Let’s face it. Rochester is not the most romantic city in the world. There’s something unappealing about the idea of floating down the Genesee in a glass-bottomed boat, even when the river isn’t frozen. It’s too cold to have a picnic, too icy for long walks and you can only go to the Olive Garden so many times. But this does not mean your dates have to suck. I have solved all of your passion emergencies by planning three evenings of love that do not involve the Valentine’s buffet at the Meliora. Read on, and happy dating.

Date No. 1:

First, take your date ice skating at the outdoor rink in Highland Park on South Avenue. A small frozen pond, this rink is known to few. Pro: You can fall into your date’s arms. Con: You risk injury. I actually know three different boys who broke their legs ice skating. Twice, I was there. Still, it’s a great cold-weather, outdoor date idea.

“Outdoor ice skating would be very romantic,” sophomore Marge Waterman said. “That’s my dream date. I’m waiting for my boyfriend to take me on that one.”

Then warm up in the park’s Lamberton Conservatory, across from Highland Bowl on South Avenue. This place has five rooms of exotic plants, sofas and a guitar player. Yippee!

Because food seems to be integral to a successful date ? everyone I talked to mentioned eating in some form ? dinner should come next. In keeping with our outdoor theme, I recommend a trip to the High Falls area.

“The falls are frozen right now but it’s still really nice and there are a lot of great restaurants there,” senior Susannah Klank said. “That’s the last date I went on that was really, really awesome. We watched the sun set and then went to Empire Brewery.”

How you end your date is up to you. My recommendation is to do it with lingerie and whipped cream.

Date No. 2:

This is a good date for people who have been seeing each other for a while. Think anniversary, Valentine’s Day or just anytime you want to make some passionate ficky-fick. Date #2 requires flexibility and money, but scores handsomely on the romance scale.

You are going on a hot-air balloon ride. Picture it: You and your date are gently floating over the Rochester landscape. Your date leans over to excitedly point out the Nipple of Knowledge. You gaze into each other’s eyes. Your lips brush together ? ahem. Anyway, as I was saying, ballooning is awesome.

You can go at any time of year, but only in good weather. Don’t set your hopes on a certain day.

“It’s very weather dependent,” said Greg Livadas, owner of High Hopes Balloon Co. “Half the time we can’t go up because it’s too windy, so then we call and ask you to reschedule.”

I must warn you, though, that this is a spendy date, with one-hour balloon rides costing $120 to $190 per person.

After your flight, continue with a romantic dinner. Most people think a good date should be somewhat intimate.

“Go somewhere where you can pay each other attention,” Klank said. “Not someplace where there are a million other people or 60 friends.”

Why not cook dinner at your place? (You don’t have any money anyway.) Light some candles, throw some jazz in the stereo and break open a bottle of red wine. Bling bling!

Date No. 3:

Choose Date No. 3 when trying to impress that mysterious babe from your studio art class. First on the agenda is a trip to the orchestra. Swank it up a little and go to a Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra performance. The next one, conveniently scheduled on Valentine’s Day, is a program of Brahms, Liszt and Bartok. There’s nothing like some Hungarian piano concertos to get the love juices flowing.

Next, take your date to Lake Ontario. If it’s not freezing, you’ll have a lovely evening at the beach. If it is freezing, you have an excuse to cuddle. The lake is lovely at night ? bring a blanket and take a walk down the pier.

Finally, treat your date to dessert. Chocolate cake? Tiramisu? No, says my friend James. The ultimate in passion is a glazed donut.

“The most romantic place in Rochester is, without a doubt, Krispy Kreme,” said junior James Wexler, who has been dating his girlfriend for almost 10 months. “You have to admit there’s something sexual about the rising of the donuts and the glazing machine.”

Wexler, a true gentleman, even springs for the donuts.

“You gotta let the girl pick, too,” he said.Let’s face it. Rochester is not the most romantic city in the world. There’s something unappealing about the idea of floating down the Genesee in a glass-bottomed boat, even when the river isn’t frozen. It’s too cold to have a picnic, too icy for long walks and you can only go to the Olive Garden so many times. But this does not mean your dates have to suck. I have solved all of your passion emergencies by planning three evenings of love that do not involve the Valentine’s buffet at the Meliora. Read on, and happy dating.



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