A thrift-store romance: How to impress the other gender when your budget is slender

January 13, 2010 by  

The art of wooing can be expensive, especially for a poor university student, but creativity and a little pocket change can go a long way.

According to Sheree Morgan, a Vancouver-based professional matchmaker, the best place to start looking for value dates is away from screens or dinner tables.

“The best place for low-budget ideas is outdoors,” Morgan said.

With the large number of walking paths, hiking trails and parks in the Lower Mainland, there is something for all fitness levels.

Remembering your date’s physical prowess is important, as Soraya Raiszadeh, a Kwantlen student, knows well.

The thrifty outdoor excursion Raiszadeh went on included the infamous Grouse Grind.

“I wouldn’t say it was the best way to go on a date,” she joked.

Raiszadeh is one of 13 Kwantlen students asked by the Chronicle about the cheapest, most effective date they had been on. For the purpose of the poll, “effective” means that it lead to other dates, or was enjoyed by both parties.

Dana Stasyk, a first-year Public Relations student, was also courted outdoors. She was in Australia and, met a man named Pok, who took her for a stroll on the beach. “He had laid down a picnic at the end of the walk,” said Stasyk. “It was very sweet.”

Romantic as woodland walks can be, Morgan does have one important tip. “Make sure you stick to the paths,” she cautioned. “It really kills the moment if you have to be rescued. Probably not a great way to end the date.”

Going outside is one way that dates can be cost-efficient. The other involves a bit more inventiveness.

“Women love it if you’re a little bit creative,” said Morgan.

She used a past date she had been on to emphasize her point. “After a fresh snowfall, dress up really warm, take a thermos of hot chocolate and go to Stanley Park. I’d never done it before, and it’s probably one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever done,” she said. “It didn’t cost any money, it just took a little bit of thought.”

Kaitlyn Cook, one of the interviewed Kwantlen students, also enjoyed a date that was simple, but memorable. Her date took her skating, but was absolutely awful at it. Luckily, Cook used to figure skate and they spent the date with her teaching him. “I don’t know, maybe he was faking, but it still made me feel special,” she said.

In fact, almost all of the students polled enjoyed the simple dates as much or more than the most expensive ones they had ever been on.

Ryan Cardoz, a business student, once took his date to Costco for hot dogs. The whole meal cost him a wallet-destroying $3.20.

“It was pretty effective,” Cardoz said. “We were both poor at the time.”

The date was so good, he ranked it as high as the $240 meal at a downtown restaurant to which he later took the same woman.

Echoing his statement was George Pauol, a psychology major, who felt that the day trip he took with his girlfriend to Victoria was less enjoyable than just walking around the mall with her. He said that because of all the tourist attractions, they were both distracted and there was less time for conversation.

For many of those polled, good conversation with a person who would listen and make them laugh was essential to ongoing interest.

“Be very talkative, because I am a chatterbox,” said Rasizedah.

“As long as we can talk without feeling awkward, it’s cool,” said Alvin Denbock, a business student.

“If she’s interested in me, it makes her seem interesting,” said Cardoz.

“Make me laugh and you’ll get a shot. Don’t make me laugh, and you’ll never see me again,” said Cook.

Can several dollars worth of hot dogs and good conversation really be the Holy Grail of thrifty dating?

Morgan, the matchmaker whose focus is on finding clients a single, compatible match, agrees with the conversation part. “Be as positive as possible. Make it fun. We all want to be around somebody who is confident,” she said.

According to one of the polled students, it’s not about the content of the date, but the quality of the person next to you.


Feel free to leave a comment...

For details on how we handle comments, select "Our Comment Policy" from the "About" drop-down menu at the top of the page.

Note: All comments are moderated and must be approved before they are published.