500 Great Dates - book by Hearst - review by Crystal1

500 Great Dates

Book by Hearst

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Dating 101

Although this book's title promises 500 creative, fun and sexy ways to spend time together, I unfortunately only found about a dozen ideas that were actually creative. It is not a bad way to kill an hour, but don't expect to walk away with tons of new information.
Nice quality pages, A good start if you are stuck in a rut.
The ideas aren't creative, Very few that you haven't heard a hundred times before.
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review

About author

Author Lisa Sussman has written a whole slew of self-help genre books about the subjects of sex and love. Some of her other titles include "Over 100 Sizzling Sex Positions", "Sexercise", and "Orgasm: Over 100 Truly Explosive Tips." I did some poking around on Amazon, and it doesn't look like most of her books get great reviews, but I guess she must be doing something right to have over a dozen books available.

Content / Style / Audience

Whether you're just starting out with someone new or have been married more years than you can keep track of, we can all use some new ideas for dates now and then. "500 Great Dates: Creative Fun and Sexy Ways to Spend Time Together" offers up hundreds of suggestions to get you started down the path of making sure you spend quality time together.

The lack of a comma after "Creative" in the title drives me nuts by the way.

This book is produced by Redbook Magazine which is mainly targeted at married women with kids which is probably also the author's intended audience. In fact, the first chapter points out that it is mostly aimed at long term or married couples to help them avoid falling into a rut. That said, it wouldn't be hard to apply most of the ideas to anyone - old relationsips and new, gay or straight, people with 3 kids or 12 cats. (Crazy cat ladies for the win!) I mean, whose relationship isn't going to be helped by putting forth a little extra effort, right?

From the title, I would have expected a basic list format. Instead, the book is set up with the date ideas themselves, tips for preparing and different "Dating Dilemmas", and ideas for how to overcome them. For example, the "dating dilemma" is bad weather, and the suggested solutions of running through the sprinkler together for hot weather becomes making out in the car if it is rainy.

The tips are the types of tips you would find in a list in a magazine. It is fun to read through but nothing you haven't heard before.


The book is fairly small. It 5x7", and it is easy to keep in your purse and pull out when you're stuck in a line or waiting room. It is a little hefty for its size thanks to 211 thick, sturdy pages (not counting the index). The binding is quite stiff. The book is colorful both inside and out with red subject headings and pink pages between chapters. There are no illustrations however.


The first chapter, "Date Expectations", sets the tone of the book by being painfully obvious. Take turns planning the dates? Don't spend the date on your cell phone? Talk about something other than the kids? What revolutionary ideas! Except, you know, not.

Chapter 2, "Dinner and a Movie", is filled with suggestions for those times you decide to stick with the old classic. This chapter was disappointing; the ideas are again pretty basic (try brunch and a matinee instead!). Some ideas made me cringe though. One suggestion was to get your favorite TV show on DVD and watch an episode each night. I'm sorry, but that is not a date. Spending every night sitting in front of the TV is exactly the kind of idea that makes me die a little inside.

Chapter 3, "Romantic Dates", opens with ideas like sharing a dessert and getting a book of poetry from the library to read to each other. By now, I was about ready to throw the book across the room. Where is the creativity?

Chapter 4, "Dating...With Children", focuses on both ways to get the kids out of the way for date time and dates you can take them on with you. One tip suggests that if you can't get a sitter, you can set the kids up with sleeping bags, movies, and new toys in the living room for a "living room camping trip" while you have your "date" somewhere else in the house. It sounds good in theory, but how many kids are really going to leave you alone? I don't have children, but most mothers I know have trouble finding time to take a shower, let alone get several hours of quiet for a "date".

Chapter 5, "Stay At Home Lovers", focuses on the idea that "date night" can be spent at home as
long as it is filled with uninterrupted time that you're focusing on each other. (I can't really say I agree; there's obviously nothing wrong with this kind of time together, and I think it's awesome, but I don't count it as a date.) Many of the suggestions in this chapter involve sex, but there's nothing kinky or surprising. It is just ideas like acting out a fantasy or wearing lingerie. If you're spending your time reading reviews on EF, I guarantee you can come up with dozens of better ideas on your own!

Chapter 6, "Quickie Dates", is about... not quickies. I know, I got excited there for a minute too. Instead, it is about dates you can squeeze in if you only have an hour or so.

Chapter 7, "Dating Off the Beaten Path", sounded promising, and it is slightly better. Suggestions like an afternoon at a casino, touring a local factory, or checking out an odd-sounding festival are a step up from the ideas in the first five chapters - even if they aren't revolutionary.

Chapter 8, "Outdoor Dates" is one where I'm guessing I don't have to explain this title. The suggestions are again pretty predictable: go on a picnic, stargazing, birdwatching. I'm bored now.

Chapter 9, "Illuminating Dates", focuses on learning or trying something new together to keep things fresh and in turn, learn new things about each other. The theory is great, but you can probably come up with ideas more creative than the book's suggestion of museums and classes together on your own.

Chapter 10, "Mini Getaways", focuses on getting out of town and has the most fun and creative ideas I've seen in the book. That's not saying a lot, but it's something.

Chapter 11, "Double Daters", discusses double dates and parties with friends. It is pretty much what you would expect.

Chapter 12, "The Big Dates", has ideas for dates on major holidays (Valentines Day, your anniversary, birthdays, etc.), and surprisingly, it has some cute ideas.

Chapter 13 isn't really a chapter; it is just a 2 page conclusion to sum things up and encourage you to put lifelong effort into maintaining your relationship.

Overall, the book is great in theory, but it is really disappointing in execution. If you want some ideas for putting more romance into your relationship, I suggest the "1001 Ways To Be Romantic" book EdenFantasys carries instead.

Some of the suggestions in this book (Go to a make your own pottery place!) have me dying to hear a man's point of view of the book.

This book only took me about an hour to read and that's including time to take review notes so at least you're not devoting a ton of time to it. Hopefully, flipping through the author's bland suggestions will at least help to inspire your own more interesting ideas!
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This review was edited by
  • Kayla Kayla
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  • Danielle1220
    Awesome review!
  • danellejohns
    Uhh.. I don't think my husband would be all that thrilled at going to a make your own pottery place. Great review, book reviews are somewhat difficult for me.
  • Miss Madeline
    Thanks for the review, I really enjoyed the chapter breakdown.
  • sweetcuppincakes
    Thanks for the review!
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