TEN GREAT FIRST DATES: STANDING THE TEST OF TIME

Michael Snow: Four Grey Panels and Four Figures

(Michael Snow: Four Grey Panels and Four figures)

The other day I wrote about visiting art as a good first date. Today I want to focus on  architecture. What in the world does architecture have to do with love? you may ask.

Okay, so there’s this book Built Upon Love  in which the author,  “Alberto  Pérez-Gómez examines the nature of architectural form in the light of eros, seduction, and the tradition of the poetic image in Western architecture.”

That much I understood. The rest of the book is way above my head. It was, for me, synonymous to reading Ulysses. Still, it made me wonder how architecture has often been associated with love. Think of The Taj Mahal  in which the Emperor Shah Jahan, after his wife’s death, built a tomb that would be the most resplendent monument ever built by man for a woman.

Emperor Shah Jahan was not the only one to honor the love of a woman through architecture. In fact there are ten great castles  “built specifically as loving tributes, gifts, or even erected for love lost. Nothing is more powerful than love and expressing love in architecture is divinely romantic.”

Now, that’s love! Continue reading

TEN GREAT FIRST DATES: SEEKING SANCTUARY

Warning: Just because you go somewhere spectacular on a first date don’t assume that the date will also be spectacular.

Parc des Rapides is one of my favorite places in Montreal. It’s a bird sanctuary. You will find it as a tourist attraction in Lonely Planet, Fodors, Tripadvisor, Tourism Montreal, Montreal sites and attractions and so forth. Yet, few Montrealers know about this wonderful wild and peaceful oasis along the St. Lawrence Seaway.

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What makes it unique is the contrast of the rapids churning on one side and the reservoir of calm water that flows through the dam built by Hydro Quebec on the other side.

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Continue reading

TEN GREAT FIRST DATES: SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL

 

When I meet a man for the first time I tend to focus on what’s wrong with him. Call it sabotaging or relationship anxiety or simply that  even though I do want a man in my life I sometimes fear that he might take up too  much of my time and I will have to forgo my dreams. In fact, this is so much part of my inner making that The Dating Club, the novel I am writing, circles around the theme of a woman having to choose between her career or the man she loves.

So, I tell myself -and in this I do not think my mind is in either panic nor disillusioned mode – I believe that a man in my life ought to make it better and not worse. Naturally, as self-preservation, I look immediately for the worse. Why waste time?

Instead of seeing a good heart, an exciting mind and a man pursuing his own remarkable dreams, I see the physical faults which are enough to stop me from going beyond the surface.

I don’t think that I am alone in this and men probably suffer more from this syndrome than women do. Continue reading

TEN GREAT FIRST DATES: THE NIGHT REVEALS ITS SECRETS

Up until now, my first dates have been during the day. So, I thought that visiting the Japanese Light Show would make a remarkable first night-time date.   The Japanese Light Show is in the Botanical Gardens and it so happened that the amazing Mosaic exhibition was going on. Unless, you have a season’s pass, the price is pretty hefty to get in and I didn’t find it fair to ask a date to fork out twenty-five dollars as entrance fee.  So, I went date-less. I felt a bit like a movie scout searching for good filming locations.

In order to reach the Japanese Gardens, I passed by some of the mosaics, and in particular one of my favorites, The Red-crowned Crane.

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The Red-crowned crane mosaic, tells the true story of a young Chinese woman in the late 1980’s who traveled to the Yangcheng Nature Reserve to care for cranes. While trying to save an injured crane she slipped into  a swamp. Continue reading

TEN GREAT FIRST DATES: GOING FOR ICE CREAM

Some of you might think that going for ice cream is not much different from going for coffee on a first date. After all, you’re meeting over some kind of food and there are lots of great coffee places where you can people watch.

But listen to this: According to a recent study by Baskin-Robins a person’s choice of ice cream flavor says something about his or her personality.

For example, if you order vanilla you’re more likely to be impulsive, easily suggestible and an idealist. (Oh, my, one of my favorite flavors ).

A chocolate lover suggests a dramatic, lively, charming, flirtatious, seductive and gullible person. My second favorite ice cream flavor is the six types of chocolate at Ripples. Does that mean I’ve six times more drama and charm? Continue reading

Ten Great First Dates: Walk on the Other Side

An interesting first date, I find,  is to visit each other’s neighborhood. When Andre, a man I met online,  suggested that we go for coffee I counter suggested that we walk around his neighborhood, Saint Henri. I told him about my blog regarding Top Ten First Dates. He happily agreed.

It was in Saint Henri that one of Canada’s greatest authors, Gabrielle Roy, set her famous novel The Tin Flute, translated from the French Bonheur d’occasion. The novel depicts the grinding poverty of working-class families of Saint Henri in this post WWII industrialized section of Montreal and won several awards, including the Governor General’s Award, the Prix Femina in France and made into a movie in 1983. Truly a great novel.

I had read the novel in university and again a few years back and so one of the first things I asked Andre when I met him in front of the Lionel Groulx subway station was, “Are there any historical sites of Gabrielle Roy’s Saint Henri?” Continue reading

Ten Great First Dates: The Market

Raise your hands if you’ve been guilty of suggesting going for a coffee on a first date? Oh, my, quite a crowd.

Well, I’m here to tell you that going for coffee on a first date sucks for many reasons. First of all, meeting a guy for the first time makes me nervous enough without having to add more caffeine to make me look like I’ve just been released from a study on clinical anxiety.

I know. Yes, of course, I know. Coffee is just a metaphor for let’s meet somewhere (preferably a coffee shop) where you can tell me all about your favorite breakfast cereal and I can tell you how much I hate these first dates. Then what?

So, my suggestion is that you roam around a market where you can have interesting things to talk about.

For instance. Look at these beautiful leeks.

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I have a great recipe for a leek pie. Took it from The Silver Palate Cookbook and modified it. No longer put in cream but milk. Sometimes substitute the Gruyère cheese for goat’s cheese, like the Greeks do. Have you ever been to Greece?   Oh, you have. So how do you like to travel? Continue reading