Call me crazy, but there’s something about a bellyful of crawfish and the smell of balsa wood that get the romantic juices flowing. Hahah. So let your friendly neighborhood Man share with you some of his secret insider tips to successful romantic dates at your IKEA.
First off, I want to make this very clear, I was doing this waaay before the movie (500) Days of Summer used IKEA as the setting for one of the sweetest movie date scenes I’ve ever seen. The movie came out in 2009. I saw it for the first time on DVD, though we’ll assume it was released on DVD the same year. I was 19 at the time. I was already dating and driving when I was 18. So you know…just saying. I didn’t copy nobody! This is all genuine, 100% Man. But (500) definitely nailed it too. Just watch:
I will always promote IKEA as an excellent date option that is creative, unique, romantic, and very personal. I wouldn’t make this the first date (unless there’s some sort of established inside joke or connection or you know, you met there) but it is definitely a great date to get to know the person and harmlessly imagine the future. It’s a no-risk, high-reward, low-pressure situation. So let’s call that oh I don’t know…date 5 or 6?
First, let’s grab dinner at the Cafe. Did you all know that IKEA has a cafe that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Great food, incredible cost. Very DIY. Grab a tray for you and your date and get in line. I recommend the standard meatballs, mashed potatoes, gravy, and lingonberry sauce. Perhaps the two of you can also share a smoked salmon plate. And, trust me on this, IKEA has some of the best fries ever. Very much like Belgian frites, the fries at IKEA are thick cut but twice-fried for a super crispy crunchy outside and a light, fluffy, warm inside. There are some very nice desserts but please, take my advice, pass on it for now and save it for a little afternoon coffee date. Dessert comes later!
I like grabbing a meal from the IKEA Cafe for a couple reasons. Yes, the food is actually surprisingly good. And yes, the cost is incredibly economical. It was a godsend for a piss-poor college student. But it is exactly that college dining mentality I wanted to recreate. The fine dining and gourmet restaurants are all good and fun. First couple of dates, you want to bring out the best. In everything. Your personality. Your interests and hobbies. Your mannerisms. And of course, the food. But life isn’t always about the best. The best is easy to get used to. You want to know that the two of you are going to be okay with…the medium. Not bad. Not the best. But medium. That’s why I like to take a date here. It’s nice to date someone who knows how to appreciate a fine meal. But it’s equally nice to date someone who can still appreciate meatballs at a furniture store. It’s a…’can we be comfortable with each other’ kind of thing. Who doesn’t want someone who can rock the LBD at Le Grand and a plaid polo and jeans at IKEA? I don’t think I could date someone who only wanted one or the other.
Alright you’re full, you’re happy, you need something to do. Time to explore! IKEA is literally a playground for adults. There are the scattered apartment configurations (780,
550, 400, even 280 sq foot models!) and then there are all the model offices, bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. I love walking through all of them. You get a real feel for the personality of a person during these visits. Their style, their preferences, and their priorities. You sit in the model kitchens and you see how the two of you could work together. How do you orchestrate your movements in those tiny kitchens. I go to the fridge. She goes to the stove. For a brief moment we are only inches away from each other. We could get closer…we could touch…get lost…ah! But don’t spill the sauce. Don’t burn the roast. And we need to get the ice from the freezer. So we keep dancing around each other. In the offices, we talk priorities. Whose office are we in. What do we do in this office. Who do we do it for. What are we dreaming of. I see past, present, and future. In no certain terms, with no judgements or conclusions, we talk about where we see ourselves. I admire a woman with direction. In the bedrooms words are picked carefully. This bed is comfy. Why don’t you try it. How do you sleep. Which side of the bed. Check out this killer walk-in closet. It even has a viewing mirror and a chair. So for example…maybe I sit here…and you say something like…’I need help picking an outfit for this meeting’ or ‘what should I wear to tonight’s party’ or ‘what do you think of this I picked up today’. What do you think of that arrangement. Play house for a little bit. Have fun. Pretend and let the fantasy live in IKEA. No one has to bring it out, no one has to assemble it just yet. Let me pretend to cook for you at the kitchen island. Let’s entertain guests in our tiny-ass apartment. Let’s check out the plates and silverware.
Alright! You’ve successfully navigated the maze of the IKEA showroom. I mean come on…the metaphors practically jump off the screen at you by this point, no? Let’s get our just desserts for walking together all this time (hitting you over the head yet). Right after the registers is the IKEA snack bar. Dollar hot dogs, cinnamon buns, please don’t ever get their abomination of a pizza, and of course, frozen yogurt sundaes and cones. Dollar dollar bill y’all. I personally prefer the cone. Your date may want a sundae. Strawberry or chocolate sauce with that?
You just had an incredible time at the same place you bought your dorm room furniture. Who knows. You may have to return one day to pick up furniture for your apartment. Or just go back because it’s fun and it’s playful and the showroom changes all the time to showcase the new designs.
Just remember. Be careful. Like our hearts, the furniture may be ömtålig. (Check the Daily Prompt to figure out what that one says in Swedish.)