When I think “dating” at Albion, three things come directly to mind: third floor Mudd, the unsettling smell of a fraternity and heading to jackson to eat AKA sushi—over and over and over again. I mean, I get that Albion has a radius the size of a hydrogen atom, but that doesn’t mean our originality should just keel over and die. Just because boom boxes no longer exist, and the first-years probably don’t even know who Peter Gabriel is, does not mean we can’t throw pebbles at each others’ windows every once in a while. I think I speak for everyone when I say that dates in which our textbooks are also invited are just not cutting it anymore; it’s time to move on. And it’s time to get creative. So whether it be with your long-term sweetheart or someone you’ve been crushing on, and have yet to ask out, here are five whacky and original date ideas that are sure to liven up this spineless dating scene.
1. Build a cozy fortress
If there’s any positive we can draw from dorm room living, it’s definitely that walls within wingspan reach make for ultimate fort building. So securely stack that dreadful wooden furniture, lay your Tempur-Pedic mattress pads down on the floor and throw a sheet on top to make for a cozy hideaway.
Tip: Hang Christmas lights inside to make your special play date all the more magical!
Talking point: Discuss what you miss most about being a kid.
2. Go for a drive
But not just any drive. Jump in the car and head in a direction you’ve never gone before. For the remainder of the time, you can choose which streets you drive down, but you must alternate between right and left turns only. This is your chance to get out and explore, or maybe even get lost. If you’re a weirdo like I am, lock the car doors and pretend that together you’re escaping a zombie apocalypse.
Tip: Look for abandoned factories that were once powerhouses driving Albion’s economy as a significant industrial city. Also, bring your camera along to document the adventure!
Talking point: Share the last discovery you made—whether that be a discovery of self, of life, or something completely arbitrary; it doesn’t matter.
3. Take advantage of campus facilities in non-academic ways
Leave your Baldwin blues behind and pack up your favorite childhood foods like Lunchables, Capri Suns and Dunkaroos (please tell me those still exist), and head up to the top floor of the KC for a picnic dinner with a glorious view of the setting sun (which occurs at approximately 6:08p.m.).
Did you know that students have access to the monstrous projection screen in Norris 101? That’s right, so afterwards, when your stomachs are aching from all that sugary goodness, head over to Norris, hook up your Netflix and watch some Euro-Indie film that confuses the hell out of you both. And when strange themes and plotlines get you both talking about philosophy and the mystery of the universe, head over to the telescope in Norris—it’s only fitting.
Tip: Talk to Dr. Zellner about getting access to the telescope!
Talking point: What is something you absolutely don’t understand?
4. Get lost in the library
Walter Savage Landor once said, “Nothing is pleasanter to me than exploring in a library.”
If you’re somewhat of a geek like Walter and I, then you might also find the library somewhat romantic. If you typically hate all things paper and ink, then have an open mind and at least try seeing the library as a place for exploration, rather than academic slavery! Here’s the plan: head over to Stockwell on one of those rare nights when you have little to do or stress about. On the way, agree on a genre of literature or section of the library that you’re both interested in and head to that area. Find those comfy beanbags and spread yourselves out in the snug aisle. Spend the evening flipping through pages, finding new words and leaving heartfelt notes inside the books you most enjoy. Even if you’re not a fan of words and reading, I promise you’ll never run out of things to talk about. Feel like getting super sappy? The poetry section is on tier one.
Tip: Wear comfy clothes and maybe even bring blankets. For an even cozier time, bring mugs, a thermos of hot water and bags of tea.
Talking point: If you need talking points on this one, we’ve got bigger issues.
5. Date like Nels Christensen and Jess Roberts (who wouldn’t want to?)
I asked this lovely pair what wild and original dates they often went on in Albion. Without any hesitation, Nels first recommended that both you and your date climb a tree in the nature center. No surprise there. Second, head a few miles from Albion and go shopping at the Amish store called Yoder’s—it’s apparently awesome. For those of age, Jess recommended going to Charlie’s tavern to drink beer out of a mason jar. God knows everyone loves anything in a mason jar. And finally, with equal excitement, the two recommended taking a walk through Riverside Cemetery, and trying to pronounce the names on tombstones backwards. Now that’s what I call originality.
Tip: Explore anything and everything you can. You never know what you’ll find. Also, make a rule to leave your cell phones at home so there are no distractions. And if you’re thinking, “But how will I get there without it?!” There are these cool useful things called maps. Print them out.
Talking point: Even if you’ve only just met, tell the person you’re with three things you really enjoy about them.
With a little creative thinking, everyday life on a small campus can become more spontaneous, adventurous and amusing. Run around in ninja turtle costumes, go on a scavenger hunt, challenge our amigos at La Casa to a little salsa, be a kid again! It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you make some sort of effort to flip your everyday world upside down. If you’re in a relationship, surprise your better half with a plan to do something you’ve never done together before. If you’re single, find someone who is down to explore, go on wild adventures, share their thoughts and listen to yours.
Author Constance Chuks Friday said, “Unexplored paths lead to undiscovered treasures.” By going out of your way to do something out of the ordinary with someone, you’re more likely to get to know them in an out-of-the-ordinary sort of way. Do something you’ve never done before. You never know the fun you’ll discover and the companionship you’ll gain along the way.
Photo by Alexa Hyman