I was lying in bed this morning listening to NPR's weekend edition
and I thought, this would be something I'd want to be a ritual with my husband, when and if I get one: to listen to the radio on Sunday mornings, to stay in bed another hour and stare at the ceiling and listen together.
I'm not sure if it has occured to other people, becuase it requires knowing what to listen to if doing it as a date. Since listening to a CD or radio program requires being at someone's home instead of out, it would be something I'd suggest for a couple who have been on a couple dates or have at least once cooked a meal together. I have listened to comedy CD's with my old roommates, and sometimes we'd get a gang together to do it: old Steve Martin or Robin Williams, Cheech and Chong (I did my share of pot in college) and when I moved to New Orleans, my roommate, boyfriend and I would lay on the floor in the wee hours of the morning to hear Art Bell and his conspiracy theories about aliens and government intervention. Of course, we didn't have a TV, but even when we got one, we seldom watched it and now that I live alone, I seldom watch it now.
I have done this as a date at least once. I went over to John's house with some Henry Rollins spoken word CD's, and together we sat and listened. We laughed and smoked cigarettes, being able to get up for another cup of coffee or bathroom break without missing anything, without someone having to press pause. When my ex and I were in the early stages of dating, I would often hang out in his dorm room, listening to Phantom of the Opera with him; when we decided to make out or talk softly, we put on a CD that was a recording of a thunderstorm.
When we think of dates, or asking someone out, we are drawn to find an activity that distracts us from one another, to minimize the awkwardness of someone new. A movie, where the focus the screen or a show, where the focus is the stage, or a meal where the focus is food. But what happens when there is no focus, nothing to look at? When I have done the listening date, we both end up looking at the stereo, since we are both facing it, but we are not limited to it as a focus, which is why I'd say it'd be best as a follow up date in a series of successes. I picked Rollins because his spoken word CDs are always a mix of humor, drama, and real life everyday reflections, and usually, anyone my age can relate to him.
Showing up at someone's door with a CD takes a bit of bravery, since you have to know your date well enough to know whether (s)he will be into it, but if you find that they like radio programs like NPR's, you can always just meet up to listen to them together. I do not think we have gotten too modern for this type of thing. Few things would make me as happy with a guy I am dating than to have him come over, make breakfast with me on a Saturday morning, and listen to Car Talk with me.
Since the term dating is almost completely outdated, I think it's time for as much creativity as time and money allows, and I don't mean working hard to impress your date. I mean going back to basics, the basic tenets and origins of those things that brought us together in a room before the invention of television. I think it would be a great habit to have, to share with someone else. We don't come together, even with someone we're in a relationship, nearly as often as we should.