Confronted with the responsibility to entertain while avoiding over-draft fees, a certain degree of ingenuity must be invoked. If there is any semblance of an old-fashioned romanticism in your soul, you will want to present your special lady friend with a token of affection upon your arrival. Traditionally this token would either be roses or candy. However, for the busted-flat, even a $4 rose or $7 box of candy would make a sizable dent in our funds, and limit the options for the remainder of the evening. While it is true that articles are written by fools like me and only God can make a tree, I can make a passable rose out of any bar napkin (absolutely free) in less than 30 seconds.
Step 1: Unfold the napkin and wrap one end around your pointer finger (up to the second knuckle).
Step 2: Place your middle finger next to your pointer finger and wrap both fingers in napkin (repeat with index finger).
Step 3: Pinch the napkin directly below your finger tips (gently remove wrapped fingers and twist (in the opposite direction you wrapped your fingers) the remainder of the napkin into a stem.
Step 4: Half way down the stem tare a small piece of napkin to act as a leaf.
Step 5: For dramatic effect, singe the rim of the rose bud with any lighter or match.
Armed with my hand-rolled rose, I picked up my date and headed off to the Baton Rouge Gallery. Art exhibits are a long time favorite first stop for busted-flat daters for several reasons. While the art is often for sale, the aesthetic appreciation is almost always free; the shared experience provides ample topics for conversation for the remainder of the date; and any moments of awkward silence, which would normally doom a date before it gets off the ground, can be easily disguised as serious contemplation of the art or the artist’s intention.
Transformed from dull to deep in less than an hour Colleen and I stopped of at Highland Coffee and purchased two hot chocolates to go ($5.10). We wandered the university lakes, sipped coco, discussed the mixed media art displayed at the gallery, and worked up an apatite for the Penne Napolitano I planned to prepare.
While planning this date and contemplating my budget, I decided a home cooked meal would provide yet another shared experience and avoid the uncertainty of “What would she order – Would she have more than two glasses of wine – Would I be busted flat by 9:00?” With this in mind, I stopped by the local grocer earlier in the day. I ruled out any dish that includes meats, not out of morality or health concerns, but rather fiscal responsibility. Wandering the produce section, I spotted a fine looking eggplant and recipe came to mind: Penne Napolitano.
¼ eggplant julienne and sauté ($2.04)
Sliced fresh mozzarella ($2.08)
Penne pasta ($1.99)
1 can tomato sauce ($.77)
1 can rosemary garlic tomato paste ($.65)
½ can water
½ cup heavy cream ($1.35)
Season to taste.
Total $9.15 (Including tax).
One of the pitfalls to avoid when preparing a home cooked meal on a date is leaving your company bored and alone while you prepare the meal. I enlisted my dates help in the kitchen. Colleen sautéed the eggplant and I mixed the sauce. We gained another shared experience, another topic of conversation, and an opportunity complement something less commonplace than each other’s eyes or shoes. The meal was delicious, our appetites satisfied and it was about time attempt to make my date starry-eyed.
One of the main tenets of Busted Flat dating is “if you cannot give her the world, give her the stars.” Every Friday night BREC-LSU-BRAS Highland Road Observatory provides a free informative lecture from 7-8 and guided star gazing from 8-10. After exploring the nebulous which appears to be the one star (the point of Orion’s sword) and searching for Martian canals, Colleen and I were invited to roast some marshmallows at a nearby campfire. (Insert something about looking at the stars and each other in a new way – something about Venus being visible in Feb.)