I think a woman's worst nightmare is to hear a man (especially one she's just getting to know) ask her over for a night of "Netflix and chill." In a woman's mind, this is pretty much the equivalent of a guy saying, "I don't really see this going anywhere, so I'm just gonna see how I can go about spending the least amount of money possible and still get what I want from you, because you ain't even really cute enough to have on my arm in public." OK, maybe we don't think ALL of that, but we think something kinda like it. Trust me on this one. There are those occasions where the woman might wanna just "Netflix and chill" her damn self, but that's a different kind of post for another day.
BUT - in defense of the fellas, the stone cold truth is that dating is CRAZY expensive. And if you're getting to know people (meaning more than one at a time), your "nights out" start to make a HUGE dent in your pocket. So sometimes, Netflix and chill is all you can afford. And sometimes, a night in the house is really just what the doctor ordered. Use your best judgment.
With Houston basically becoming a baby New York City, I can't (and won't) imagine what men go through when preparing to ask a woman out. I'm sure it's intimidating. For all of the regular reasons guys get shy and add to that, the whole - I work a normal job with decent pay, I tithe, and I pay my bills on time - thing. Sure, there's room to splurge sometimes, but if you want a man who is working, providing for children (because most are at our age), keeping up with investments and savings and 401K, or saving for a house, or already in a house with big house bills, paying student loans (because you probably want him to be educated), setting aside funds for a future family, and being all fiscally responsible and what not...then you have to know that we can't party like it's 1999 every night. This all depends on where you are in life and what you're looking for. You might just hope to meet Arian Foster coming out of Walgreen's and live happily ever after, despite all of his baby mama drama. Good luck with that. For those of us living in reality and in the words of Lucious and Cookie Lyon before they had the Empire, it's hard out here for a pimp.
I had a man once tell me (long after the date, of course), that he was SO glad I kept it modest and didn't order something outrageous on the menu because he was working with limited funds the first time we went out. He wouldn't dare have told me that on the night of the date, but he later mentioned that he ordered something based on the cost of what I ordered. That's why you guys let us go first, huh? Now some of you might call him crazy for asking me out in the first place knowing that he only had XYZ amount of dollars in his pocket, but that's the reality a lot of men face. Trying to balance being a gentleman and desiring companionship, while being faced with someone constantly asking, "When are we gonna go out?" or "Where are you gonna take me?" or "Why don't we go to Del Frisco's?"
I can say this because, admittedly, it has been me on several occasions. Not really being considerate of the guy and the fact that one dinner date might cost him an entire day's paycheck! Don't even get me started on the cost of a movie nowadays (even without spending that $50 at the concession stand). OK, so I know what some of you ladies are thinking, "Why are you dating someone who has a job in which a day's pay is equal to one doggone dinner?" And I would say to you - you're missing my point.
All of this is to simply say (I sure did take a scenic route though), guys there are things you can do in Houston that won't break the bank and that any woman who is truly into you will appreciate. I think most women will agree that creativity on a date will take you much further than the amount of money you spend. This is the same for ladies. There are occasions when a woman wants to treat her man to a night out and the same rules apply - use your thrifty brain power. As for me, I grew up with a daddy who told me that I should never pull out my wallet in the presence of a man and I always keep that in the back of my mind; however, I do realize that my parents grew up in a different time. It all comes down to what you want and what you will accept. That's different for everyone. You just have to find that person who aligns with you on those things. For both men and women, that's part of the weeding process.
Now don't misunderstand me guys, EVERY woman wants to be treated like the queen she is and YES, we like things. Shiny things. That's just a fact of life. Whether her "thing" be nice bags or shoes or jewelry or trips to far away places (my personal favorite), sometimes you have to just suck it up and make that happen for her - if you want to keep her around that is. But women, in my experience, men are much more willing to do those things for you if you're not always acting like a spoiled brat who demands them from the word hello. And yeah, I've been that brat too. But hey, we live, we learn, we grow. Or at least I hope we do. There are some outliers who believe everything I've said up to this point is bullshit. And that's fine, because I'm clearly not talking to you. Or maybe I should be...might learn ya sumthin'.
Point blank period - a woman LOVES it when a man takes time to plan a date. Ladies, we all know that moment when he picks you up and the first thing he says is, "What you wanna do?" ARRRGGG!! This is like date death. Then there's a back and forth for like 30 minutes of "What you wanna eat?" "I don't know, what you wanna eat?" and "Well, what do you have a taste for?" and "OK, give me three options and I'll pick one," or he finally just pulls over and says, "Let's just sit here until you figure out what you want." SUPER. SIDE. EYE. We're thinking, "You ol' fish-eyed fool! You asked me out on Tuesday. It's Friday. In 3.5 days you couldn't have come up with a plan for a date that YOU asked ME to go on? I could've been in the bed catching up on Being Mary Jane." At this point, the only thing saving you is that she probably beat her face (meaning she did the fool with her make-up in case you've been under a rock), and she's feeling real jazzy in whatever outfit she chose. Somebody besides you is going to see her in it so that it's not an effort wasted. You'll undoubtedly end up going to grab dinner and maybe a movie, or hit up one of the bars I mentioned in my last post (shameless plug). She'll be OK with that, but she'll also remember your lack of planning. Things might be forgiven if you splurge for good drinks at The Davenport.
I mean come on guys. You take more consideration than that when you're hanging out with your fellas! By the time you meet up with your boys, you know what place you're going, the game you're watching, the drink you're gonna order, the wing flavor you want, and the name of the stripper you're gonna tip later. If you have trouble thinking of things - GTS (Google that shit)! Or just refer back to this post (hee-hee). I don't know. Maybe it's just a big ol' burden to always have to come up with the ideas? I'm not saying your lady can't ever plan a date, but in the beginning - you just need to take the initiative. Congratulations on being born male. LOL!
Here are a few ideas that might keep you lookin' like the superstar you are:
Boozy Picnic @ Miller Outdoor Theatre/Hermann Park - Invest in a picnic basket. Or an Igloo cooler if you think you're too manly for that. Get a blanket and a bottle of wine (it'll run you between $7 and $15 for a good one and for Pete's sake - don't get Yellowtail) and pick a spot on the hill. On a clear Houston night, this is the perfect place for the kinds of conversations that let you know whether she's wifey material. Bring cheese and fruit for extra points. If you really want to show her what you're made of, grab some Frenchy's too. Yes, Lawd! (*go away fat girl spirit...I told you about showin' out in front of company*)
Hot Sauce Tasting @ Firehouse Subs - I know you might look at this one like, "What the hell? Tiffany don't suggest that a man take me for a sandwich!" And I feel you, I do. And honestly, I've had better sandwiches, but this place is cool to me because of a unique little thing that they do. There's a place in New Orleans called Pepper Palace that I have to stop by every time I visit the city (I think the closest to us is in San Antonio). Heard of it? Anyway, they let you taste all the different hot sauces, BBQ sauces, marinades, and seasonings they sell. Firehouse does something similar and they have the bottles available for you to buy. If you're out and about looking for a quick lunch, this is just a fun way to break the monotony.
Cooking Class @ urbanCHEF - This is the backdrop for a perfect date night. Tap her nose with some sauce or something and then give her a smooch. Don't lick her face or anything, because that would be weird. Unless you know her like that and that's y'all's thing. Now this idea, in all fairness and honesty, goes against what this post is about. This place is expensive. Like...you could take her AND her mama out for dinner and it might be less than this place. However, it's still a pretty awesome idea and on that night that you feel like splurging...I'm just sayin', this could work out well for you in the end.
Movie or exhibit @ Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH) - Free on Thursday nights #forthewin!! And if you're willing to throw in a few bucks for tickets, they often show foreign and independent films that you can't see anywhere else. This will make you look all artsy-fartsy and cultured...which is usually a big plus for women.
Paint @ 3 Hues Houston - Get dirty with it! Or at least play in some paint. And who doesn't love to let their artistic flag fly? This is a great place to do group dates because they let you paint for free if you bring 5 people (at $25 pp)...if you go with 5 other couples - you AND your girl paint free! We all love freebies. Even if you don't do the group thing, the painting is reasonable and the best part - it's BYOB. I should rename this one Paintin' with Patron, and I would do that if I liked Patron. How about Lacquering with Liquor? That's LIKKA (in my Uncle Ruckus voice) for the folks in my circle. Put some stank on it.
Bowl @ Your local alley - This is old school fun that people often forget about. And I'm not talking the fancy-smancy bowling alleys that have popped up in recent years. I'm talking the good ol' maybe your feet will catch a little gangrene if you're not too careful kind of place. Complete with a pitcher of beer and sketchy eats. Don't get all bourgeois on me...these places are still a lot of fun. A little friendly competition might even ignite a spark or two for later.
Tasting and Tour @ Local Breweries - I am on a personal mission to hit Houston's breweries, because sadly - I haven't tried any of them. Hey, I make these lists for myself too! These are on my list to try: Saint Arnold's, 8th Wonder, Karbach, and Buffalo Bayou. Blog post coming soon...
Good Eats @ Any Food Truck - These things pop up all over the place, move around at will, and show up at festivals and other events around the city. Food trucks are no longer those mobile-bacteria-infested-boxes that you assumed only frequented construction sites. They are boasting food that rivals many Houston restaurants. Jump on the bandwagon - or the food truck - and join other Houston foodies who are in the know. Check out local listings on occasion to see what's happening where.
Sweat Together @ Any place with access to H2O - I'm not saying hit the gym and prove that you're an Olympian. I'm just saying do something active. Hit the trail at Memorial Park or jump around on the trampolines at Sky Zone, which is surprisingly inexpensive. Bike around Downtown on a Houston B Cycle for the low-low. Admit it, you want to. The only thing with this idea is that if you haven't even said the word exercise in the past 10 years, this might be challenging. It's hard to manage conversation and look cute when you can't breathe. This, I know.
Arial View @ the Chase Building - There's an observation deck on the 60th floor of the Chase Building with some awesome views of the city. It's totally free and open to the public, but it's only open during business hours (M-F 8-5:30) and no weekends or holidays. So for this one, you either need to blow off a day of work or snatch her up for a quick lunch break if you're in the area.
If the work week gets the best of you and you just can't muster enough creative juice to be great, then use the resources around you! Here's a few I use when I want to get out of my bubble:
Also, don't underestimate the power of recon. If you are dating - one or multiple people (do ya thug thizzle) - then get out and SEE what the city has to offer - get LOST IN FAMILIARITY. One evening after work, stop by a new place and grab a drink. Get a feel for the vibe and see if it's somewhere you would bring a future date. Make sure it's not a place where you would run into other people you're dating - let's be honest...it happens. If you're "dating" that means you're still single and folks need to stop putting so much emphasis on that word. I digress, check the prices so you know before hand what you're getting into. Go online and check the menu. Become a connoisseur of your city.
So let me give the obligatory PSA before I go. These places and ideas are things that I like to do (me as in...me and my taste). I can't promise you this stuff will work on everybody, but what I can tell you is that if the woman (or man) is really interested in you - it doesn't really matter what you do. Most of us just want to know that our time is desired. But taking the time to creatively plan a date, will put you ahead of the game...sharing your true intentions is optional, but highly recommended.