5+ Great Date Ideas, According to Bachelors

BachelorSeries_3Valentine’s Day is a mere two weeks away. That means many women around the world are hoping bouquets of roses will be delivered to their office, making their coworkers inanely envious. Others dream of tiny boxes bearing jewelry like the stunning diamond earrings that #PrinceFarming Chris Soules surprised Jade with last Monday night on ABC’s The Bachelor. (Many women may even find themselves fantasizing about Cocktails with Chris and The Other Bachelors!)

Since February 14th falls on a Saturday this year, romantic dinner at a favorite restaurant tops some ladies’ wish list. Other women (okay, probably most of us!) have visions of heart-shaped boxes filled with exquisite chocolates and an attached love note that would melt our hearts. (BTW, chocolate makes the perfect complement to any of the above gifts at least IMHO.) I found myself thinking about how I wanted to spend Valentine’s Day, and then I had an epiphany…

Why should Valentine’s Day be all about me – or you? I remembered farm wife Jody Dvorak’s marriage advice, “A supportive spouse is there at the end of the day to listen, to understand that her needs don’t come first every day and to provide a safe space for her husband.”

So how can you put your main man first this Valentine’s Day? If you want to wow a guy, you have to climb inside his mind! At least that’s the advice Matt Bean gives in a Women’s Health magazine article entitled, “6 Perfect Date Ideas from a Man’s Perspective.” Men tend to goal-oriented and action-minded.

Bean is obviously sharing dating ideas based on his personal preference, so I decided to “pick the brains” of three bachelor farmers ranging in age from early 20s to mid-40s. “I can have fun doing whatever, but if I were to choose, I’d take a date to a sporting event,” says Jake Fedeler, aka “Mr. June,” one of The Other Bachelors of Arlington. “It doesn’t really matter if we cheer for the same team or have a little fun playfully cheering against each other. Going to a sporting event, followed by a bite to eat and a few drinks is pretty ideal.” Below are responses I received from other bachelors I know:

    • A perfect date could be so many things from taking a drive in my pickup and then laying on a blanket under the stars to an evening at the community theatre. I always enjoy a nice supper, whether we’re cooking together in my kitchen or going to a restaurant. During planting and harvest, I really like having someone special next to me in the cab. When you’re working 12- to 16-hour days, just having someone next to you can mean the world to a guy. (Really, this is a direct quote from a bachelor farmer friend of mine!)
    • “I don’t have just one dating style, but I tend to plan adventurous yet romantic dates.” (Yes, this is another quote from a bachelor I know. And, yes, the following ideas all came from him!) I love visiting brew pubs like the Potosi Brewery. I enjoy eating dinner in the harbor. Sunset pontoon rides are so much fun. I’ve enjoyed taking dates on an evening dinner cruise like those offered in Stillwater, Minnesota, and La Crosse, Wisconsin. I really enjoy hiking. I love dates at sporting events like a Minnesota Wild hockey game or a Twins baseball game. Holiday parties like St. Patrick’s Day or Halloween can be so much fun because you can and your date can enjoy a night out with a group of friends. I’ve always wanted to take a date zip lining at Mall of America and then eat afterward at Crave or Tucci Benucch.
    • “I’d like for a lady to take the lead every now and then.” It doesn’t matter if you’re single or whether you share a bank account and a last name, according to the unscientific research I conducted this week. Every male I interviewed told me he’d appreciate it if his partner hit the ATM and then treated him. “I’d even go on a picnic if she planned it!” said one of my bachelor friends. “Honestly, it’s a lot of pressure for a guy to plan every date. It doesn’t help when you ask a lady what she wants to do, and she says ‘I don’t care’.”

The stakes seem higher once you’ve dated a while because men say they don’t know if they should repeat “great dates” or whether they must come up with new ideas. As someone who’s been married for years, I can empathize with couples who struggle to talk about anything other than their children, their children’s activities or their jobs. I also understand how hard it can be to carve out time for “date nights” once you become a parent.

Studies show how important it is for married couples, as well as dating couples, to spend time together doing what makes them happiest. There are 10 needs that shouldn’t be ignored in a relationship. But “what makes him (or her) happiest” really depends on, well, your date! Each person has his or her own personal preferences.

One of my friends swears by using the book If… Questions for the Game of Life to get to know a lot about a person in a short amount of time. She also claims it’s a great way to spark conversation between couples who have been together for years.

The book “If,” according to an online review, “poses hundreds of questions ranging from practical to maddening, moral to hilarious – which, if read alone, inspire self-exploration; if shared, spark fascinating discussions at gatherings, dinner parties, or meetings.” Here’s one example: “If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be?”

This example question made me laugh since my husband and I discussed history, politics and religion after attending an Iowa State men’s basketball game on our first date. (How taboo, right?) Nearly 20 years later, we’re still cheering on the Cyclones together!

If you need more ideas on how to treat your sweetheart “during the month of love,” check out these related posts: