Don’t lie – if you’re searching for love, whether you’re dating or on the market, in this economy, $$$ is always a factor. And I don’t mean just for the gentlemen.
Those free and independent ladies out there (like myself) enjoy paying for dates just as much as the bros do. (If you can call it enjoyment rather than adherence to outdated chivalric code.) I just want to say, I get it: dates can get high-maintenance, what with all the dinner and flowers and drinks.
Hey, there is nothing wrong with those fancy, fancy things. They’re awesome, and their cultural significance will keep the RomCom industry chugging along for years to come.
But let’s face it, that stuff can dump on your credit card bill faster than an unstable Jenga tower. If you’re like me and my boyfriend, there’s nothing you like better than a cheap date outing. (The whole “I’m in my 20s and poor and starving and loving it because it’s so awesomely authentic!” thing is not as glamorous as Girls would have us believe. But that is a different rant for a different time.) Plus, rehashing the old dinner-and-drinks routine can get old. We’re young! We’re hip! We want culture! We just need it free.
(… hip? Does anyone use that word anymore?)
Anyway, let’s face it, if it’s a choice between that student loan payment and viewing of that new 3-D movie (whether it be Avengers or Brave, I decline to say …), the devious duo of Stafford & Perkins wins again, with its iron-strong, interest-charging chokehold. However, even though you might be on the shoe-stringiest of budgets, and even though dinner and drinks can get old, so can sitting at home watching reruns of Seinfeld together and eating last night’s leftovers. I guarantee, though, that you can find some fun & funky things to do with your significant other at no cost whatsoever …
… AT THE LIBRARY!
But you knew I was going to say that.
Before you click out of your browser in indignation (which is not, I might add, as emphatic as slamming a book cover or tossing down a pen in disgust), consider my proposal. Overlook its redundancy with my previous postings. Remember, Jimmy Buffet himself advocated for the aphrodisiac atmosphere of the library in his ballad, “Love in the Library.”
This notion isn’t entirely insane. But let me be clear: I am also not advocating that you go to your local library and hit on the cute, young librarian. No. Because, as I will say time and again, until I am voiceless from shouting or crippled in the fingers from typing, librarians are not secretly repressed, desperate bookworms waiting for the perfect moment to corner you, young savior from their impending life-long singleness, behind the biography stacks, take down that hair from its too-tight bun, and ravish you on the book cart.
This goes for male librarians as well, who might not take down the proverbial bun, but may instead loosen a tie or something.
A side note: our library men are quite secure in themselves, as you can see from this Men of the Stacks calendar.
Instead, what I mean to say is that libraries have tons of events going on for free that would definitely be a perfect fit for a good Date Night. It isn’t just your grandma’s knitting club anymore. Interested in photography? Looking to impress a crush with your penchant for art exhibits? Author readings? Book signings? Film festivals? All of these you can find at your local library.
To give you an idea, I did some basic hunting and found some pretty cool things going on between the stacks:
* Baltimore’s very own Enoch Pratt Free Library features film screenings of all kinds (including the essential Austen flick, Sense & Sensibility, this past Saturday). Movies are still a great date idea, and even better when they’re free! Click here for the library calendar’s highlights, or navigate to view all the events at the many branches.
* New York Public Library is keeping a busy social calendar this summer, and on it is a fantastic exhibit called “MAPnificent,” featuring, as the website states, “works on paper and sculpture that reflect the artists’ concerns for the current state of our society, conveyed through charts and diagrams,” and, of course, maps. As you study cartography, perhaps you’ll find a path that leads you and your date to each other.
* Or maybe you’re looking for a conversation starter with a brand-new special someone. The Free Library of Philadelphia hosts tons of exhibitions ranging from African sculpture to Charles Dickens. Find what turns you on and sparks a good chat.
* Or check out the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore with guest authors, photography exhibits and tips ranging from playing a better game of Bridge to 12 ways to put more money in your wallet – so you can afford that special date.
You can’t deny that some awesome events might be going on just a few blocks from wherever you live. Splurge on class and take your next date to the library, and maybe you can express some of that smoldering passion in the privacy of the Periodicals after a particularly meaningful viewing of a classic film noir …
But you didn’t hear that here!