Wilder-dating – also known as dating in the great outdoors – is a 2020 dating trend born mostly out of necessity. The first lockdown shut down pubs, restaurants, and all our usual date spots, making heading to parks for your allotted daily exercise was the only way to meet a date IRL.
In the second national lockdown, we’re allowed to meet up with one person as long as we’re outdoors – meaning wilder-dating is here to stay.
Plus, all that time spent indoors has given us a renewed appreciation for spending time out in nature, making an outdoor date all the more appearling.
But this trend isn’t as simple as just aimlessly milling around your local patch of grass.
Now we’ve had months and months of life under coronavirus restrictions, you can no longer get away with such a non-date date idea. From now on, you will need to have planned a proper outdoors adventure, or at the very least some sort of outside-the-house activity to encourage rom-com worthy bonding moments.
Michael Kaye, a dating expert at OkCupid, who predict that wilder-dating will continue to be a major trend in 2021, tells us: ‘Whilst daters have been subject to a number of restrictions, it’s been great to watch how people have adapted to the new normal, especially when it comes to dating.
‘What’s really interesting is the new found desire to “do more” – people are open to new challenges and experiences, more than ever before.’
Hear that? People now want to do things. Blame all that doing nothing in the early pandemic days. It’s no longer acceptable to want to do nothing but sit and have a chat.
‘More than half of OkCupid daters said the recent pandemic has made them more motivated towards future adventures and we’ve seen them seeking adventure through online dating – and bonding over it too,’ says Michael. ‘We’ve coined this trend wilder-dating and in 2021, we expect to see more daters looking to experience the great outdoors together, meaning candle-lit dinners will be put on the back-burner.
‘We also recently discovered that 86% of British daters find adventurous photos on dating profiles to be appealing, whilst outdoor dates still remain a popular option for socially distanced meet-ups.’
So, what date plans meet the mark for the move towards more adventure-packed, active wilder-dating?
While we’re all for a simple running date, OkCupid recommends a bike ride, a hike, rockclimbing, or even going camping. Bear in mind these are ones you’ll want to do post-lockdown, so you’re not breaking the rules just for the sake of a date.
Outdoor date ideas for post-lockdown
- Bike ride. ‘This can be a great couple’s activity,’ says Michael. ‘Choose a route, pack plenty of food and drink – you could even prepare a picnic for a mid-cycle refreshment – and spend the day exploring your surroundings.’
- Hiking. Walking, but with an adventurous name. Choose a nice route and get going.
- Rock climbing. Michael says: ‘For real thrill seekers, rock climbing is a perfect couple’s activity. You can spur each other on too, or even introduce some competition.’
- Outdoor camping. Save this one for when you’ve got to know your date – enough that you’re comfortable sleeping side by side under the stars.
- Outdoor cinemas. You don’t need to go too big on the adrenaline rush to tick off the wilder-dating trend. ‘It can be doing something new, outside,’ says Michael. ‘Why not find a local outdoor cinema, drive in, and watch a blockbuster together?’