Where better to go for your first date than Bloomingdale’s? We’re currently writing this from New York City; as we look around, we see single people disappearing into their smartphones, couples disappearing into their smartphones and genuinely happy groups of lovers wielding selfie sticks. Looks like it’s a happy Valentine’s Day. Are you brave enough to go on a first date tonight? Maybe you’re planning on restarting your romantic career after a breakup (or a move-out) or simply looking for something unusual to do with your committed partner. Maid Sailors has a budget-friendly suggestion that will force you to rethink New York City.
After all, New York City must be the best place to find a date, right? There are restaurants sandwiched between bars, nightclubs open until 5 AM, magical musicals on Broadway (“OMG, Hamilton!”), and (if you’re into this sort of thing) museums. Wrong. Dating in NYC is hair-ripping stressful because of the paradox of choice. Let’s say you’ve gone through the “oh so stressful” process of filtering all of your Tinder matches to isolate the “matches” you still think are cute, advancing parallel conversations with all of them, and finally (after three hours or so), setting up one not-so-fateful meeting.
Are you now ready to embark on the hours long, multiple browser window process of picking a place? If you’re sharp, you’ll realize that we’ve taken the liberty of skipping a major step – what activity will you and the lucky lady/man/in-between pursue? Which part of town is most convenient? Are three dollar signs too aggressive for a first date? (answer: obviously). Stop wasting all of your energy behind the curtain – by the time the date materializes, you’ll barely have the energy to scroll through Instagram while your date texts his/her friends in the bathroom.
Schedule your first date at Bloomingdale’s. If you live in Manhattan, hit up the 59th street location. If there’s no Bloomingdales (or equivalent) located in your neighborhood, take a stroll through the corn fields or get your cousin to drive the pick-up truck while you two network in the back (just kidding, but you get the idea, I hope). This is a fail-safe and foolproof strategy. Here’s why:
1. The Right Distractions
It doesn’t matter how many dollar signs on Yelp or Michelin stars a restaurant has, if there’s no chemistry between you two, things will get boring. Now you’re locked into a 20-minute Guantanamo-style forced interrogation and you’re realizing you don’t even like Kale Salads anyway. In Bloomies however, this won’t happen. There’s no requirement to sit at the bar awkwardly and ask whether the “last year of grad school is really the hardest” or if “working at a startup is really all that exciting”. Conversation dying down? Let’s check out a bunch of Gucci shoes we can’t afford right now (don’t be offended, just making a statistically safe assumption here). Need to walk away for a minute? “Hey, I’m going to go the dressing room and actually try this overcoat on. Do you mind staying here and scrolling through Facebook for a while?” You get the idea. You have all the right distractions at a department store that you’ll never find inside an A-rated restaurant (we say A-rated because there may actually be some four-legged distractions at a B or C-rated restaurant, but then again, you won’t really be able to use these to your advantage).
2. Second Date – Same Day
Walking around Bloomies is exhausting. They separate the floors by gender, so there’s a decent chance you’ll end up walking up and down escalators. If your favorite brand is on the other side of the store, this is a perfect excuse to walk and talk while people watching. We guarantee there will be at least 10-12 “Snapchattable” moments during your urban hike. After about an hour or so of doing this, if you haven’t scared your potentially-soon-to-be partner off, it’ll be time to eat, pray and love. Bloomingdales has a few restaurants on campus; further, there’s a cute frozen yogurt shop called 14 Carrots (hehe, get it!) on the top floor. Congratulations, you’re now on your second date.
3. Risk Management Friendly
We’ve assumed a rosy scenario. Let’s assume things aren’t going well. The conversation isn’t organic, the place is packed with shoppers (or other first daters), and your date actually hates capitalism and cringes at the thought of hand-made clothing assembled outside of the continental United States. Meeting in a public place with no time or activity commitment gives you (or your date) the opportunity to leave without feeling like he or she has deserted you at bay (or vice versa). Sitting alone at a bar, restaurant or a movie theater may seem awkward and downright suspicious; examining a pair of rainboots by yourself? Not so much.
4. Perfect For Task Switching
This is definitely the least important reason and should only be used in emergency scenarios. We’re all busy and shopping alone can seem like a clear waste of time. But then again, when in Rome, do as the New York City tourists do and buy things. If your date isn’t going as well as you’d imagine, this is a great opportunity to check out the Ralph Lauren clearance section (it’s been like 2 degrees every day in NYC so a $100 parka is looking really delicious right now). If it’s going very well, stop worrying about it and start worrying about how much shopping you won’t have to do later if you take care of a few incidentals now. Lastly, you might surprise yourself; I’m sure your date needs a few things here and there. Show them how understanding and open-minded you are by allowing them to do so; offering an opinion here or there or even playing “dress up” could be tactful ways to ultimately spend quality time inside a dressing room.
Make this Valentine’s Day a happy one. Take your dating game to the next level by showcasing your cleverness. A mid-afternoon stroll through Bloomingdales is a solid option – there’s plenty to see, Snapchat, and (if you must) try on. If things are going well, this will be a story for the ages. If things don’t? Tell your date you had a good time and text your next date the following: “Hey, I actually got here a little earlier than we thought. I’m waiting near Women’s fragrances. See you soon!”