Sorry, I deleted my previous thread because it was silly...but here is the info on romancing someone on a tight budget:
Five ways to woo your woman for less than $20
Five creative date ideas accompanied by details and instances where the dates were used, giving the financially impaired male a legitimate shot at romance
By Eric Phillips
She was the woman of my dreams, and Friday night was the time to prove how much she meant to me. But there was a problem. Pulling my balance sheet from the ATM, I read in horror: $20.78.
I could cancel and wait for my next paycheck, or I could get creative and give her a night to remember. I chose the latter.
Dating is expensive, especially if your idea of romance requires more than Taco Bell and a movie from Blockbuster. With a little imagination, however, fairy tale evenings can be yours for less than $20.
Here is a list of five original, romantic evenings that will cost you less than $20 and will guarantee that your name is forever etched next to Prince Charming’s.
Candlelit Dinner With A View
Few activities set the mood for romance better than a nocturnal picnic atop a mountain or roof. Phoenix has a few worthy high spots, including Papago Peak, Camelback Mountain and A-Mountain. Rooftops are tough to access without good connections but are worth the extra effort.
• Finger food that doesn’t need to be eaten immediately (make sure it’s packaged tightly so it won’t leak)
• Sparkling cider (alcoholic beverages tend to break your budget)
• A picnic blanket
• Towels for wiping your hands
• A lighter
• Tea candles ($2 for a bag of 50 at most grocery stores)
• Plastic champagne glasses ($3 for a two-pack at most grocery stores)
• Bottle opener
A blindfold accentuates the surprise – but not if you get lost or neglect to tell her what to wear, as a friend of mine did.
“I blindfolded my date the first time I went to A-Mountain,” my friend said. “I didn’t know the trail, and she was decked out in high heels, so for 30 minutes I had to lead a blind girl in high heels up the side of a mountain, dodging cacti and rocks. Needless to say, there was no second date.”
I took a date to the top of a high school. It was illegal, and we climbed a drainage pipe to the top. Nevertheless, the combination of trespassing, a candlelit picnic and a panoramic view was electric. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t in a steamy scene straight from a James Bond film.
Fondue and a Movie
Fondue is the perfect food to feed each other and, it can be cheap. If you don’t know how to make fondue, borrow a cookbook from the public library.
“There’s something about feeding each other morsels dripping with cheese and chocolate, and using your hands,” said a girlfriend of mine. “It goes beyond romantic. It’s sensual. And it’s the ultimate way to care for each other. When you think about it, the last time we were fed by someone else’s hand, we were helpless little babies.”
For added ambiance, spread a sheet on the floor in front of your TV and feed each other while enjoying hours of romantic movies. To stay under budget, rent your movies from the public library. Not only does the library have a wide selection of oldies, but they’re free.
If you really want to show off, treat her to a night of culture.
First, take her to an ethnic restaurant. They’re intimate, with lots of atmosphere and character, and usually cheaper than your typical American restaurant.
Vietnamese, Thai, Ethiopian and Greek are some of my favorites. Be careful, however, not to order a dish with ingredients that will overpower the rest of the evening. Curry and fish sauce are famous for lingering on your breath for days.
After exploring a foreign culture, delve into contemporary American culture with a whirlwind tour of art galleries. On the first Friday of each month, most Phoenix art galleries sponsor exhibitions close to each other so you can walk from one to the other. Don’t just gawk. Fraternize with scores of hip bohemians sporting all-black attire. And the free wine and cheese each gallery offers allows you to enjoy the finer things in life for less than $20.
Mesa resident Kelly Sanders has a warning for those who may be faking their interest in art, though. “If you don’t really like art that much, and you’re just using this date as a way to impress her, she’ll see right through you, and it’ll backfire. I tried this, but my date kept asking me these art history questions. It was terrifying. I had no clue how to answer. I didn’t know the difference between an impressionist and a realist. I was trying to impress her with my sensitive side, but I think I did the opposite.”
Dance the Night Away
Dancing is the perfect way to learn about your compatibility, but you’ll need a hearty meal for a night full of boogying down. The Claim Jumper, 1530 W. Baseline Road near the Arizona Mills in Tempe, must think we’re all offspring of Andre the Giant. Take advantage of their overconfidence in your appetite and split one of their enormous entrées.
Once you’re stuffed, prepare to shimmy the night away. Dance lessons usually cost a lot, but at Hola Café, 2515 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, and The Bash on Ash, 230 W. Fifth St., Tempe, you can enjoy an hour-long lesson for $5 each. On weeknights, instructors at Hola Café teach your body how cut the rug Latino style. Latin music requires intense hip thrusting, so if you tend to remind people of the Tin Man on the dance floor, go to The Bash on Ash Tuesday nights for a full hour of swing instruction.
On the way home, find a secluded parking lot where you and your date can slow dance to those soppy songs The Bash and Hola Café didn’t play. Be warned, though. A friend of mine did this to his wife, and now he can’t drive past an empty lot at night without her begging him to stop.
“Now whenever we drive home, she starts looking out the window for empty lots,” my friend said. “When she finally sees one, she grabs my arm and starts with her puppy-eye begging. I tried to explain that if we always stop, it takes away the novelty. But I think when it comes to things like that, nothing loses its novelty for girls.”
Night of the Rich and Famous
Since your bank account doesn’t afford you a night straight from an episode of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” you’ll have to pretend.
First, take your date to your favorite restaurant for happy hour and enjoy expensive food for half the price. Restaurants like Applebee’s do this daily from 3 to 7 p.m. If you really want to impress her, take her to Ichi Ban at 1435 E. University Drive in Tempe, where you can gorge on half-off sushi from 5 to 7 p.m.
While you’re enjoying half-priced food, explain to her that tonight you’ll pretend she won the lottery. Come up with an amount, like $2 million, and tell her she has until 10 p.m. to spend it on a house, car and anything else time allows.
First, shop for the house. If mansions are her thing, find the ritziest neighborhood you can enter (gates can pose a problem) and go make-believe home shopping.
Then go car shopping and test drive whatever she picks. This can be tricky if her tastes are expensive because many salesmen are reluctant to let “anybody” test drive luxury automobiles. A friend of mine figured out a way around this.
“I pose as a rookie [Major League] baseball player who just signed a big signing bonus and wants to get some wheels,” my friend said. “You’d be surprised at how easy it works. They’ve let me drive Hummers, Jaguars, Ferraris and Porches.”
After you’ve let her test drive a car way out of your budget, take her window-shopping at the nicest places in the Valley. The Esplanade area and Scottsdale Fashion Square have plenty of shops with clerks snotty enough to be out of your budget
Finally, keep your fantasy life alive with a movie at the Scottsdale Drive-in on Hayden and McKellips roads. It costs $5 each to get in, and if you have a truck, put a mattress in the bed and watch while lying down snuggled in a blanket.
A paltry bank account of $20.78 wasn’t the end of my dating career, and it doesn’t have to the end of yours. With a little creativity, a thin wallet doesn’t mean a boring date. The key is to be original and resourceful, and tailor the idea to your girl. Don’t be afraid to be corny either. The stupider you feel telling the guys about the date, the more she’ll like it.
Finally, remember: Prince Charming doesn’t have to be rich.