I'm going to go out on a limb and say that almost everyone who reads this will have done at least one of these very Auckland dates, if not all of them.
We're an uncreative bunch, really. But there's obviously something great about these date ideas because we all keep going back to the tried and tested strategies.
Am I missing any? I'd love to hear your date ideas!
Tanuki's Cave & Comedy Club combo
This is the absolute classic Auckland date. The dim lighting at Tanuki's will make you (and your date) appear at least 20 per cent hotter, plus the cheap 'n cheerful teppanyaki-style menu won't break the bank.
You can ease the awkwardness with a sake or few, before heading to the Classic Comedy Club for a laugh and a half. This is the gold-standard, foolproof Auckland date. If all else fails, this is a guaranteed good time.
Bedford Soda mid-week Tinder hookup
You've put in the hard yards, swiping your loneliness away on a miserable Sunday afternoon. You've established that your potential mate has banter decent enough to warrant meeting in real life. Now, to choose an agreeable, safely hip spot that says, "I'm cool, but totally approachable."
Enter Bedford Soda & Liquor. Both Ponsonby and Takapuna locations are positively teeming with mildly awkward first daters on a mid-week evening. It makes for great people-watching if nothing else, and if you're lucky you might spot Hauraki breakfast host / Bedford co-owner Jeremy Wells pesting around.
Takapuna Beach walk and coffee
This is the date for the completely non-committal. Like, maybe you're only 60 per cent interested, and can't risk being stuck in an entire dinner situation. Walking the length of Takapuna beach takes a grand total of about 15 minutes, so you have an easy out… It also means you don't have to put in any effort zhooshing up - just throw on your activewear! Being dressed like this is also super handy for when you decide to pull the pin and make a dash for it.
Something involving cars
I can't profess to having been asked to the drags myself, but when I quizzed the gals about their most "Auckland" dating experiences, this one came up more than a few times.
Specifically, one said: "I went on a date with a Westie guy and he took me to Meremere to
watch the skids - it was pretty shit but I still banged him."
Well, there's a lid for every pot and there are more than a few bogan babes out there who would totally get a wide on for anything involving stupidly fast driving/drifting/dragging (or whatever you call it).
The movie and Giapo
The great thing about a movie date is that you don't have to converse a lot. This is the perfect place to take a date whose looks you fancy, but personality leaves a lot to be desired: The stunner with the personality of a cardboard box.
Choose the back row for increased odds of canoodling. If you can still be bothered after the movie, be sure to head to Giapo for a mindbogglingly complicated ice-cream - if the date is sh*t, at least you'll get some great material for the 'gram!
The 'try-before-you-buy' swim date
Go for a drive out to Wenderholm for an afternoon wine and swim, followed by a soak at Waiwera Hot Pools. They're closed at the moment but will re-open in summer.
Alternatively, head out to Maraetai and do bombs off the wharf. Either way, swim dates are great for checking out the wares prior to purchase …
The fancy pants dinner date
Nothing screams "let's f**k" like a fancy pants, no-expense-spared dinner date at the likes of The Sugar Club. Order the seven course degustation with matching wine - sure, you run the risk of entering a serious food coma, but after seven wines the odds of getting it on afterwards increase dramatically. It's awfully cliche, but girls are indeed easily impressed by this kind of thing.
The hike out west
I've been sucked into this one before. So you've claimed that you're into "an active lifestyle" and you "love adventure". Well, now you've been trapped by your own promises of awesomeness and you're about to be tested. Trust me, it's hard work trying to stay looking cute, and not all puffed and sweaty, as you ascend the Waitakere ranges.
In my case, I went out and had an absolute blinder the night before and turned up with a grade 10 hangover on the morning of this dreaded date. It will go down in history as one of the most punishing dates of all time and it didn't matter how hot the guy was, I had a truly horrible time. I highly recommend not consuming several magnums of champagne before such a date.
Picnic at the summit of "insert volcano here"
In this stunning city built upon 50 volcanic cones (sidenote: dreadful idea) we're blessed with multiple high vantage points atop which you can impress a date with a thoughtfully curated picnic. If it goes well, you could also take things a little further and find a secluded spot to "roll around in the hay" with a romantic sunset backdrop. If you live in Auckland, and haven't had a steamy summit makeout sesh, you're missing out.
Pints at Shadz
Students - I've got you covered! Before I became the cynical sex columnist I am today, I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed academic. And in those heady days I had many a successful hunt at the University of Auckland's student dive bar, Shadows.
Those days are so far behind me now that I actually had to google to see if the bar still exists… Sure enough, it does. Anyway, one of my favourite things to do in those days was wag classes and get stuck into the 2-4-1 jugs with a cute boy. (Maybe this explains why I write about sexy stuff for a living and I'm not a brain surgeon now… Hmmmm).
The point is - it's an easy win.