Would it be fair to say the people who sit and edit a magazine for women, which focuses on dating and sex and having the best of those things, are experts at romance? No, absolutely not. The editors and writers at Cosmopolitan are regular folks who go on regular dates, which is to say that some of the dates are only OK, some are terrible, and others are write-it-down-in-your-diary great.
That said, there is virtue in hearing about other people's dates, if only because, sometimes, your own love life feels stale, and you need some ideas to copy. In that spirit, here are the best dates Cosmo editors went on in 2018. Steal the ideas, adapt them for your own purposes, or—at the very least—use this as motivation to make your own best dates list. Reflecting on the good things about a year, rather than zooming forward to another one that will probably be the same, feels very nice.
1. Dim sum and massages in Chinatown.[instagram]https://www.instagram.com/p/BdiJlvaglfn/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_medium=loading[/instagram]
"We ate dim sum in Chinatown and then got massages at this little hole-in-the-wall spa. $39 each got us an hour-long massage, which felt like an amazing bargain, and we were set up in this kooky little room together, but it was extremely not sexual. The masseuses meant business! I’m pretty sure I entered a catatonic state. Pro tip, though: I would recommend reversing the order and getting the dim sum after the massages, rather than the other way around. The date was a highlight because it felt like we got a lot of bang for our buck—$50 goes a longgggg way at a dim sum joint in Chinatown. (And for you New Yorkers, if you haven’t had the shrimp and chive dumplings at Nom Wah, you haven’t lived!) The whole thing was a definite departure from our usual dinner-and-a-movie fallback." —Rosa Heyman, Deputy Editor
2. A quick first date that lasted 14 hours.
"We went to a bar but I had no expectations, because online dating. I only expected to hang out for an hour and then head home, since I had a long day. That hour turned into 14. He was really easy to talk to, so we ended up at a second bar until 1 a.m. (we'd met up at 8 p.m.). And then we went to his house, and I left the next morning. We just had our fifth date." —Sinikiwe Dhliwayo, Associate Photo Editor
3. Blindfolded sculpting (with wine).
"There's a place in NYC called Unartodox where we sculpted while blindfolded. It was very different and not something we'd normally do. We were given clay heads, as well as a quick lesson on face proportions to help us out, then we were blindfolded. We sculpted to what I can only describe as epically sweeping film scores. My boyfriend and I coincidentally ended up both making something scary and weird, which made us feel closer. Also, it was BYOB, which only improves everything." —Julia Pugachevsky, Sex & Relationships Editor
4. Fancy homemade spaghetti and spicy margaritas.
"One Saturday night, we invited our friend over who was going through a breakup so we could cook her a big, fancy dinner: Spaghetti with clams. We bought all the ingredients for about $40, got home, made a bunch of spicy margaritas and started prepping. But then she had to cancel. I pouted, threw my bra off, and was bummed... for about five minutes. Then my boyfriend turned up the Motown music, made another round of margs, and together, we puttered around the kitchen like Ina and Jeffrey. Through fits of tequila-induced giggles and lots of sloppy, garlic-scented kisses, we had our favorite night of the year." —Jessica Goodman, Senior Editor
5. Toy shopping instead of dinner.
"My boyfriend and I skipped dinner and instead went to a bunch of cute toy stores to pick out a bunch of toys to donate to Toys for Tots. It was fun joking around and feeling kid-like again—throwing balls at each other, and picking out the cheapest yet coolest toys." —Chloe Metzger, Senior Beauty Editor
6. Big cups of wine at a silly Broadway show.[instagram]https://www.instagram.com/p/BjhfnmTlhy7/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_medium=loading[/instagram]
"We went to dinner and drinks, and then went to go see Spongebob: The Musical, got tall boys of wine, got really drunk, and enjoyed the show! It was the absolute best because the super silly, casual environment of the show made it easy to just be yourself. Neither of us felt the need to 'turn the sexy on'—it’s impossible to smize when you have a giant crab farting in surround sound in front of you. It was also a great test to see if his sense of humor naturally vibed with mine." —Mia Lardiere, Snapchat Discover Editor
7. A simple and lovely first date that no one wanted to end.
"I really, really hate first dates. It's essentially like a tipsy job interview where you have to spill out every good quality you have about yourself, while also adding some charm and wit in there. But I went on a really great first date at the beginning of December. It was natural and easy, he asked me about my family, my job, my past relationships, et cetera. It was as if we had known each other for a while. It was simply drinks at a local bar in my neighborhood, but he somehow made it intimate. The thing that really made it great was we both didn't want the night to end. He told me he was going to the bathroom, and instead brought two drinks back over to the table because he 'didn't want the night to end.' Sometimes a good date is really just about your chemistry with a person. And he was lovely." —Taylor Andrews, Assistant Editor
8. Painting a bedroom in the middle of summer.
"I moved into a new apartment this summer, a few months after my boyfriend and I started dating, and the walls in my room were this very blah beige color so I decided to enlist his help to paint them white. It was September and super hot outside, so we painted with the windows closed and my AC blasting. It was fun to see how we worked together, and very endearing to see him covering himself in paint on my behalf. A few hours in, we were delirious from the paint fumes and realized we'd been listening to REM for like, three hours, which was further contributing to feeling insane. He makes me laugh a lot, but I think that day we laughed the most." —Hannah Smothers, Staff Writer
9. A hotel room (just for a day).
"We rented a hotel. For the day, on a weekday. They gave us a good rate because we weren't spending the night. Took off work and spent the day there from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. watching movies and ordering room service." –Meredith Bryan, Features Director
10. A surprise that got ruined but was still the best.
"For our one-year anniversary, my girlfriend told me to keep a Saturday night in October open, like a month in advance. About a week before, I heard that Lily Allen was coming to NY and it was on the same night that she told me to block off, so I was PISSED. She was like 'Ugh, I'm sorry, I would totally bring you, but I planned this date for us weeks ago!' I was so grumpy. But when I got home, she handed me an envelope with two Lily Allen tickets in it that she'd had for weeks. I totally ruined the surprise but it was so perfect." –Hannah Chambers, Assistant Editor
11. A feast for two.
"My fiancé and I love Thanksgiving food, and since we live far away from our families, we celebrated by making a feast that could easily feed six people—for just the two of us. We spent the afternoon cooking and the next three days eating. The date that keeps on giving." —Ashley Oerman, Senior Wellness Editor
12. A literal picnic under the Eiffel Tower.
"My boyfriend and I had this trip to Paris planned for a while and we knew that having a picnic under the Eiffel Tower was one of the things that we definitely wanted to do. The night we decided to have our little picnic, we stopped by what I can only describe as a Parisian 7/11, and picked up wine, meat, cheese, and a baguette (because obviously). It was so fun leaning into the romance and the cheese factor of it all, especially since we've been together for years. It was also nice discovering that I could spend six days non-stop with someone and still want to share my meat, cheese, and bread with them." —Sarah Weldon, Assistant Snapchat Discover Editor