8/8/2012 10:53 AM
Want to ensure that spark on a first date? Consider adding a little danger to the mix. When we have an exciting experience, we tend to consider the people we had it with sexy and exciting, too. It’s because of a phenomenon known as misattributed emotion. We associate our emotional state with people rather than situations.
In one study, male participants had to cross one of two bridges to get to a research assistant: some had a steady foot bridge, others a rickety suspension bridge. Once the guy was there, she would hand him a phone number to call to be part of a new segment of the experiment. Of the sixteen guys who crossed a sturdy bridge, only two called. But, fully half of those who had to cross a rickety suspension bridge called her. The elevated heart rate and adrenaline rush that we feel in a dangerous situation is similar to the symptoms we experience during infatuation. The guys transferred that emotion to the research assistant.
Plus, the “danger” doesn’t have to be real, or even physical, to get your nervous system excited. There are exciting date activities for people at any fitness level. Here are a few that range from the relatively tame to the extreme:
- Head to the amusement park and hit the rollercoasters. Those twists and turns are a safe way to get your heart thumping. Just a side note here to people who avoid rollercoasters because of bad experiences back in the 80s: the technology has come a long way. No more jarred spines and heads getting tossed back and forth by corkscrews.
- Go parasailing. Live near the coast? Head to the shore and coast over the water together for an unforgettable adventure. People in inland areas can get a similar thrill from ziplining or, if you are brave, skydiving.
- Take a surfing class together. While this is mostly one for coastal folks, you may also find indoor surfing centers in inland areas.
- Try out a new cuisine. Checking out a completely unfamiliar cuisine can be a bit intimidating. Figure out with your date what the different entrees are. You may find a brand new favorite restaurant.
- Go rock climbing. Most cities have indoor rock-climbing walls. While courses can look pretty tame from the ground, it’s a different story once you are twenty feet up. As you encourage and help each other, you will find that you bond over the exciting date experience.
- Watch a scary and exciting movie. Find a light horror movie or an action/adventure movie. The trick is to find one with an ending that will leave you both feeling excited and energized.
- Head to the trampoline gym. Remember how much fun trampolines were when you were a kid? It’s still pretty exciting to bounce off the floor and walls. Working up a sweat together also gets those happy-making endorphins pumping.
- Take a dance class together. This is especially good if neither one of you has much dance experience. And, if you find you have two left feet, remember your sense of humor. People who can laugh at themselves are sexy.
- Go indoor skydiving. Indoor skydiving centers, where you float over a wind generator, are popping up all over the country. They’re definitely safer than the real thing, and, cheaper, too!