MSN Dating & Personals

Great At Home Dates

By Kimberly Dawn Neumann

Once you’re comfortable with a person you’re seeing, you may start substituting those dinner-and-movie dates with some homebound R-and- R. But does staying in equal boring? Does it mean you’re no longer trying to impress your new sweetie? Hardly! “Just like you make over a house, you can make over the time you spend in it with a little creativity,” says Tom Zemon of the home improvement show My First Place on HDTV.
“Think beyond the take-out/Netflix box when planning your next at-home date and you may start enjoying ‘staying in’ more than ‘going out’!” Here, some of the best, most romantic dates that don’t even require you to leave home.

I dip, you dip, we dip...
“Something that we’ve seen a lot of people trying lately is fondue,” says Darrah Horgan, Marketing Specialist for Whole Foods Market, Midtown Atlanta. “Some gourmet cheeses or chocolates over a low flame will usually melt anyone’s heart.” And since most of the dipping items can be picked up pre-cut in your grocer’s produce or bakery section, it’ll look like you’ve gone to more effort than you have! Horgan offers the following quick recipe for two: To make Mexican-Style Chocolate Fondue, boil 1 cup of cream, 4 cinnamon sticks, and 1 teaspoon chili powder in a small pan over medium heat. Remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes. Discard cinnamon. Put 1 pound chopped semisweet chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring cream mixture to a simmer, pour over chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Transfer to a fondue pot and keep warm over a low sterno flame, or pour into a large preheated ramekin. Dip cubed pound or angel-food cake, bananas, orange or pear slices, almond cookies, and/or strawberries.

Get arty
Instead of painting the town red, paint your wall. Getting creative lets you reveal a whole new side of yourself to your date. Zemon suggests buying a few pots of paint and inviting your honey over to help you turn a blank wall or canvas into an imitation Rothko or Pollock (their works are fun for amateur painters to reproduce). Pair it with a Berlioz symphony and a bottle of wine for a truly artistic evening. One caveat though—drinking too much wine before painting may lead to a morning-after wall of shame.

Go couch camping
Ah, the joy of the great... indoors? Yup, taking a little camping trip in your living room can be a blast. “Remember how fun it was to build a fort out of couch pillows and sheets when you were a kid? It’s even more fun as an adult!” says Tim Tucker of Las Vegas. “Light a pine-scented candle for atmosphere, eat franks and beans.” You can even roast marshmallows over candles (believe it or not, this really works!). And at the end of the date? If you two have been dating for a while or are ready to move things to the next level, “snuggle up together in a sleeping bag, of course,” says Tucker.

Host a morning date
Who said that dates have to be at night? Plan a weekend morning rendezvous! Invite your dateover and have coffee brewing. Spend the morning lounging on the couch reading the paper, or pour that java into Thermos cups and take a walk together. Talk about walking on sunshine!

Have a bake-off
Get your date eating out of the palm of your hand by baking something together. Not only is licking the bowl about as good as it gets, but the smell of fresh baked goods may help you get lucky. “If you want to get your date feeling comfortable and secure with you, you’ll want those smells around because baked goods are the number one odor for provoking nostalgia and feelings of ease,” says Alan Hirsch, M.D., Neurological Director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation. Prefer to spice things up? “Older men get aroused by vanilla scents, younger men by pumpkin pie and cinnamon, and women tend to get excited by the smell of licorice,” says Hirsch. In other words, plan your recipe carefully for a great date.

Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a certified fitness instructor and health and fitness writer whose work has appeared in Prevention, Women’s Health, Weight Watchers, and Fitness magazines.

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