[Andrew: Some of you might have read an earlier version of this a few days ago. We have since modified the entry by cutting down the number of exemplars used and added in my comments too. Of course, some pictures were changed upon request of my dearie.]
Jasmine: Advice dished out in a certain men’s magazine: “Split the date across three locations. This tricks her brain into thinking she’s spent more time with you.”
It seems like good things come in threes. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Appetizer, mains, dessert. Ben. And. Jerry. Strawberry. Cheesecake. Ice-cream. (Ok, I am evidently hungry… I only had a couple of steak sandwiches at Morton’s and then some. Technically they weren’t even sandwiches, they were slivers.) Even my girlfriends come in trios! Pei, Mills and I 😛
As all good teachers know *ahem*, even our lessons should be segmented in three parts: the pre, the main and the post activity, each with its own purpose.
Pre: Provides the “hook” to get students interested in the topic, so to speak
Main: Where the bulk of learning is done by encouraging students to respond to the topic at hand
Post: A way to provide closure to the lesson by summarising key learning-points
This is something I really have to give Andrew credit for. He’s been marvellous in taking the initiative to plan exciting new things for our dates, combing the archives of food blogs for inspiration. Once, he even emailed me a map of all the ice-cream parlours in Singapore!
Kindly allow Mr Chong and I to demonstrate what we mean by a three-part date:
Date # 1
Pre-Activity: Walk along at the rocks at Changi Beach
We saw these sculptural chairs sitting abandoned on the beach and decided to use them as props
Instructions: Work up an appetite for a hearty feast later. Also a good chance to impress the girl with your athleticism in hopping fences and skipping over rocks wearing your leather brogues.
[Andrew’s comments: We were pretty much the centre of attraction here. The group of teenagers fishing nearby in their berms and T-shirts were probably wondering what these two people were doing, jumping from rock to rock. Point to add, it is also a chance to display your gentlemanliness here, by helping your girlfriend up, down or across the rocks. 🙂 The girlfriend should graciously accept this gesture, although she can obviously do it on her own.]
Main Activity: Dinner at Changi Sailing Club
Instructions: Share with the girl about the significance of this bistro and how your family enjoys dining here i.e. it’s not just because the food is good and/ or cheap! Allow yourself to become a little nostalgic about the good times spent here with your family. This will create the impression that you are a devoted family man.
Post-Activity: Dance on the boardwalk
This picture was snapped on another date but the idea was the same: don’t step on his foot when learning the salsa!
Instructions: Natural talent is not a must. A laptop with good sound system, however, is. Do not fret if while burning the CD, the jazz songs were cut off after two minutes of running time. [Andrew: that’s the problem with using Shareware.] She will probably not notice, as she will be too busy trying not to step on your foot.
You may also wish to follow up by dedicating and singing a song to her. Andrew’s choice was “Home” by Michael Buble.
[Andrew: I still have not mastered the Salsa. We were still trying to do it at my staff dinner (when I forgot the steps to the Bachata).]
Date # 2
Pre: Teppan-yaki at Jurong Hill
Instructions: Be attentive to her needs. Keep gazing into her eyes. Tease her about the fashion statement she’s making when she dons the restaurant’s signature orange bib.
Our chicken teppan-yaki and what looks like a mutant crab with seven legs
[Andrew: Just to add, this was another place that my family always loved to go to. I have fond memories of lunch at Jurong Hill, especially whenever my brother and I come back from overseas. The garlic fried rice and the mushrooms are particularly good. Singapore lacks good hill-top vantage points. Jurong Hill provides that – but the only thing you’ll see is the ‘lighted’ skyline of the factories in Jurong Island. Nonetheless, it’s still a nice spot, if you don’t mind the mild scent of petroleum fumes wafting in the air.]
Main: Star-gazing at Science Centre Observatory
Instructions: This has the potential to be extremely romantic, even for non-meteorologist types. However, please remember to check the weather forecast for cloud cover. A certain couple drove all the way to Jurong, only to make out one star through the observatory telescope. No wonder it’s called star-gazing, not stars-gazing.
[Andrew: It’s not only the lack of stars which might make this less than romantic. Be prepared that there might be groups of students from a random school’s astro club there too, especially if you go on a Friday night.]
Post: Supper at Changi Airport
Dazed and confused at 1am
Instructions: Make up, make up, make up for the failed attempt at seeing stars. Head to Changi Airport to fulfil Popeye’s craving, only to find that the restaurant has run out of its famous biscuit bun. Settle for greasy food court fare instead.
Date # 3
Pre Activity: Stroll by MacRitchie Reservoir
The ultimate in romance: overcast skies, a bunch of JC canoeists and us
Main Part 1: Dinner at Shokudo
Instructions: You are coerced by the girl into downing a Panadol (this was the day my dear had a throbbing headache). Rest. Let the girl order while you rest, but don’t forget to tell her that you don’t take eel. Unagi flat crust pizza arrives. All hell breaks loose. (Kidding.)
Good things come in twos (referring to our rosti, of course)
Make a mental note that portions at Shokudo can be rather small, hence a second portion of your favourite appetizer (rosti) might be required.
Head upstairs to collect movie tickets. Take as long as you need. This will allow the girl to slip out and foot the bill while you are gone. [Andrew: The headache caused me to let my guard down. Or else, I would have never let her foot the bill!]
Main Part 2: Screening of Myanmar documentaries
Instructions: Watch Burma VJ, a film spliced together from authentic footage shot by local videojournalists in Myanmar. Lend her your shoulder to lean on during the most gory and graphic parts of the film. Squeeze her hand intermittently. Sneak out of the cinema during the interview with the filmmakers as it is getting late.
Post: Be a benchwarmer
Instructions: Movie is too powerful and leaves too lasting an impression for anything productive to be done that evening. Instead, sit at your favourite bench near her place and talk about the film, your feelings, your day at work and life in general.
Date # 4
Pre: Take in a matinee
Instructions: Sofaman is showing at the Marine Parade Community Library Blackbox. Print out tickets the night before. Watch play. Get totally confused about play. Have intellectual discussion about play.
Jasmine: So how did you find Sofaman, dear? Actually, what did you understand about the play?
Andrew: Hmm… It was about a Russian man who falls in love with a Singaporean woman right? What did you think?
Jasmine: Oh, I thought it was a critique of post-modern alienation in a rapidly digitising society.
Andrew: Wah, where did you get that from?
(Yes, I must have been watching another play.)
[Andrew: I remember I commented too that the man with a projector on his head looked rather cute (as in funny-cute, not handsome-cute). I really couldn’t wrap my head around this production. I’m usually less ‘himbotic’]
Main: Dinner at TCC By the Bay
Instructions: This is where your background reading and midnight prowling of local food blogs comes in handy. Order the prawn cheese toast although the girl is wrinkling her nose at the sound of that combination. Tuck in. Congratulate self when the girl adores prawn cheese toast too.
Post: Moonlight stroll by Keppel Bay
Andrew looking like he owns the island
Instructions: If the night is chilly, do the chivalrous thing and lend her your jacket.
And of course, our latest date…
Pre: Dim sum at Chinatown
Main: Oceanographic Art exhibition at Keppel Distripark
Andrew the culture vulture
Post: Shopping Running errands at Parkway and dinner with my family
No photos needed, surely?