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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Dating Triumphs & Tragedies > Dating Pastimes

Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

Pastimes of Dating

Ah, dating.  America’s favorite pastime.  Actually, that’s baseball (go Yankees), but dating may be more popular.  And it’s not the actual sport of dating that is the focal point here, because it is more than just a pastime in general.  I was thinking more about how the pastimes of dating have changed over the years, as have many methods, though the basics have stayed the same.  You still want to get from point A (the meet) to point B (the date) to point C (the approval) to point D (another date) to point E (whatever makes you happy) to point F (Fail or Forward).  There is dating without the details.


But the pastimes, and that word can be defined as activity, amusement, entertainment, leisure, even a diversion—those are things that have altered over the years.  Not just from ancient times to now, but even in recent years.  From meeting for a drink to meeting for coffee, people’s views of dating have changed.  From going out dancing to watching “Dancing With the Stars.”  From going out to see live music to sharing tunes on each other’s iPod.  Yes, the times have changed but one thing remains the same—sharing these things and times together still seem to make people happy.

I’m not trying to be cheesy, but it’s true.  The simple act of spending time together seems to be the one constant in the realm of dating, though the situations have changed.  You know that question, “So…uh…what do you want to do?”  I’m sure it sounds familiar.  I’ve gotten it before too, and some people have been a little miffed with me when I say, “I don’t care,” but you know what the truth is?  I don’t.  Sometimes it’s not worth the effort to go drive an hour to the best hiking spot ever only to get there and find I forgot my sneakers, so we decide to have a picnic by the beautiful waterfall, but then it starts to rain.  Fun day.  If we had just hung out where we were, we probably could have had more fun.  Sometimes when people don’t have an answer to that looming question, it’s because they really don’t care, or don’t need some huge plans.  It’s all in the company.

People expect dating to be some big event.  A date has to be a “DATE!”  In the past it had that reputation of being dinner and a movie.  Then it was like, when first meeting, we’ll have drinks, and if I like you, then I’ll ask you to dinner.  Online dating comes around, and meeting for coffee came about, and lunch dates were more popular.  But somewhere along the line, dating became more complicated than it should be.  You can go online now and search for date ideas, and while yes, some of them are fun, some are bizarre.  I saw one reference that jogging was a good first date activity.  Hmm…I don’t know about you, but that reminds me of High School gym class and running with friends, trying to make good time but also chat at the same time.  Somehow, it doesn’t strike me as a good first date while you’re trying to ask “getting to know you” questions between gasps for air.

For an adventurous date, one site said to clean an old attic.  Okay, I can imagine that there could be some interesting finds in an old attic, but the only time I think that I’d want to do that is if I had moved into a cool old house with Mr. Attic, or was helping him at his grandparents.  It’s not something I would yell out if he said:

“So, what do you want to do today?” 

“Oh!  I’d love to go clean some attics!  Doesn’t that sound like a blast?”

Though it could be worse.  You could end up Googling all his old high school classmates to see what they’re up to now... which he might really get a kick out of.  You?  Not so much.

With all the pressure that comes with planning some of these dates, at some point you have to think, “Why can’t we just go out and try and have fun together?”  If you’re having too much trouble trying to come up with something to do together, and all you can do is focus on the date activity, then maybe that’s saying something.  Or if things are getting too complicated because there aren’t any available attics to peruse the weekend you want, maybe you should just give it a rest and go out to dinner together.  Maybe even catch a movie instead.  Or better yet…beat the crowds, and rent one.  Or just have a relaxing evening together.  Staying in with “nothing” to do isn’t so bad, after all.


Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at

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