Are you vegan/vegetarian?
Could your date night use some spicing up?
Then keep reading…
“How come we never go out anymore?” My girlfriend, Emily, asked, for the third week in a row. It was a rhetorical question, something not to be answered immediately, if at all. But she was right, we never went out anymore.
When we had started dating years ago, the question of “What do we you want to do tonight?” seemed like one that needn’t be asked; because we were always on some type of adventure: hiking, sailing, cooking classes, ghost tours, etc. But as the weeks, months and years of our relationship carried on, our dates began to dwindle. Before we knew it, routine engulfed us and weeks and months would pass without even the casual dinner and a movie. Eventually, we had decided to try the all too typical approach of weekly “date night,” but even that, after years, came to a standstill. Television became our life and each night was a rerun: we made dinner, watched repeats of Seinfeld, and then slept. We were on the precipice of the worst thing that could happen in any relationship: boredom.
Time and time again we tried to implement the infamous “date night,” but it never seemed to stick, things had always felt too forced, too contrived. And both of us being vegan certainly didn’t help. In fact, as we finally talked it through one night, we realized that it was only after we had become vegans that we had started to have trouble with our weekly “date night.”
After we had both become vegan suddenly even dinner and a movie seemed like a chore:
“Did you check out that restaurant, are they vegan friendly?” “Yes. I checked online, everything looked fine.” “Well, call ahead anyways to double check.” “Ok. I called. They’ve got a special vegan menu: we can get either pasta or salad.” “That’s it? Oh God. Let’s just stay home…”
“There’s this new great Vegan restaurant opening…but its ninety minutes away. Do you still want to go?”
“Do you want to go see a movie?” “I hate that movie theatre all I can smell is butter when we’re there.”
For a long time we tried to consolidate the idea of being vegans and being able to have a fun, easy date night. We fought, we laughed, we cried and then finally, after days and weeks and months of bad date nights, we came up with an unbeatable plan for unforgettable vegan date nights.
What we’ve learned:
1) Save up. Instead of forcing ourselves to go out once a week for “date night,” we realized that it can be better to plan just one really special date night per month, something that we could really look forward to. No one looks forward to dinner and a movie every week—especially if you’re vegan and your restaurants are severely limited. And since dinner and a movie once a week can certainly add up. Instead, save up that money and use it all on one special date night. Do something out of the ordinary. Something a little more expensive—since you saved all your date night money for one night instead of four. Go to a spa together. Go to the theatre. Or mine and Emily’s favorite: Drive to that really great vegan restaurant that’s two hours away and stay at a nice bed and breakfast for the night. It’s better to have one unforgettable date night per month than four forgettable ones.
2) Stay in. We all know that cooking can be a chore, especially the cleanup afterwards; but we often forget how much fun it can be; there’s a reason why every cheesy romantic movie has a scene in a kitchen with one person playfully putting frosting or flour on someone else’s nose. It’s because cooking is fun and can be a very sexual, sensual thing. Put some soft jazz on and by the time the kitchen fills with the scents of seasoning and fresh foods all your stresses will have washed away. Surprise each other with different meals. Try the new recipe that you read in The Vegan Villager. Make a sampling of foods for each other and wear blindfolds—the blindfolds could be used for after dinner fun, too. For dessert have some strawberries covered in dark chocolate. Additional option: Make the food and take it to a drive in movie theatre.
3) Start something. The fact of the matter is, most vegans aren’t activists—although that’s how it’s often portrayed—but most vegans DO want to be more active in the community. Join that vegan society or go to that vegan Meetup group together. Grab a cup of coffee and leaflet your local college campus. It might not seem like a fun date night, but a crisp fall evening, with a warm cup of tea, on a beautiful college campus, talking to people about issues near and dear to your heart, it can be a life changing night. Kill two birds with one stone: have a fun, unusual vegan date night, and change your community.
4) Shelters. Go to an animal shelter. Although the idea might seem like a depressing date night it can also be really fun and memorable. An old brother of mine has volunteered for years at a shelter and when single he would take his dates to the shelter with him. Animal shelters often have large grassy areas near them and my brother and his date would take several dogs for a walk, play with them in the grass, and then have a picnic with the dogs. We can’t save all animals, and you might not be able to save all the animals in the shelter, but an afternoon spent playing catch with a half dozen friendly dogs, and then a picnic in the grass—bringing treats for your furry friends, too—it’s a vegan date night that will leave a lasting impact. And, of course, you could always take one, or two, or three of the puppies’ home with you afterwards…
Bonus tip: If you want to surprise your loved one with a fun vegan date night, tell them that you’ve got an amazing surprise date night planned for them in one month. Then ask them to guess what it is. In reality, you won’t have anything planned…yet. But as they tell you all their idea of what would make an “amazing surprise date night,” you’ve already got a head start on what you should do.
Picture: Flickr/Alex Proimos