By Rachel Khona
So you asked her out. What do you do now to totally impress her? Or it isn't your first date, but you want to try something different to keep the flames burning? With all the options out there, stand out from the masses. The best part? She'll feel special, and think you're cool and creative.
1. Take her out for a 'progressive dinner'
Instead of a regular old dinner, do a “progressive dinner.” New restaurants are popping up left and right. So why settle for one? Munch on starters at the bar of the first restaurant. Then move to a second establishment for the main course. Finish off with dessert at a café or another restaurant. If you’re on a budget, try what Grammy-recognized artist Anand Bhatt loves to do to woo the ladies; a dhaba crawl. “I map out some fun and non-upscale restaurants, ending with a nice place like the Oberoi or a walk on Juhu beach if I’m in Mumbai, and we go to each one and try something from their menu.”
Just be sure to save the fanciest place (anywhere you can sit down) for the main course since it's the most important!
2. Show her you're cultured -- check out a gallery
Checking out the different pieces on display is a great way to bond and will give you something to chat about. When choosing a gallery or museum, keep in mind your date’s interests. Is she into modern art? New art galleries are opening in all the major cities. The husband and wife team of Mortimer Chatterjee and Tara Lal have created a space in Mumbai, dedicated to the exhibition of cutting-edge Indian art. Delhi's Habitat Centre always has new art on display, with great restaurants nearby to boot.
What if she's a history buff? Delhi's National Museum has some great artifacts you probably haven't seen since your grade school visit. This time, both of you are sure to be blown away by the totally sexy Gupta period costumes. When you’re done perusing the displays, hit the museum restaurant or nearby café.
3. Take a ballroom dancing class
There’s nothing sexier (and more fun) than learning to shake it. Even if you're not the most co-ordinated person, just take it in stride and have a good time. Says Kamal Khatri of Dance Classes in Mumbai, “we see many couples coming in on dates, and they learn to dance together.”
In addition to Dance Classes, Swingers Dance in Bangalore and Ballroom Dreams in Mumbai offer a variety of courses in everything from the waltz to the jitterbug. But if you really want to move to something sultry, try one of the Latin styles like salsa, tango, or Brazil's "forbidden" dance, the Lambada. “Dancing brings couples close and as they spend quality time together, they can get to know each other better,” says Khatri. Just don't get too frisky too soon!
4. Play a board game
Ask her out for a coffee, then snag your favourite game and bring it along to your cafe. Board games are fun and can encourage a little friendly and flirty competition. Is she a witty wordsmith? Try Scrabble. Is she a financial maven? Monopoly should get her juices flowing. Plus board games give you an insight into her that you may not otherwise see. Is she a cheater? Does she get angry easily? Or does she take it all in stride? There’s only one way to find out.
5. Attend a cooking class
Show your lady you're manly enough to cook! Even better, you'll learn how to make all those fancy meals you enjoy while eating out. Nothing says romance more than French food, or sweet cupcakes and chocolate. Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef Pooja Dhingra owns Le 15 Patisserie in Mumbai, where she conducts a variety of classes in the art of decadent desserts. Dhingra says a cooking class "takes the edge off and makes you comfortable while you're on a date."
Can't cook? Don't worry. "Most of the people who come for the basic classes can't even break an egg, so knowing how to cook is not compulsory,” she adds. “The idea of these classes is to come learn and have some fun at the same time."
There's something for every palate. Over in Bangalore, 85-year-old Hajra Mohammed teaches classes in Kutchi Memon cooking. Your date and you can master regional Indian cuisine, if you prefer the spice!
6. Take her on a two-for-one with a cinema restaurant
Still want to take her to dinner and a movie? Don't get stuck munching stale popcorn when you can dine on a gourmet meal. A trend started in New York and London has now moved to India as well. Cinemas with built-in restaurants offer the best of both worlds and are pretty upscale. At Cine Diner in Big Cinemas' 9-screen Megaplex in Mumbai, you get full meals with table service as the latest flicks play.
Rachel Khona is a writer and performer who has written for Cosmopolitan, Ask Men, Creem, and is a contributing editor at Vaga. She can also be seen performing for Inner Monologues and Speakeasy Stories. In her spare time, she likes sliding down rainbows and chasing imaginary squirrels.