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Disclaimer here: I have technically been out of the dating game since “Gangnam Style” hit #1 in America. But rest assured, I have continued to practice. There’s nothing quite like living with three other women in their 20’s to refine your relationship expertise. Think Sex and the City, but with too many Mirandas and not enough Samanthas. That’s been the last five years for me.
After countless long nights gossiping and advice-giving and crying about first dates and breakups and what to do when your ex-boyfriend gives your current boyfriend’s parent’s Chinese restaurant a weirdly positive Google review (is he trying to tell me something?), here’s the main takeway: Dating is hard. Walking the line between being too casual and too intense is almost impossible, and often, by the time you get to know someone deeply enough that you realize you don’t actually like them, you’ve already given up your Netflix password (maybe a euphemism).
It’s tough to ask the big questions: Are you a dog person? Do you know what bitcoin is? Do you think women deserve rights or nah? But Vancouverites Reza Houshmand and Savannah Golding are making it a little bit easier. They just launched Swooncards, a set of question cards with four themes: Firestarters, Thoughts, Feels and Spicy. You draw a card, ask your date the question, then answer it yourself. Conversation ensues. You get it.
The game is meant to break the ice—“cut through the bullshit and get down to what matters,” according to the back of the deck—but I played it with my long-term partner, so consider that ice already cracked. And melted. Cut to one of those really disturbing photos of a skinny polar bear.
And while we skipped a few of the cards geared towards folks who hadn’t known each other for a decade (What is the most exciting trip you have ever taken?), most of them were great questions regardless of the duration of your relationship. A few of my favourites: What are you most grateful for? If you could change something about the way you were raised, what would it be? What do you love most about your best friends?
I learned that my partner and I have the same “happy place.” That his dream home includes a poker table (he does not know how to play poker). That he wishes his family said I love you more often.
Of course, Swooncards aren’t really a game. They’re just a way to make conversation—in fact, if they work well enough, you’ll likely end up forgetting they’re there. My partner and I often lost track of whose turn it was, because the question would prompt other questions and we’d forget where we started.
We’ve been together a long time, and my experience likely wouldn’t be the same as someone in a fresh relationship. But the questions on the cards were just the right mix of intimate, fun and playful (Would you rather be hideous or illiterate?) that I think it would be a great activity for a second or third date. It also doesn’t really need to be a romantic thing—I’d play it with my friends, too. It’s a very fun way to get to know someone, even if you already know them.
And yeah, they just might make your date fall in love with you. Or maybe you’ll get in a good-natured fight about what you consider your greatest achievement. (I said being an editor at this magazine. He said dating me.)
You can find Swooncards at swooncards.com.