From Cooking Classes in Thailand to Semi-Permanent Tattoos
Jess Stokes guest writes about 10 date ideas she's used while long distance. Jess is a true Libra: she has loved love ever since she received a teddy bear from a (still anonymous) secret admirer in 4th grade. She believes that creativity and curiosity are essential elements of strong romantic relationships. Jess studied Psychology and Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
I did the math — my boyfriend and I have spent less than 20% of our relationship in person. He lives in Toronto and I live in Philadelphia. Given that we are a quick 60 minute flight away, you might already be questioning just how convenient it is that this so-called “boyfriend” lives in Canada. I promise he is real.* But, between grad school, international travel and pandemic-related border crossing restrictions, that’s just how it shook out over the past year and three months. The real accomplishment? That we’ve grown closer during this time.
Below are my top ten creative virtual dates to keep your long-distance partner (or friend!) close, and maybe learn more about them along the way.
UberEats Surprise — Cooking and eating together over FaceTime is our go-to virtual date. To shake things up, pick a night to order each other a surprise 3-course delivery from a local restaurant. Before ordering, we shared some preferences about what we were craving and agreed to pick places that we knew the other person had never been to before. Support small business, and your appetite!
16 Personalities — This free online test is beautifully designed, thorough and “freakishly accurate” (shoutout to all my INFJ Advocates!) After you complete the questionnaire individually, it’s fun to take turns reading your reports aloud. Other good conversation starters are astrological natal charts, enneagrams or the 5 Love Languages.
Airbnb Experiences — Why brave the airport when you can travel the world together from your couch or kitchen? I have booked over a dozen of these virtual experiences on Airbnb in the past year and loved every single one. The cooking and mixology classes are some of my favorites, but I’ve also enjoyed magic shows and jazz clubs. Highly recommend making a private booking for a date.
Shared Spotify Playlist — On the surface, such a fun way to pretend you’re together as you listen to the same songs throughout your day, sharing new finds and old favorites that remind you of your love. More importantly, a great way to keep a pulse on how your partner is feeling. Highly recommend checking in if you see any of the following: Thank U, Next; We Are Never Getting Back Together; You Should Be Sad.
Semi-Permanent Tattoos — In full disclosure, we haven’t tried this yet. I came up with the idea after seeing an ad for Inkbox — temporary tattoos that last 1–2 weeks — and suggested we design and ship each other a tattoo. We hit a bit of a standstill when he suggested a design that involved both of our initials and was long enough to cover my entire forearm. To be determined if we move forward with this idea, but I hope someone tries it!
Virtual Museum — I’ve seen this one recommended a lot online, and it’s for good reason — there are so many incredible (and educational) virtual experiences! Find interactive activities on Google Arts & Culture, take a walking tour of the Louvre, or watch cheetah cubs snuggle together at the Smithsonian National Zoo (which is what I am doing as I write, so cute.)
Breakfast in Bed — One of the hardest things about being long distance is missing out on little moments like waking up together on the weekend. Pick a Saturday or Sunday to stay in your PJs, make a delicious brunch, brew some coffee (or pour a mimosa — no judgment) and hop back in bed for a call. Whether you are chatting away, reading silently, jointly solving a crossword puzzle or dozing off, it’s almost as good as the real thing.
Recipe Roulette — It only takes a pandemic to make a book called Ladled an exciting date night. Have the chef of the pair (in this case, not me) send a cookbook to their partner. It can be any category. For example, I received a page-turner about soups. The recipient then selects a recipe they would like to learn to make and creates a shared grocery list. Both parties shop for ingredients and the culinary genius does the best they can to help their sous chef make something delectable and, at minimum, edible.
Virtual Vineyard—Going into business school, my goal was to learn how to taste wine properly. Many bottles later during lockdown, I still don’t know the difference between a Cab or Merlot. To further my wine education, my boyfriend sent me the Wine Folly Master Guide — and not just any copy, the Magnum Edition. We use this book to plan wine nights, agreeing on a region or variety of wine to try. Then we each go to the store and purchase a bottle that meets the criteria, uncork it at the same time, and research the other person’s vineyard to guide them through a tasting.
Flavor Tripping — Plan a Miracle Berry taste test party! All you need are a lineup of acidic foods like cranberries, lemons, kiwis or tomatoes. I have read that the actual berry is more effective than the tablets. Apparently, they can also make even the cheapest tequila taste top-shelf if you’re up for a game of after-party truth or dare.
We met while he was in Philly for a rowing tournament that he did not win. Since he is a whip smart engineer with a sexy Aussie accent, I gave him a second chance and flew up to Toronto two weeks later for his birthday. The rest is history. Here’s to (maybe one day) seeing you in person, mate!
Looking for an exciting way to build your relationship? coBlossom is an app that offers fun activities and games derived from couple's therapy and scientific studies that couples can enjoy at their own pace while building the core skills for a healthy relationship.
We’re coming to the app store soon, subscribe here for updates and early access.