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Looking for ideas to spark that romance or rekindle the flame? We've got suggestions.

Romance 101: Tips for adding sizzle to your dates

There is definitely something to be said for tradition. Dinner and a movie. Dinner and drinks. Dinner and dancing (although I don't know anyone that does this anymore. Too bad). However, sometimes thinking outside the box can make for memorable, romantic and game-changing dates. Here are just a few in case you feel stumped trying to come up with a creative new ideas.

A Massage
Go get a couples message (this one you are both in the same room) or get two separate messages scheduled at the same time. You'll both be feeling relaxed, healthy and smelling like spa oil -- not to mention limber. Go grab two green teas and lounge around watching movies together afterward. I wouldn't recommend this too early into dating or a newer relationship. If you want to do something spa-related early on in your relationship, I'd say get a gift certificate so he or she can choose a treatment and offer to do drop off and pick up so he or she feels that much more pampered.

Cooking class
Last spring, a friend called at the last minute to ask if I would go to a cooking class with him. I couldn't make it, so he invited another friend. Long story short -- they have been dating ever since. This is a great place to get to know each other, flirt and find out interesting tidbits about the other person. Get a drink after; you'll have all that cooking and food to talk about, which is a perfect transition into a dinner date later that week. To put a less expensive twist on it, purchase a frozen cheese pizza of your choice and come up with creative toppings (that you both like) to make a unique new pie. Or, agree on any recipe and shop together for all the ingredients and cook together. Have the take-out menus handy in case it doesn't turn out.

Morning date
Like morning sex, this idea doesn't always occur to people during the groggy, early hours of a Saturday or Sunday morning. Of course an evening date might be preferred due to the low lighting, but when you start a date at 10 a.m., who knows, you just may end up having dinner as well. My suggestion is to make it late enough in the morning that she has more than enough time to get ready and stress over what to wear and, now that the weather is changing, you may want to recommend she bring a jacket, even if you don't plan to be outside. Or better yet, bring two jackets and when she says she forgot one you look like a champ. Ladies, the only reason I didn't aim this one at you is I think he might look a little silly trying to fit into your jacket.

Pub Crawl for Two
Pick a place for appetizers, another for dinner, another for dessert and another for coffee or a drink (No, they don't need to be pubs). Or rather head to each place for just an appetizer and do it up tapas style. Try to pick locations you can realistically and safely walk between and if this is a surprise idea for her make sure she brings along proper footwear or you're romantic date idea will be overshadowed by blisters.

With the leaves falling, why not head out to a pumpkin patch and pick out a couple for carving? This also works for apple orchards. Try to pick a day that isn't "family day" or "kid's day" unless one or both of you has children, you want to be able to hear yourself think and hear each other speak. Stop and get coffee or apple cider on the way (however, I've discovered not everyone is a fan of cider, so have a backup plan). Pick two or three pumpkins and if it's close enough to Halloween you can spend the rest of the day carving them and roasting pumpkin seeds. If it's more than a week away from Halloween, you just set yourself up with another date. Nice work.

Wine Tasting
Sure, California's wine country has us beat when it comes to wine tasting. However, Cedarburg is a short sprint up Highway 43 and it's a really incredible town. The Cedar Creek Winery is right in the heart of this old world community, it's very inexpensive, very quaint and very generous. I've been there with a bunch of girls but we all agreed it would be a great date. You get to learn all about the winery, the process of making wine and, best of all, you get to taste a bunch of the wines. (Don't worry guys; the tour is just long enough that you won't be looking at your watch every five minutes and the guides are charismatic and engaging.) They have an awesome gift shop where you can buy any of the wines you taste. Wander down the streets for a place to have lunch before you head home with a head full of wine samples. Ladies, don't make him go antiquing with you; it's a date so do things you both enjoy and come back for that stuff with your mother or your friends.

Lingerie shopping
Yes, you read that correctly. Maybe it's because I'm a woman with a slight shopping addiction, but shopping with my guy is hot. No, I don't necessarily want to spend the entire day picking out dress socks and pants with you, but I like being asked my opinion on clothes. Even if I don't get to wear them, it makes me feel like my vote matters. So to throw a little twist into it, head over to some of the higher-end lingerie shops in town and do a little shopping. I wouldn't recommend busting out of the fitting room in little more than your birthday suit to show off the goods, but you can be creative. Even if he just gets to pick out a couple things you'll both be thinking about sex in no time. Not up to this in a public venue? The internet is a wonderful thing -- shop online together for a few naughty or nice items. Or, put them on a shopping wish list so he can purchase something for you later with the size and color already selected. No-brainer for him, presents for you! Win-win!

So to completely contradict my suggestion of more creative date ideas here are just a few of my personal favorite, if traditional, romantic date spots in Milwaukee:

Crazy Water
839 S. 2nd St., (414) 645-2606

222 E. Erie St., (414) 727-9300

La Merenda
125 E. National Ave., (414) 389-0125

1818 N. Hubbard St., (414) 374-8480

1547 N. Jackson St., (414) 276-9608

Lake Park Bistro
3133 E. Newberry Blvd., (414) 962-6300

The Pasta Tree
1503 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 276-8867

Have some creative date ideas or places in or around Milwaukee that you consider great date spots? Use the Talkback feature to share them.


Broner | Oct. 10, 2009 at 4:13 p.m. (report)

Two words: Sex wedge.

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