My partner and I will celebrate our two year dating anniversary just after Valentine’s Day this year. We generally celebrate by going to see a show, but, if we were to be super romantic, we would actually get a takeaway and play video games together. Why? Because that was what we did on our first date.
Including activities in dates is important to us. My mom always insists that having activities and games are an essential part of any party or gathering. I think she is right. My partner and I recently went on an ordinary dinner date and we instantly regretted it. Next time, we are going to do a cooking class.
But back to the beginning. Back all the way to before the first date. First dates are hard. Hell, just meeting people in a new city is hard. Which is, to my non-online dating self, the first hurdle. Two years ago, I was on the lookout for a new friend group. I had only moved to this country half a year before for my MFA and while I had my academic arts friends, I wanted to talk about video games again. So I went on a search for nerds, but not just any nerds, nerds that enjoyed being active. I was looking for an activity where I would meet these kinds of people and was struggling. I then remembered about the Society for Creative Anachronism where people dressed in pre-17th century garb compete in tournaments, attend feasts, and learn other arts and skills of the time. I thought that joining their fight practice would be a fun way for me to meet the type of friends I was looking for and that is how I came to the decision to join the Society for Creative Anachronism and learn to sword fight.
This went brilliantly. While I no longer have time to keep up my sword fighting skills, the friends I made are a huge part of my life. They are also now my weekly table-top gaming group, something I had always wanted but never had the right friends. During my first weeks, I was invited to join my new friends at a LRP event called Empire. I was a bit nervous about going and was told that I wasn’t the only newbie as my partner-to-be was considering going and that he had never been before, same as me. This is how my partner and I began to talk.
It would have been lovely to say that we met and fell in love during a dramatic sword fight in full armor, but alas, I was learning heavy combat and he was in medieval fencing. It wasn’t until I sent him a message on Facebook asking if he was going to the LRP and, if so, what character was he thinking of making that we actually started talking. We got to know each other by pouring over pages in the Empire wiki and making lists of materials we needed to buy to prepare for the event. Like thermals and sensible shoes. It wasn’t very romantic.
A couple weeks later, just after Valentine’s Day when I went on an accidental date (that is another story entirely), he asked me out after sword fighting practice. He wanted to go on a boring dinner date, which I then vetoed. I am a fan of activities on dates. I find this works much better. So I recommended that we grab some takeaway and head to Heart of Gaming arcade in North Acton. We spent the night trash talking as we played Mortal Kombat and various other video games.
It was a good date. I enjoy a bit of competition on a date. I feel it alleviates the pressure of conversation that is often felt in a dinner date. You can ask how many siblings they have but with the question punctuated with “I will end you!” and “Ha! I win!” This is much more fun.
Things only escalated from there. There is nothing like on your third or fourth date, standing next to someone you are just beginning to connect with, in armour, holding latex weapons, as hundreds of orcs begin to appear over the hill. Now this level of excitement may not be for everyone. Indeed a cooking class or a treasure hunt may be more your speed, but I say go for it. Put down the menus and try having an adventure.