Inside my local coffee shop, there was a guy talking about Kimbo Slice with his female companion. It looked like a first date care of Match.com. “Kimbo Slice! The MMA guy!”
Yeah buddy, I know. The mixed-martial arts guy. Perfect conversation starter. That’s as smooth as my first outing with the wife. As she arrived at a meat market masquerading as a sports bar called Mister Days, I thrust a Jack and Coke into her face, blurted something about pulling my groin and then began stretching for effect, with one eye on a Virginia Tech football game I didn’t care about at all. Her response was something I’ve become very familiar with – a look that was equal parts disgust, embarrassment and “I might keep him around because he’s kind of entertaining.” Ha-ha, I win.
I searched on Yelp.com for “best first date spots in Arlington” and came up with some odd choices (click here to see them) that included a sketchy (but tasty) Peruvian chicken place, a cheap steakhouse, some Thai restaurants and a few kabob joints. Follow Yelp’s suggestions at your own risk – it’s like shoving a lit stick of dynamite up your ass. Goodbye second date … and goodbye ass.
My first date choices for Arlington, Virginia are below. In no particular order:
Fort Myer Bowling Alley: Stop calling me a loser. Stop thinking of calling me a loser. Bowling is the ultimate no-pressure sporting event that’s as colorful as the 14-pounder you just rolled into the gutter. Lots of giggling, lots of unintentional (intentional) touching, awful food, air vents for your hands … good stuff. All you need to get into Fort Myer is to subject your car to a TSA-like inspection and a government-issued ID such as a Virginia driver’s license. Games cost $2; the guy at the counter tried to charge us $3 for a game once and I thought the wife was going to claw his eyes out for that dollar back. A bucket of mini-beers is about $6 that will make her feel more tipsy than she really is, which is good when you lean in for that first kiss … and get the Heisman stiffarm, young padawan. If you’re lucky, you might run into Jesus Quintana from “The Big Lebowski.”
Pentagon Row Skating Rink: When the temperature drops and the dead leaves are becoming a county fire hazard, it might be time to take your future ex-girlfriend out to do some figure-8s (or body check little kids) on the ice rink. Pay just $8 for two hours of skating ($7 if you’re over the age of 55, in which case you be reaching for a tube of Ben-Gay by the first half-hour). Show off your moves, Great One. Do you believe in miracles? Yes! … if she kisses you on your cold-sored, chapped lips. (Try Carmex). Sine’ and Champps are nearby to soak your shattered ego with beer after you were forced to skate with the assistance of a bucket.
Northside Social: Great selection of coffee, beer and wine plus food – all in one place. You can actually sit down and have a conversation with your crush without screaming over the latest Lady Gaga remix. Note that I didn’t say the conversation would be intimate. You’ll be surrounded by a hundred of your closest coffee fiend friends – law students cramming for the next exam, cops on a break, yuppies with popped collars, creepy bloggers (oy!), tattooed bohemians … doing whatever it is they do all day. So yes, it’s crowded and seats are scarce around lunch and late afternoon, but it’s a good place to lay the groundwork. Northside is the kind of place Dirty Harry would not visit. Ever.
Clarendon Ballroom: Breeze through the ground floor of Clarendon’s version of the Double Deuce and go straight up the stairs for the rooftop view. The wife and I found ourselves there after a friend’s wedding last summer, and quickly realized we were the most overdressed people on the rooftop. Nevertheless, the view was nice, it wasn’t nearly as hot as the sauna brewing in the loud ballroom downstairs, and the vibe was relaxed. Bonus for you and your first date – the place doesn’t really get crowded until after 10 p.m., when the teenagers and ABC investigators begin trolling the place for corrupt bartenders. (I’m just teasing about the teenagers part). Don’t worry, Dalton’s the best cooler in the business.
Your turn. I’d like to hear your choices, regardless of where you live.