// Here’s a deep cut from March, 2004; a college writing assignment that came up in conversation this week. -gs
For anyone who has dated, the phrase “dinner and a movie” is painfully cliché, yet it is the quintessential first date. Does it not strike you as odd that the very activity of eating together counteracts the social goals? Whose idea was it to stuff your face with food while trying to get to know someone? Upon some deeper thought, the reasons for dinner as a first date are quite obvious. It is a medium that everyone, universally, is comfortable with. No one suffers from having never eaten before, right? However, having experienced a few first dates over a meal, I think that eating as a form of initial dating is seriously flawed, and suggest an alternative: the shower.
First, let us compare the striking similarities between sharing a dinner and sharing a shower. In both cases these are activities that every individual, under normal circumstances, partakes in at least on a daily basis. Eating is both an intimate and sensual experience, in most cases. While eating you are exposed and vulnerable before your potential partner. Personality traits, odd habits and rough-edges become glaringly apparent in the course of a meal. Similarly, a shower has amazing potential on the plane of intimacy. For example, the way one lathers shampoo into their hair, the preferred temperature of water, the speed and efficiency, or lack thereof, of washing one’s body, can all be considered windows into one’s personality. As for sensuality, there are few other non-erotic activities that can rival the enjoyment of a fine meal. The aromas and tastes of a well-prepared dish can provoke quite an arousing experience. Likewise, the experience of a shower, witnessing someone’s personal routines so closely, is similarly arousing. It is this closeness that very few dinners can provide for a budding couple.
Dinner, while sometimes a successful endeavor, can be difficult to navigate effectively. There is an emphasis on formality and ceremony throughout the whole process. Table manners, which are common sense to some, are unfathomable or simply too much to remember all at once to others, especially under the pressure of a first date. A shower is a wholly different environment. Rather than presenting your “best foot forward” merely to impress your date, you are instantly forced to drop all pretenses. The situation seems almost comical at first, picturing yourself laughing at every seemingly stupid thing you did (such as slipping?) comes easily. This is not the case when envisioning a dinner, is it?
It is my belief that, as a generation, we should reject the obsolete “dinner and movie” first date in favor of a more productive alternative. Cut through all the nerve-racking presentation-of-self and really get to know someone, and yourself, for a change. By no means do I mean to advocate sexual involvement on the first date. Sure, we all shower in the nude alone, but in this case it may not be the best option. It is no embarrassment to go swimming with a date, so put on your bathing suit and jump in the shower for some good clean fun!