By Susannah Green
Today is Valentines Day, which for some students means dinner for two while gazing adoringly into the eyes of their special someone. While a night of candlelit romance may sound like the perfect respite from Ohio in February, between drinks, flowers and the meal, the average Valentines Day date can get pretty expensive especially on a student budget. In honor of V-Day and broke college students everywhere, the Collegian recently challenged me to go on a $10 date. Read on for a step-by-step breakdown of my ultimate budget date.
Having assumed there was nowhere in either Gambier or Mount Vernon where I could feed two people dinner for $10 (I neglected to look into Bob Evans, more on this later), I opted to take my date my lovely friend Rebecca Spradlin 13 to Peirce. While this may not sound that romantic, Rebecca and I were able to spice it up by wearing V-Day-appropriate colors: she wore a flowy pink shirt and jeans with black fringed boots, while I went with a red polka dot dress, blue blazer and layered gold necklaces. If you and your date dont feel like coordinating pink and red hues, try bringing a fake candle or some fancy place mats to Peirce in order to create a more date-like ambience. And if youre legal, consider bringing a thermos of wine. Nothing says (college) romance like pesto turkey burgers and some Franzia on old side.
Like any good date, I wanted to couple dinner with a fun activity, while still trying to keep things cheap (read: free). Rebecca came up with the idea of paying homage to the infamous IKEA scene in 500 Days of Summer, when Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel run around everyones favorite Swedish furniture store and exchange sardonic banter in the style of a boring married couple. With that as our inspiration, we headed to Mount Vernons answer to IKEA, Walmart. Once inside the brightly lit superstore, we started off by zanily skipping through the clothing section, la JGL and Zooey. We then proceeded to model the many neon miniskirts and shredded animal-print T-shirts, in which Walmart currently specializes. Rebecca contemplated buying an off-the-shoulder sweater with a leopards face on it, but ultimately decided against it. To carry on the 500 Days theme, we kept up a running dialogue pretending to be a boring married couple (while actually being two weird college students who were attracting a lot of stares). It was around this time that a Walmart employee informed us that we were not allowed to take pictures inside the store (she probably wasnt too thrilled about the skipping either), so I hid the camera in my purse and we relocated to the toy section. There, we continued being cheap free spirits, playing with toys ranging from a bouncy ball to what appeared to be a skateboard/scooter hybrid. Rebecca described this part of the Walmart adventure as a highlight, noting, that scooter thing was fun. After we tired of the toys, we headed to the magazine section to catch up on our celebrity gossip. This proved to the best part of the Walmart trip, mainly because we learned that Taylor Swift is a tease who just kisses for hours and that Justin Bieber and Rihanna are having an affair.
Nearing the end of our date, I decided it was finally time to break out the big bucks and treat us both to sundaes at Cold Stone Creamery. In the words of my date, The highlight of the evening was definitely Cold Stone. When we got inside, the two high-school-aged boys working the counter fought over who would make Rebeccas birthday cake remix, an event she described as awesome because [she] felt like a celebrity. I made the mistake of ordering their new ice-cream-on-a-warm-cookie thing, which no one fought to make because they had no idea how to make it. The resulting creation appeared to involve a partially uncooked chocolate chip cookie smothered in French vanilla ice cream, stale-tasting whipped cream, and three kinds of sugary syrup. In the future I would definitely go with the birthday cake remix cake batter ice cream, a brownie and rainbow sprinkles combined in one perfect cup. In the end the two dishes came to $9.62, just under budget. Cold Stone also boasts a friendly, low-key ambience and appears to be a Saturday night date hotspot there were at least four other couples present during our date. Leaving the store and heading back to Kenyon around 9:00 p.m., Rebecca gave the overall quality of the date two thumbs up: The date was a lot of fun.
Its always nice to get off campus for awhile, especially in February. I think that if I could do it again, I would skip Peirce. I would absolutely do another $10 date. Next time we should get Bob Evans. Taking this advice into consideration, I googled Bob Evans and discovered that you can get a three-course meal there for $9.99. So in case none of the above sounds appealing (and you want to skip Peirce), just head to Bob Evans and treat yourself to three courses for two. Candles and tablecloth included.
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