You probably thing this economic downturn is a real mother-father, eh? Well, once (ish) per week Tomfoolery is your spot for getting some ideas on how to get your relationship-on, on the cheap. This time, daters, make it a volunteer date.
I'm not suggesting that you ask out University of Tennessee alum, per se. I'm saying you can try donating your time while on a date. Take a deep breath; it's not going to be like a philanthropic episode of Blind Date.
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I'm the last person to do something altruistic (I gave at the office), but in the present era of the opposite of prosperity, giving your time is easier than giving cash and provides more of a sense of accomplishment than cutting a check (unless it's a really, really big check, I suppose).
The key to a volunteer date working is for NOT to be the first date. A first date is about getting to know you, getting to like you and getting to hope you like me. On subsequent dates, the information flow is more meaningful but somewhat less chatty.
According to YourTango's good buddy, Rachel Greenwald, men like women who are 'nice.' Is there anything 'nicer' than lending a helping hand to someone in need? Isn't that the textbook definition of 'nice'? Furthermore, Sheilas appreciate a bloke who is giving with his time (as long as he's not in your face about how generous he is); it indicates that he'll pay proper attention to her (and, ostensibly, future rug rats).
Things to remember on your humanitarian mission:
1) Inventory your collective skills/ likes. If she hates the outdoors and don't know which part of a hammer is the business end, Habitat For Humanity might not work.
2) Coordinate as far in advance as possible. Sometimes charities have just as much of a problem with too many people as too few. Schedule it, don't just show up and expect them to give you a kid to play with.
3) Expect everything to take twice as long as you'd guess. Everyone's trying really hard but occasionally things go sideways. Don't have make dinner plans uptown for 7:30 when the downtown soup kitchen closes at 6:30.
4) Have a good attitude. Sometimes spending time doing stuff that you usually wouldn't do gets, uh, boring. Be open to it and you may learn that old people really know what they're talking about.
5) Be safe. Unfortunately, some charity work is in parts of town that The Warriors wouldn't even visit. Leave the shine at home and develop a signal if something is uncomfortable.
6) Feel good about yourself. Seriously, high fives all around. Feel free not to rub your bigheartedness in anyone's face, aight?
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7) If all else fails, give blood. It might not be as glamorous as teaching kids to read, but it's just as important. The Red Cross reckons that one pint of blood can save up to three lives. Bonus: Free orange juice. Keep in mind that celebratory could knock you on your Heineken, plan accordingly.
Bask in your benevolence and make it a volunteer date.