The Dave and Buster's Folly
This is a public service announcement: Men, women, whoever is planning the date-do not take your date to Dave and Busters. No one actually likes Dave and Busters. It exists as the least offensive option-not too expensive, not too risque, not too popular, not too lame, not exclusively for adults, not only for kids. In high school it was where we could go and get the feeling of being in a bar without actually being in a bar. We also got to enjoy the sneaking in feeling as they didn't let under 21s in after a certain time. In high school you could have put a chainsaw behind a fence and if you had to sneak in I would have been there. I snuck into school a few times-the place I spent all day trying to escape. Sneaking in and out adds an allure to everything. Wait. Maybe that's how Dave and Busters built its brand. Make a place with a bunch of kids games and then force kids to sneak in so they think it's cool and then get attached to the brand and then take all their dates there. What a brilliant plan.
But it's working too well. Because dates take me to Dave and Busters despite the fact that literally nothing about it is conducive for a good date. There are many reasons the sticky, dark, loud atmosphere of Dave and Busters doesn't lead to romance or even "but he didn't murder me so I guess I have to go out with him again"ness. Here are just a few:
It's darker than a 2000's Abercrombie in there. Want to look at your date? You can't. It's too dark. But they're being lit from all the video game screens which is the worst lighting for everyone. And now you have to wonder how you look lit by video game screens. Oh no. You both wandered into an area with ultraviolet light. Both of your teeth look weird. And he has a stain on his pants that's lighting up. So hot. Love it.
Here is how every conversation at Dave and Buster's goes:
Boy: And that's why it's pizza day
Boy: And that's why it's pizza day!
Girl: You want to take the train?
Boy: No, I said that's why it's pizza day.
Girl: Come again?
Boy: Pizza day. Today. It's pizza day.
Boy: Yeah today is pizza day.
Girl: Oh today is pizza day?
Girl: Oh I got it. Funny.
Girl: That's a great way to end the story of your grandmother's death.
This is because Dave and Busters-which has their own radio station-has selected a playlist of the loudest and most annoying songs you can imagine. They also picked the most sexually explicit ones they could find in order to excite all the high schoolers who went in there. In 10 minutes at the bar at Dave and Busters I was treated to the loudest versions of these ridiculous songs I could ever want or need:
Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars-All you want for a first date is a pre chorus that just repeats over and over again "Your sex takes me to paradise." How is this song still in rotation? This was ruining first dates at Dave and Busters in 2013.
Milkshake by Kelis-THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO ASK A GIRL HER FAVORITE MILKSHAKE. Just pretend to be dead that's what I do when this comes on on a date. But damn right mine is better than yours.
Suit and Tie by Justin Timberlake-Justin may have big things to deny but no one on a date wants to be thinking about that.
3. The Sports Bar.
Dating at a sports bar is stupid unless you've both agreed to watch a game together. One or both of you are going to be watching a game over the other's head. And Dave and Buster's made sure there are zero angles in which you are not staring at a TV. Corner booth? TV off the mirror. Bar? Don't get me started. Bathroom? TVs on the back of every stall door and on the urinals. The last one I made up because I have never actually used the bathrooms at Dave and Busters. They brought in special engineers to make sure that no matter where you sit, you will be looking at a TV and that TV will be playing a commercial for erectile disfunction medication.
4. The Layout.
There isn't an actual layout to Dave and Busters. You just wander around. If you're one of the many people who isn't touching their date before they get a wedding ring (and hold out for more jewelry before you let him get near you. You want that jewelry. ) well sorry to you but Dave and Busters will be the place where you two touch each other intimately despite your adherence to your religious beliefs. He'll see a game he wants to play and stop short and you will full on walk into him, introducing your front to his back. You'll both go for the same controller in a game and now you are holding hands and you're both sweaty because the air conditioning is broken. It hasn't worked since Bruno Mars released the song Locked Out of Heaven in 2013. Also, you've lost each other because he took a quick left and he took a quick right and you'll never find each other because it is dark.
5. Compromising Positions.
There are a few games at Dave and Busters that involve compromising positions. These include:
The throwing games where your shirt is going to rise up.
The bend down and throw something games where he gets to stare at your butt and vice versa #feminism
The pull up your skirt and straddle something games played on pretend motorcycles or other things you straddle. A new one is hungry hungry hippos where you straddle a hippo and use a handle to try to get as many balls as you can. When you are done with this game your tasteful, tznius pencil skirt will have ridden so far up that not only are your knees uncovered, your belly button has found its way out as well.
The touch as many glowing buttons as you can games-do you play this in a team? What if you touch the same button?
6.The game play itself.
You know how it goes. Your date scans the basketball game and begins to shoot free throws. As he does he makes noises like "Come on that was in!" or "Yes!" or "I got you! I got you!" and you start to get really really unattracted to this person as you realize he is your dad. Now it's your turn. And he's still making those noises. Why is he making the noises while you're playing? Wait. That's not his voice. That's your voice. You're making the noises. and that's when you know
You is your dad.
You don't become a father when you have a child. You become a father at Dave and Busters when you start yelling back at machines. You've been there. I've been there. You've also told an animated bowling game that it didn't score you properly.
7. Game Content.
There are a few sticky spots with game content at Dave and Busters. Is Dave and Busters where you want to have a conversation about guns? Because he seems to really be into this multiplayer shooting game that uses racial slurs. Except your date can't hear you because see above. Have you ever watched someone you don't like play a virtual reality game where he stabs people you can't see? It's not what I would consider attractive. Then there are the games like Deal or No Deal. Where there are boobs. And the boobs are better than your boobs. But it's a fun game and you get lots of tickets and you can start a conversation about your feelings about Meghan Markle (who used to be a boob girl.) But also the boobs. Maybe save it for a later date or also never.
There are so many traps to get into with the prizes. Etiquette says the girl picks first so get ready to get way too excited about an oversized eraser (get it? It's for big mistakes? What? Oh, I still can't hear you.) and then spend 57 minutes deciding whether to use the last 500 tickets to get a laffy taffy or a bookmark.
If the guy picks first break up with him
If he says the prizes are stupid and leaves with all the tickets on his card break up with him
If he ends the date before all the tickets are used up, he's breaking up with you
Don't tell him you got a stuffed bear just to give to your nephew. He wants to picture you sleeping with the bear. It's his thing.
Other question: in any house where there's an aunt dating how many of the toys are actually her Dave and Busters prizes regifted?
9.The 27 other couples there.
There are always at least 4 frum couples at Dave and Busters. Any Dave and Busters. Double that number on half priced Wednesdays. The last time I was at Dave and Busters I saw a guy I knew from single shabbatons with his date. She was an easy 10 and my date was a hard 3 which means I have now lost to Single Shabbaton Guy by 7 points. Ouch.
10. The Location.
Oh no. This Dave and Busters is in a mall. Does that mean we have to do a whole part two where we walk around a mall? How is this mall entirely composed of Victoria's Secret and its spinoffs?
11 The Memories
I remember everything. So all my Dave and Busters trips with my family when it was raining on Chold Hamoed are stored in a file inside my brain titled Family>trips>holiday>rain alternatives>Dave&busters.
Do the rest of you not have your thoughts in files?
Sometimes the nerves of a date will cause me to just talk a lot. And at each machine there's a different memory from my childhood that I can share because I literally haven't forgotten anything ever. So suddenly I'm blabbering on about the time I won but my brother took all my tickets and my date is trying to figure out if the Big Toy Claw is tall enough to jump off of and never wake up.
12. Handbags and purses.
In NYC you need your vaccine card to enter a Dave and Busters. That's in my wristlet. My phone is in it's own wallet like case with my ID and subway card which I needed because MY DATE DIDN'T PICK ME UP. Also, don't leave the house without your phone, that's how rape happens. Correction. Rape happens when a rapist makes a choice to not listen to a victim's wishes. But it would happen less if we all were a little safer. ANYWAY I've got a wristlet and a phone in my hands and every time I want to play a game I need to find a space to put both down. Remember the old days when you used to buy tokens that you would carry and you would win tickets that you would also carry and your hands would be all smelly? Good times. But anyway each game I have to put my stuff down and then keep an eye on it because NYC. And what does my date have?
No, pockets. He has pockets. Where he can keep stuff. So he's just watching you find a place to drop your stuff which is often the floor so you are bending over. Hooray.
Let's try to ask for more from ourselves and our dates than Dave and Busters. Let's ask for something that may be terrible but may be really good instead of always aiming for mediocre. Let's not take our friend's advice and go to halfprice Wednesday with the entirety of Brooklyn. Let's find other things to do on a rainy chol hamoed.
I would just like to shout out the OG arcade Chuckie Cheese. There's a special place in my heart for that one.