Imagine, if you will, the last awkward date you had the privilege of sitting next to at a restaurant. All you wanted was to casually enjoy a plate of fried cheese—but no such luck. Instead, you got to overhear stilted flirting and the sound of hopes being dashed the minute the dude said, “My favorite TV show is Duck Dynasty.” And you felt feelings for these people because you’ve been there—we all have! Dating is a horrifying and embarrassing social construct that unites us all in dread. And generic dates make it even worse, so stop making that T.G.I Fridays call-ahead seating reservation like now. Soooo what’s the good news? We’re all gonna die eventually and none of this matters? Yes. But also, no. There actually is good news here.
If you are a book reader or heart a book reader (which you are, otherwise you wouldn’t be here), we’ve taken the liberty of brainstorming date ideas for you, and just in time for Valentine’s Day. Book-type dates. Ones that have words and stories and built-in things to talk about. Read on and get ready to fall in love*!
*With this list. Human love is infinitely more complicated than blogging—we can’t make those kinds of promises.
Date #1: Allow a person who writes for a living to read their stuff out loud to you.
Pressure-free date? What?! Is that even real!?! YES. Yes, it is real. Just think of how impressive it would be to casually be like, “I remembered you mentioned this essayist you liked, and she’s reading excerpts from her new book and I thought we could go together and also can I smell your hair in a non-creepy way?” One-way ticket to swoon-town. A reading presents a chance to allow a third party to provide all the conversation fodder for you. It’s not cheating—it’s a reading. Also, if the person reading is Dave Sedaris, you get 5 billion date points automatically added to your kiss bank.
Date #2: Browse the goods at a dope bookstore, then eat a snack or meal of food.
And speaking of being surrounded by things you love and avoiding the whole horrifying small-talk thing—day date alert: go browse a bookstore.
Before you scoff, hear this one out. We all love bookstores for obvious reasons—we feel comfy there. We like the smells. And all the words. And the tufted leather chairs. In any case, it’s a chance to discover something new as a twosome—be it the bookstore itself, a new release you were both waiting for, or a never-explored nook (for making out?). Don’t make this the whole entire date, use it as a pre-brunch activity or a fun place to meet up and break the ice.
Date #3: See a movie based on a book you both read, then go to dinner and talk about how it SO did not even compare.
You’re both readers—there’s gotta be at least one book you both have in common, right? And since Hollywood stopped coming up with original ideas after Cowboys vs. Aliens, there’s bound to be a book-to-movie at a theater near you. See the movie first. Before dinner. That way, you have your dinnertime opinions locked and loaded.
Date #4: Drink away your anxiety at a literary pub crawl.
Fall in love at a bar where Hemingway nearly drank himself to death. It’s so romantic, and just how we all dreamed it would be when we were lil’. Right? Whatever, you’ll be too tipsy to worry about it. Worst-case scenario? You and your crush realize you don’t have anything in common other than an intense love of The Old Man and the Sea—and maybe you can catch the eye of someone else making time down the bar. Cynical? NO, PRACTICAL. Dress nice.
Date #5: Find a park. Bring a blanket. And your books. And wine hidden in coffee cups. Or just coffee. Whatever you want. The world is your oyster.
This is perfect for a fifth date, when you don’t feel the need to fill the air with all the “where are you from”s and “how many siblings do you have”s. All you really need to worry about is the weather and the comfiness of your blanket. This might go without saying, but no, you don’t have to read aloud to each other. This isn’t Victorian England or the 1990 hit rom-com Pretty Woman. You can each read your own book in silence and just enjoy the fact that you’re comfortable enough with another human being to just be with them, quietly.
How will you/did you woo your favorite book nerd?