects books for Marie, based on her favorite genres. The pair enjoy an adorable evening discussing their interests and bonding over their mutual love for literature. We planned out a variation of this date for ourselves, including breakfast and a trip to  a local bookstore. After indulging in some delicious breakfast, we walked over to a recycled bookstore that offered various used books, leather-bound books and a “book-blind date” that allowed you to purchase a book from a certain genre without seeing the cover. I really enjoyed this experience and found that it really offered up numerous opportunities for conversation. A way to spice this idea would be to choose a book for your partner based on their preferences and spend time reading it after. This date allows you to truly get to know the other person and learn about the way they perceive the world around them. – Dhriti