Congratulations! Thanks to your recent ability to get over your staggering fear of direct eye contact, your clever one-liner that only works 15% of the time, and your well-versed knowledge on the band you both love, you got their number and secured a second chance to see them! Now what?
I’ve found that going out in college is a narrow tightrope walk that requires a balance of personal maturity but also the ease that only a broke, 20-something college student can provide. However, this walk is very possible here at SFSU, you just have to make sure you do it right.
Through personal experience, I can say that I’ve been on a few good dates and plenty (plenty) of bad ones, both of which are my pride and fault. I’ve found that the good ones happen when I actually plan a few hours of activities that I am actually excited about doing. Who would have thought?!
However, to excite them, as well as yourself, your first date will need a risquér local off the regular beaten path of what you both probably do on any given weekend.
This, of course, is going to take a bit of thought and and a bit of risk, but like famous surrealist painter Salvador Dali said, “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” (Salvador Dali also said, “I don’t do drugs, I am drugs,” which is something I think Kanye tweeted the other day, so I’d take what he says with a grain of salt.)
Instead of the MOMA: Legion of Honor
Look, I love modern art as much as the next guy, however the indulgent nostalgia of the Legion of Honor invokes an almost primordial expulsion of feeling and emotion that not even the most cutting edge piece of art can evoke.
The Legion of Honor, a rather underrated San Francisco landmark, lays upon a ridge in far Northern area of the city, basking in the beauty of the fog and sea that surround it.
From Monet, to Rembrandt, and even to ancient sculpted figures created before Christ, the Legion of Honor houses an array of, not artifacts, but rather classical representations of emotions and sensations that we all express today. It’s a good experience to witness these works of art in person – it’s great to do with someone else to compare thoughts and ideas.
The Legion of Honor is also conveniently located next to Land’s End, probably the best place to watch the sunset within the entire city as well. This should be an encamping activity that should bring any two people closer together.
Instead of Anywhere you Were Planning on Eating: Mission Chinese food
I think we can all agree, eating in San Francisco is pretty easy. There is an undeniable embrace and celebration of authenticity here.
Whether that is exemplified in the real hole in the wall spots along Valencia in the Mission, the peking duck laden windows of the locals-only Chinese restaurants, or the always fantastic Pho that’s served around the Sunset, there are many options to enjoy the best of really whatever you want. However, because we also live in an ever changing environment, there is an opportunity to try things you couldn’t even imagine. That’s where Mission Chinese Food, conveniently located right on Mission Street, comes in.
A creation from Danny Bowien, one of the most radical and interesting chefs of the 21st century, Mission Chinese offers an opportunity to expand your idea of Chinese cooking and the limitations of your pallet. A departure from the tradition of highly discussed, critically approved restaurants, Mission Chinese allows anyone to experience radical flavors without the heavy baggage of a big bill by the end of the night. For two people, two shared main courses and one appetizer should come out to a bit over $40. Well worth it for a truly memorable dinner.
From Country fried Hamachi collar, to Kung Pao pastrami, and of course the always amazing and tantalizing Ginger scallion and chicken fat fried rice (the absolute best, I swear), take yourself, as well as someone else, to experience something new, something exciting, and have an opportunity to connect over actually great food.
Instead of Movie: Castro Theater
There are very few things in this world that are truly special. Things (as well as places) have been commodified and replicated – devoid of any real feeling. And before I continue with this nihilistic rant, I can assure you that some places in San Francisco still have feeling and can be connected to on a deeper level. Out of all my years living here, I would say one of the places I connect to most is the Castro Theater.
Now, my opinion of how great the 20’s era movie house may just be my own, yet it is undeniable that watching anything on the Castro Theater screen is a different experience then watching anything anywhere else. Whether you are there to watch one an older movie you haven’t seen in a few years, or a new release that you haven’t seen yet, the Castro Theater is the best place to do so. Check their monthly calendar on their website, where throughout the month screenings change and adjust so that there is something playing for everyone.
This is a great opportunity to show what type of person you are, what movies you like, and see if your new friend has the same love for cinema that you do. And though I don’t always recommend going to see a movie as a first date activity, going to this theater is a special experience where you can express yourself and share what type of person you are with another.
Instead of Chinatown: 24th Street, Mission District
As you can probably tell by now, I’m big on exploration.
I think that it’s not only the best way to get to know your city, but also a great chance to connect with others and bond over new sights, sounds, and feelings. A spot I personally recommend for this type of activity is 24th Street in the Mission District.
Though it’s been ingrained in everyone’s minds that the Mission has become gentrified, I still feel that there are still some areas that glimmer with light of authenticity. 24th Street is one of those places.
As you walk under the well shaded sidewalks, you’ll pass murals depicting Mexican-American life, traditional bakeries with freshly made Concha’s in the window and a depiction of San Francisco culture that is very underrated and unfortunately unseen.
And though I am definitely not saying that one can’t explore Chinatown and have a great time, I do say that there is a great deal of places to explore beyond the surface of typical San Francisco.
Now as you embark with a few new places marked on your map, here are a few things to consider:
Let it be known, that the places I shared with you are for anyone and everyone (I.e. notice the lack of pronouns). We are so lucky to live in a place where all can enjoy the benefits of life and of the community we all contribute to, and I hope we all can appreciate those advantages.
The places listed are not only good for dates. That is a fact.
One of the most disheartening things about SF state students, or any person for that matter, is that we are afraid of experiencing things by ourselves. It should be known that unless you are attached at the hip to someone else, we are all alone anyway. Your thoughts are your thoughts, your feelings are your feelings and there is nothing and no one who can change that. Of course you can bond with others, but make sure you don’t miss out on self discovery, while looking for that special person.
Now go out, and enjoy.