Dating on the Cheap
continued from page one...
There's No Charge to Go Outside
Remember that time when you wanted to get in shape and you were like, man,
I hate gyms, I'm just going to buy a basketball/bike/pair of rollerblades and
I'll use them on my local court/on that trail near my house/in my local park,
and then you used them twice, (and that's, in fact, being generous, because
once plus that time you showed your purchase to your best friend doesn't really
count), and then after that, you sat your fat ass back down on your couch because
that's the most comfortable place in the world?
Well, maybe that was just me.
there's probably some old sporting goods gathering dust in your closet, just
waiting for a little love and attention. Get up and get outside, people! There's
a whole big world out there, just waiting for you and the one you love. A local
school near your house may offer free court time, tennis or basketball. This
site lists parks in Washington State with dedicated
paths for you, your inline skates, and your kneepads, or if you have a car,
head to your nearest hiking trail. In
Chicago, Navy Pier is a great place to
start or end a bike tour. No matter where you live, you
can find the best bike trails near you.
A Different Kind of "Parking"
In general, parks are a perfect place to hang out, whether it's your first
date or you're madly in love. Can't fit a dog in to your small apartment in
New York? Check out the dog
runs in practically every park in the city. Love to people-watch? Take a
squat in the legendary Tompkins
Square Park in New York, where every day is a mystery. Or lay back by the
reservoir in Volunteer
Park in Seattle, where there's a delightful combination of dogs, children,
and pleasant hippies sneaking tokes and playing frisbee. (A quick jaunt down
the street can bring you to the cemetery that houses Bruce Lee's grave, but
that kind of date is not for everyone.) You can also whip out that nature guide
from your Boy or Girl Scout days, to go on a hunt for nuts and berries. Many
cities offer free guided nature tours, as well, like New York's
Central Park and San Francisco's Golden
Even better, if you live in a coastal city like Los Angeles, take a walk down
the beach. There's nothing more invigorating than watching the
freak show in front of the crashing surf on Venice
Beach. Even those landlocked in the Midwest can stroll idly down spectacular
Lake Michigan off of downtown Chicago.
The focus of a free date should be simplicity. It doesn't really matter where
you are, as long as you're spending time with someone you find interesting.
It's about scaling down in an increasingly complex society; it's about getting
to know the worth of someone, rather than how much they're worth; it's about
great conversation and imagination.
And those can't be bought.
Jami Attenberg is a writer in New York City.