I know we missed
Valentine’s Day, but I’ve always said love cannot be contained.
Besides: People are always going on dates. People are always
searching for new ways to break out of the regular mold, which is
completely understandable. Dates are try-outs. You’re spending
time with another person to determine how they fit into your life.
Unconventional dates that branch out from “dinner, movie,
drinks” into more adventurous, creative realms provide excellent
feedback for making that determination.
Dates are also a way for established couples to keep things
fresh and exciting, to keep the relationship moving. There’s no
better way than to try something new.
As it happens, most work for friends, too.
Now, some of these dates are silly or out-of-left field. Some
are more serious. And one is a Primal Costanza date—what not to
do. But regardless, they are all worth exploring. And—as
always—I’d love to hear what you’d add.
1) Watch a Movie and Fill In the Dialogue
You know that scene in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
where Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are watching a drive-in movie
without sound and filling in the dialogue themselves? Do the same
thing, only make all the dialogue health and fitness-related. For
example, The Empire Strikes Back would work great.
Just before Han is frozen in carbonite, Leia speaks. “I love
cold therapy, so many benefits. I can send you the PubMed
links.” Han replies. “I know.”
Vader gives Luke the bad news. “Luke, I am a vegan.”
Pick your favorite movie, and try it out yourselves. Drive-ins
aren’t necessary (do they even still have those?); you could just
put the T.V. on mute.
2) Couples’ Spa Day
A couple hundreds years ago, you didn’t really go to the
doctor. You’d go to a spa. Spas were healing centers erected
around natural springs of mineral-rich water. People would bathe in
it (many were hot springs), drink it, and engage in other healthy
pursuits. Many of today’s most popular bottled mineral waters
come from springs that doubled as health spas back in earlier
The average person may think of a spa as a pleasure center, a
superficial luxury. But getting a massage, soaking in hot mineral
water, smearing yourself with mud and/or clay, exposing yourself to
temperatures in the sauna, steam room, and
cold water pool? These are all objectively healthy and
pleasurable experiences with measurable benefits.
Go for a hot soak, followed by a cold plunge. Do the mud bath
thing. Get a deep tissue
massage. Soak in the salty mineral-rich brine. And do it with
your date, as your date.
3) Get Physical
Intense physical exertion—performed together—increases
bonding. You’re sweating, you’re touching, you’re working
hard toward a goal. You’re a team. Make it a little dangerous and
the juices really flow. For the same reason, going to see a scary
movie helps couples get closer.
4) Go Dancing or Take Dance Lessons
the prelude to closer, more intimate physical contact. And it’s
incredibly healthy learning to move with cohesion and fluidity and
precision through constantly varying ranges of motion. Dancers are
some of the most athletic folks around—think b-boys, ballet
dancers, practitioners of modern dance. I’m not a follower of the
show, but seriously just look at an episode of “So You Think You
Can Dance” for plain evidence of their athleticism.
Go dance, or take dance lessons if you can’t dance yet. If the
latter, don’t make this a one-off. Keep the lessons going. Build
that skill together. Move together.
Dancing together in your living room to music on your smartphone
is completely valid, too.
5) Cook the Farmer’s Market
This is a fun little date to try. Carrie and I used to do this
at the Malibu farmer’s market every once in awhile.
Go to every stand, ask the farmer what’s best today, and then
buy that item. If your market is huge, you don’t need to buy from
every single stand. Try to stick to a dozen stands or so just to
keep things manageable.
Be reasonable with the quantities. Otherwise it’ll add up
fast. If, say, the farmer recommends the leeks, buy a couple leeks.
If it’s cauliflower, buy a head. If it’s strawberries, buy a
Go home and create a meal together using only the things you
purchased from the market. Use things like
oil/cooking fat, salt, pepper, and spices from home (unless you
bought them at the market, in which case you get extra points). If
your market doesn’t offer any meat, feel free to incorporate
store-bought meat. But do your best to use only things from the
Prep and cook
it together. There you go, that’s your date.
6) Ten-Mile Date
Walk ten miles, at least. It can be through the
city, the suburbs, or the forest. You can stop at stores,
cafes, museums along the way—it doesn’t have to be ten miles
straight without stopping. But get those ten miles in however you
Roughhousing is universal. It’s also great fun. You
roughhouse. You wrestle, jostle, poke, prod, but you don’t (ever)
hurt each other. You keep things light, engaged, dancing on the
edge of intensity. I
really like Rafe Kelley’s approach. Check out the one where
he and his partner act like their wrists are glued together as they
move around, roll, push, and pull. Or where they stand on a large
log, clasp hands, and try to pull each other off balance. That
stuff is really fun. I’d try any of the videos from that
Another is one-legged tug of war. You each stand on one leg,
clasp the other’s hand, and attempt to pull the other off
balance. If there’s a big weight or strength disparity, have the
stronger person stay on one foot and the weaker person use both.
Put pillows and other soft landing spaces around your
If you’re a man and she’s a woman, there will probably be
some strength disparities. Use your better judgement. Keep things
fair and competitive and fun.
8) Picnic and a Hike
Think back to all the hikes you’ve done, all the wilderness
areas you’ve explored. Were there any perfect picnic spots that
jumped out at you? Maybe a dry pebbly shore next to a gurgling
creek. Maybe a ring of redwoods. Maybe a grassy meadow. Maybe a
beach that only locals know about. If nothing comes to mind, Google
Then pack a lunch and get moving.
9) Stand-Up Paddling
I’m extremely biased.
Stand-up paddling is probably my favorite activity. It’s
training, meditation, adventure, and a fantastic core and rear
delt/lat workout all in one. I’ve seen dolphins, manatees,
whales, and any number of marine life on my board. I’ve hit the
flow state on my board. I’ve finally figured out
meditation being on my board. I’ve woken up with some of the
most intense DOMS
after a long day on my board. My transverse abdominals and obliques
have never been stronger. It’s an all-around great time—and it
makes a great date. We’re no longer youngsters in love, but
Carrie and I have had a lot of good times when I can get her out on
Not everyone has access to a paddle-worthy body of water,
although more than you’d think—rivers, lakes, and reservoirs
all work with a paddle board, not just the ocean. If you can’t
paddle, something similar like kayaking or even cross-country
skiing will work well.
10) Lecture Your Date At Dinner
Make sure your date knows exactly how unhealthy everything he or
she is putting in her mouth.
When he orders pasta, make a face.
When she fails to confirm that the salad dressing was made with
extra virgin olive oil, pull the waiter aside and do it for
When he orders the fish, let him know the Monterey Bay
If she gets anything deep-fried, tell her all about how
restaurants reuse cooking oil, which (by the way) is most likely
very high in
unstable polyunsaturated fats.
This will ensure a second date.
That’s it for today, folks. If you try any of these date
ideas, let me know how it goes. If you have any other ideas, write
them in down below!