It's a big day in Our Town, because today marks the first installment of Single City, a mostly daily blog about the Chicago dating scene by Sun-Times Media Wire reporter Sally Ho. Take it away, Sally:
Originally from Los Angeles –- to which I give credit for my tough attitude and street smarts -- I was a gross tomboy (unfortunately) nicknamed “Buff Girl” in middle school, before evolving into your average single twentysomething woman trying to make sense of dating in Chicago.
When I’m not covering breaking news for the Sun-Times Media Wire, I’ll be here at Single City to ask questions, get answers, discuss dating trends and date ideas, and shower you with stories of composite dating experiences that are ironic, hilarious, sweet and strange. Got a too-good-to-be-true tale that fits the description? Questions about your situation? Need a guinea pig to try out a dating adventure? Just want to chat about shady men or annoying women? Email me!
The Bachelor and the Poor Man: I'm On a Boat
If there was ever a competition for the most unrealistic vision of courtship, ABC's "The Bachelor" would definitely get a rose.
But even those who aren’t fans of the show can appreciate the unattainably lavish dates featured in each episode – even if they can’t imagine paying for them. In an effort to bring TV romance a little closer to reality, Single City is proud to present “The Bachelor and The Poor-Man,” a weekly series featuring date ideas inspired by the show, with alternatives that the average Chicagoan can afford.
The inspiration: It might still be a painful memory for Team Tenley, but the cuddling session between last season's runner-up and her (shirtless) object of affection, Jake, on a boat in St. Lucia certainly put some wind in viewers' sails.
The Bachelor: Charter a sailboat for a romantic cruise on Lake Michigan. Lakeshore Sail Charters and Go Sailing Chicago offers sailing charters for up to six people per ride. Lakeshore goes for as cheap as $125 per hour on weekdays ($155 Friday, Saturday and Sunday) with a two-hour minimum; Go Sailing offers rides as cheap as $150 per weekday hour ($170 weekends) with a three-hour minimum.
So pack a picnic dinner and bring some booze, and then just stay busy by fawning over each other at sunset. If you plan it right, you can also catch a viewing of the free Navy Pier fireworks on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Go Sailing also suggests swimming, which offers a perfect opportunity to make out nearly naked -- just like in those racy hot tub scenes.
The Poor Man: If spending that much on a date makes you a little seasick, don’t worry. You can still get the romance flowing by going to dinner at one of several Riverwalk cafes via (drum roll...) WATER TAXI! It’s no gondola ride, but it’s still much more original, romantic and scenic than the L. And while the River may lack the awe-inspiring qualities of Lake Michigan, it’s still majestic in its own right.
Take a Shoreline Water Taxi from River North (at Erie and Larrabee) down to the Michigan Avenue Bridge for as little as $2 and have a French feast at Cyrano’s Cafe & Wine Bar, grab sushi at Diosa on the River, spice things up at Lagniappe Creole Cajun Joynt or just keep it simple at O’Brien’s Riverwalk Café.
Feel like Chinese? Take the Chicago Water Taxi from Michigan Avenue down to Chinatown for your pick of authentic and fusion foods for just $4 each way.