Key Takeaways: Escape rooms and Ramen are great date activities, but not great first date activities. Trust me.
Name: Harry, which is not his real name, but we disappeared into a Harry Houdini-themed escape room
Length of date: 3.5 hours
How the date was obtained: DMing me!
Where: The Houdini-themed escape room at 60out Escape Rooms in Korea Town and Ippudo for Ramen in West Hollywood
Before you go thinking Harry is a crazy person for taking me to an escape room on a first date, you should know this: I suggested it. I’d just come off dates at coffee shops and bars, and I wanted something fun, something magical.
And before you go thinking I’m a crazy person for agreeing to be confined in a dark chamber with a stranger know this: Harry and I have history. We studied improv together a couple of summers back. So, he wasn’t a complete stranger, just a person I barely knew.
The person working at 60out, Lia, greeted and handed us a lengthy waiver to sign. This is one of those circumstances when I should have read the fine print because now I’m wondering: who’s liable for my nightmares?
Lia then took us into a darkly lit room and promptly wrapped my body in chains and shackled me to a chair. Gulp. Then, she guided Harry into a huge metal cage. Next, Lia left. This was the first but not last time where I thought: what the f*** did I get myself into.
When I first considered an escape room date, I thought it was a stroke of genius! We would go on this outrageous date and then have entertaining stories to tell our grandchildren: “For Grandma and Grandpa’s first date, we voluntarily got locked in a room! Oh and sweetie, can you go get my knitting?”
But it’s all fun and games until Lia shackles you in a chair and then leaves, so you and a guy (you barely know) figure out how to get out.
This room, like many escape rooms, involved locks and keys, secret passageways, swords, crawling, Indiana Jones-like symbols, the sound of an aggressive dog barking and the ear-shattering sounds of my screaming. At one point, we were told that one of us would have to get into a coffin. I volunteered. I should clarify; I volunteered Harry for this living nightmare. He’s the famous escape artist after all.
I am proud to say that Harry and I got out of the room in just under 50 minutes, with minimal hints from Lia. We didn’t set a record or anything, but we were still proud and better yet, still ALIVE. Talk about a good team-building exercise! Harry was very resourceful and a great sport about tackling all the death-defying feats required. He was also fun to be with, even under extreme distress. Escape rooms involve trusting your partner(s) and teamwork because, without the other person, you can’t get out. So, it’s a good date idea, just not a first date.
After our escape, I suggested that we go to Ippudo for Ramen, which Harry agreed to. I am new to the Ramen game (except for Top Ramen – I love that stuff), but I found out later that Harry is a bit of a Ramen connoisseur – a cultured man!
I ordered my usual: the classic Ramen without the fatty meat on top. Harry started with the same classic ramen but then added a soft-boiled egg! For me, eggs are strictly breakfast foods, but I let the connoisseur do his thing.
When we got the Ramen, I quickly realized that it is not a good food to eat on a first date. Forks and knives are not involved in the consumption of Ramen. You have to rely on a massive spoon (basically a ladle) and chopsticks. So, that was not a cute look for me. I covered my mouth almost every time I slurped up the hot liquid for fear that I would look like an animal.
When the date was over, I got back home and looked at myself in the mirror, as one does. And I realized that I had Ramen juice spattered on my white shirt and jeans. Very. Embarrassing. Hopefully, Harry didn’t see that rookie mistake and I will have escaped with my pride intact.
The future for us… I said at the beginning of this blog that I didn’t want to date a magician, but I liked this one. I really enjoyed my time with Harry. The conversation was easy and he was very nice, but I don’t know. Still, part of me wants to explore other options. What about Criss Angel, David Blaine, Penn or Teller? I want to see if there is any more magic coming my way.
Next Week: NOT an escape room. Also, ever wonder what my family thinks about Date a Week LA? Well, next week, my mom will be writing her thoughts. Interested to see what she says? Me too.
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