Ah, summer -- those three sun-kissed months when we can finally drag ourselves out of our Tostito burrows and spend some quality time trying to convince near-strangers that they should touch their mouths to our mouths.
Unfortunately, all those romantic nights in from October to June holed up with a bottle of wine and Chrome Incognito tabs may have left some of us a bit out of practice in terms of actual dating mechanics. "Now that I have danced upon and traded phone numbers with this Kristen Stewart lookalike, what's step No. 2?" we may wonder.
Don't be fooled, friends. Much like the streets of the city themselves, though summer dating activities might seem to be brimming with possibility, in reality, they are still full of potholes. Be warned, then, that these wooing venues are not always the fun time rom-coms make them out to be.
1. Arcade bar
Expectation: You playfully hip-check your would-be significant other out of the way as the two of you waggle your joysticks to "Street Fighter." As she goes in for the K.O., she drops a kiss onto your cheek; distracted, you flush, and she yells in triumph as Ryu roundhouse kicks Chun-Li in the face. Later, you bang.
Reality: You spend two hours ignoring each other as you try to beat your own high score at "Addams Family" pinball.
2. Cubs game
Expectation: OK, so you're not that into baseball, but you figure, hey, there are worse ways to spend an afternoon than sitting in the sunshine and eating french fries, right? Plus, watching the way your honey's eyes light up as she describes Jake Arrieta's ERA is exciting enough. Later, you bang.
Reality: Beers are $9. Plus, your date gets so worked up about the Cardinals that she gets angry-drunk and pours a pitcher of Miller Lite into her own lap.
3. Street festival
Expectation: Your date laces his fingers into yours as the two of you watch Laura Stevenson kill it onstage. He scratches behind the ears of a particularly scruffy Jack Russell, and you think, out of nowhere, A dog like that could be ours someday. Later, you bang.
Reality: So. Many. White. People. In. Flower. Crowns.
4. Brunch in the park
Expectation: Your date's a frugal person, and you appreciate that in a partner. So instead of braving the line for fried pickles at Handlebar, she shows up at Holstein Park with a basket full of vegan scones she baked herself and a Thermos of mimosas. You read comics together on a blanket, occasionally brushing your calves together. Later, you bang.
Reality: Turns out it's kind of hard for two people to go through an entire bottle of champagne, and you get day-drunk and hungover at the same time. Also, you are so sticky from orange juice spillage that you don't want to touch your own body, let alone someone else's.
Honestly, the whole shebang almost makes you wish it were too cold to propose anything but Netfix marathons. Almost.
Kate Conway is a RedEye special contributor. She also writes for xoJane and still enjoys summer dating, despite all of the above.
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