Last-minute dates to please the ladies

    Rise and shine, lover-boy! It’s time for the big date! Let’s…

    You forgot, didn’t you?


    All right, pull that Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card out of your North Face, because you’re covered. Luckily, there are numerous contingency plans for when you run out of ideas for a date.

    Date One: If she can’t stop talking about her Art History class…

    Let’s be honest: Unless you met this girl in art class, you probably don’t know that much about art. That’s okay. My advice? Find out about it. Find out her favorite period, artist and piece. Then find out as much as you can about it.

    Plan the date accordingly. It’ll show her that you care and that you’re willing to step outside of your comfort zone to make her happy. Plus, a little culture never hurt anyone.

    From its fabled architecture and outdoor sculptures to the wonderful, heated galleries of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Windy City is one of the best American cities for art.

    Start at the Art Institute of Chicago. Catch some of the temporary exhibitions; in particular, the exhibition of acclaimed American artist Edward Hopper. Painter of Nighthawks, his work has influenced countless songs and movies, including the sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner.

    Now, all this culture is probably making you hungry, so mosey on down to the Garden Restaurant in the Institute, which features cocktails and live music. The food is good (especially the desserts), and if you must skip the museum, admission is not required to dine in the restaurant; just go in via the Columbus Drive entrance. Unfortunately, it is only open until 3 p.m. everyday except Thursday and Friday, so if you can, plan for those days.

    This next part is up to you. It’ll be cold but worth it. This February, there’s a fantastic exhibition of ice art in Millenium Park by Canadian artist Gordon Halloran’s Paintings Below Zero. Even in pictures, it looks fantastic — stark shapes and angles full of color. Yes, color. The works are considerably more abstract than your standard ice art.

    Afterwards, you can go ice skating or shopping along Michigan Avenue.

    Date Two: If she practically cried when Renee Fleming came to NU…

    Like with an artsy girl, you should find out what kinds of music/theater/movies your significant other likes. This’ll bring you closer together and it’ll help you plan dates in the future.

    Not only is Chicago home to the world-renowned Second City improv-comedy troupe but it also boasts a wide variety of theatres and operas. I recommend starting out with dinner somewhere in the theater district. Dinotto Ristorante on North Avenue is highly recommended, with a soothing, intimate atmosphere and a plethora of delicious Italian delights.

    From there, you’ve got a couple choices. If your girl is into classical music and opera, I’d recommend attending a performance of The Barber of Seville at the Lyric Opera. Be sure to buy a ticket beforehand, because this timeless opera will fill up fast. It opens Feb. 16 and runs until March 22. (The Barber of Seville is the opera by Gioachino Rossini. It’s also the basis of that one Bugs Bunny cartoon where he’s a barber and Elmer Fudd chases him around, so Bugs tricks him and shaves him — hilarity ensues. It’s called Rabbit of Seville. You know, for those less cultured among us.)

    For a girl who loves some laughs (and who doesn’t?), take her from dinner to see Second City’s new production, Between Barack and a New Show, an update of their political satire Between Barack and a Hard Place. The Best of Second City is also running but only on Mondays. Tickets to both are affordable, and it’s Second City, so you can pretty much assume you’ll be laughing your asses off.

    Date Three: If she regularly skips class to watch the Cubs play…

    You can always go for a professional sporting event, like a Bulls game (purchase tickets here); but if I were a sporty college girl, after a hard season of soccer or lacrosse or what have you, I’d just like to relax.

    My recommendation is to take your lady out for a day at the spa. Spas like Spacio and Nail Taxi offer food-themed pedicures (Cinnamon Bun Manicure, anyone?) while Lumbar Lounge offers aromatherapy foot massages. Urban Spa Chic, meanwhile, offers 30-minute mini-samples of certain services.

    After that, you could take her to a sports pub or restaurant like ESPN Zone. Maybe opt for some delicious healthy eating at any one of Chicago’s health-oriented restaurants. HomeMade Pizza Co. and Chow Patti International Vegetarian Cuisine are no-fail.

    Photos by Lisa Gartner. Modeling by Medill freshman Lauren Cole.


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