February 10, 2010

Love on the Rocks: V-Day in Ithaca’s Frozen Tundra

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Are you an avid outdoorsman / woman? Regardless of the talent, having any set of skills pertaining to the outdoors is enviable indeed, especially when it comes to dating. And with Valentine’s Day in sight, what better excuse is there to share your expertise and passion with a loved one? Hell, why do you even need an excuse? Because the real secret is that the outdoors date is one of the hottest around, even in the dead of winter.

The outdoors date is filled with activities that a normal date just doesn’t have. Ever have a significant other complain that there’s no “adventure” left in your relationship? Sounds like a perfect opportunity to take them skydiving! Just kidding … but only kind of. Taking the date out of the restaurant or movie theater and into the outside world is a perfect way to think outside the box and just maybe, get into someone’s pants. Taking dinner outside and calling it a picnic though, might lack the adventure/novelty you need. However, how extreme is too extreme? You want to surprise and entertain you partner, not throw them out of an airplane (unless they’re into that sort of thing). After all, the idea is they’ll want to do it (and hopefully you) again.

Here are some helpful “dos” and some definite “don’ts” for crafting the perfect outdoors date:

Do. Teach your lover a new set of skills; this establishes a sort of role-playing game. You’re the instructor — your partner, the student. It’s the perfect trust-building exercise. Your lover must learn to trust you 100 hundred percent, and if you don’t blow it, it will do wonders for the rest of your relationship.

Do. If it’s a first or second date, find a way to break the touch barrier. And what better way to do so than by showing your date how to put on a climbing harness? Size their skis perfectly? Roll a kayak?

Do. Appear spontaneous, but have a plan. Try going for a “random” hike through the plantations, only to “stumble upon” a ready-made picnic site for two.

Don’t. Underestimate Mother Na­ture, or she will cock-block you (for lack of a better term). It could rain, snow, thunderstorm, flood or whatever, and you will be just plain out of luck. It’s important to always have a plan B or C or even Z. Bottom line: When facing the worst, know when to call it a day and head indoors.

Don’t. Forget about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. A popular psychology theory bandied about in outdoor education, Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy states that your students need to have all their basic needs met before they can learn anything and have a good time. As it pertains to you and your hot date ice-skating on Beebe Lake, this means making sure your significant other is warm, well fed, comfortable, trusting and not in imminent danger of skating off the waterfall before trying to pull any moves.

Whatever you do, don’t be that “macho” person who takes their girlfriend or boyfriend on a date and proceeds to scare the bejeezus out of them, whether it’s by helping them rediscover a latent fear of heights / drowning / cold, or just by being an insensitive jerk. Every weekend I go climbing at the Gunks, I invariably spot some tool from New York City, screaming at his five-foot two, 100-pound girlfriend to get her butt up a cliff when the nearest hand-holds are a full half foot away. It’s not only a fast way to a break-up, but it potentially ruins an amazing activity for someone, possibly for life.

Remember, patience is the key to a success romp in the woods. Take the time to be gentle and understanding, and your date will go a long way towards that first kiss, building more trust, or best of all, sharing a newfound love of the outdoors! Fail to do so, and your date might just end up on the rocks or crumpled in a heap at the bottom of them.

Original Author: Guy Ross