When to Unplug: Consulting User-Generated Review Sites to Plan the Perfect Date

von Alla Kiss

Technology and social networking have plugged us into a much broader world than we could ever have hoped for. Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace have given us the opportunity to expand our boundaries and make “friends” with people we ordinarily wouldn’t bump into at the farmer’s market or the local dive bar. Meanwhile, user-generated review sites like Yelp and UrbanSpoon are giving us feedback regarding the “cool spots” in our neighborhoods — hopefully so that our dates are as magical and seductive as possible.

 

Yelp and UrbanSpoon are sites that you can access from your computer or mobile phone — they both have iPhone apps — that allow you to read feedback or reviews by self-proclaimed connoisseurs who sometimes provide invaluable tips on various venues. After all, you don’t want to take your first date to the trashiest restaurant in town, do you?

For example, you may want to take that new hottie you’re dating to sushi in their neighborhood, but you’re not familiar with the best place around. Understandably, you want to impress them. Using these user-feedback sites, you can scan reviews on local Japanese restaurants by neighborhood, and even filter by price if your finances are tight. You can even read tips on users’ favorite dishes.

That said, remember that you must always balance your online research with your offline dating life, because nobody will want to go back to your place if you’re constantly checking your iPhone during your dinner conversation. Last thing you want is your date thinking that you can’t make your own decision about what to order. An inability to unplug for a few hours to focus on your date is major turn-off!

The question then becomes: What is that balance? And perhaps more importantly, how can you use these sites to enhance your date without letting them drive your date for you?

  • The restaurant does not make the date.Doing research ahead of time may help you choose a place to set the right mood … but you’re the one who seals the deal with your character and interaction. Don’t obsess about picking the perfect restaurant if it makes you a neurotic dinner companion.
  • Don’t be afraid to wing it.There’s nothing against the rules about stopping off at the costume shop next door to browse the aisles, try on a few masks, and have a few laughs before grabbing a drink – even if your Yelp iPhone app doesn’t make the recommendation. Spontaneity is a huge turn-on.

 

All in all, sites like UrbanSpoon can provide invaluable, user-generated reviews of the hottest spots wherever you are, but don’t let your obsession with finding the best of the best ruin your chance to enjoy the small things that are happening all around you. Plan for the future, but don’t forget to live in the moment.

 

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