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Singapore singles have been using "mundane dating" to assess potential partners. Two millennials - who never tried it while they were single - discuss the trend. IMAGE: 123RF

Do Trips To The Grocery Store Count As Dates?

Why plan a date at an Italian restaurant when you could go to one at….Cold Storage? According to a new survey by dating app Bumble, almost half (45%) of locals are open to the idea of “mundane dating” - that is, turning everyday errands into opportunities for dates.

This trend is especially popular with the Gen Z surveyed, who perceived mundane dating as a way to incorporate romance into their busy lives. Meanwhile, millennials are a little more skeptical that errands for two count as dates in the first place.

Our millennial writers, Gwen and Diane, discuss:

One in five Singaporean singles surveyed have tried mundane dating

Diane: Mundane dates are pretty much the norm between my husband and I now, but to be frank…I don’t think I ever went on one when I was single. What about you, Gwen?

Gwen: I was huge on novelty when I was in my 20s, and mundane dates are certainly a no-no! I was used to being whisked away to trendy date spots and rooftop bars (remember when that was the craze?) so unfortunately, I think I would have turned someone down if they offered me a boring date idea. Yikes, that’s giving shallow.

Diane: I too would’ve been turned off by a date to the grocery store. Mundane dates scream too busy, too lazy, or too lukewarm to carve out a couple hours for a simple coffee date. It’d also feel like the date were secondary to the errand. It’s not so much about novelty or me as it is about effort and focused attention on getting to know each other.

Gwen: But come to think about it, doesn’t a mundane date force two people to get to know each other without all the side distractions? Like, you could discover really quickly if both of you like the same ice cream flavours.

Diane: I don’t know, checking the price of broccoli while making conversation sounds like a distraction to me. But I do agree that you can glean insights about a person from doing mundane activities that you can’t over a three-course dinner, e.g. does this person cut the queue, do they eat healthily, and so forth.


The most enjoyable mundane dating activities include grocery shopping (72% gave this a thumbs up), followed by cooking, dog walking, furniture shopping, organising a space, and gardening

Diane: Is cooking mundane…? That and going to NTUC seem like two different categories of dates. Grocery shopping followed by preparing a candlelit dinner sounds pretty romantic to me! But just going grocery shopping before going your separate ways? Not a date, unless you were shopping for produce at a farmer’s market, in which case…okay, okay. That’s a date, but meeting up at Sheng Siong after work and going off afterward feels a little too utilitarian to count as a date.

Gwen: TBH, cooking and grocery shopping now sounds exciting to me (I’m officially part of the Dull Women’s Club now, yep it’s a thing, look for it on Facebook). I don’t quite get organising a space together though. Who is it fun for?! Also, gardening sounds a bit sus…getting your hands dirty doesn’t help matters in the physical touch department.

Diane: Yeah aside from grocery shopping and cooking together, I can’t relate to these at all. Aren’t trips to IKEA supposed to be the ultimate test of a relationship? And when I was single, I’d never let a guy into my space to help me organise things until well into our relationship, lest he judge my inability to declutter.

Most singles (67%) think that mundane dating allows for more authentic connections and helps people assess compatibility and shared values in how they approach routine tasks

Gwen: In hindsight, grocery shopping with a date would have made life easier for me - it’s low maintenance, you probably wouldn’t run out of things to talk about, and you can learn a lot from just one date. Is this person frugal? What’s their lifestyle like? Do they have an allergy? But I do agree that the venue still matters - unfortunately discount stores or neighbourhood supermarkets just don’t cut it. Cold Storage or Meidi-ya - that’s up my alley.

Diane: Yeah, a date to the value shop sounds a little cheap and chaotic, but knowing what I know now about what makes a relationship work, if I were single, I wouldn’t say no to date at a grocery store like Little Farms. The best part is that they have bistros attached so you can still grab a bite together afterward!


Almost 60% of Gen Zs surveyed believe that a sense of fun and adventure is a benefit of mundane dating

Gwen: Do we just give Gen Z less credit than they deserve? Deriving fun out of mundane activities sounds incredibly…mature. It does seem to me that Gen Zs favour this way of dating so that they can skip the fluff and assess early on if they are compatible with each other.

Diane: As someone who hates doing chores and running errands, my first thought was…I need a Gen Z to show me what’s so adventurous and fun about installing light bulbs or cleaning my room. In retrospect, maybe it’s a good thing that mundane dating wasn’t a trend when I was in my early 20s because firstly, my total disdain for “boring errands” might’ve turned off some potential partners, and secondly, because I might’ve passed up on some gems just because they asked me out on a date to the grocery store.

Gwen: Hmm…from a girl’s perspective though, I could see how having a guy change my lightbulb or fix my leaky faucet could stir some emotions. Worst come to worst, if the date doesn’t work out, at least I’ll get to learn some useful life skills!

Compared to millennials, Gen Z singles are more open to mundane dating, as they are seeking new ways to incorporate dating into their busy lifestyle. Millennials, on the other hand, shared that they are less likely to see routine errands as a suitable from of a casual date, less likely to change how they date to accommodate busy schedules, and less likely to find dating important in spite of their busyness

Gwen: We millennials need to take a leaf out of the Gen Zs’ book. I thought we are a more pragmatic generation than this.

Diane: I don’t know, after all we millennials have been through, I’d like to think that we value romance enough to still prioritise planning non-mundane dates. If I’m dating you, I don’t want to just slot you into my errands - I want to set aside time for impractical, yet memorable experiences like going to the art museum, catching a comedy show, or checking out a new cocktail bar. It’s nice doing things to escape from the daily grind and even nicer when you can bring someone with you.

I agree that doing a combination of both novel and mundane dates could help you assess the relationship's potential. But I'd still be wary of front-loading the early stages of dating with too many practical or utilitarian outings. C'mon, isn't the earliest stage the most exciting one? There's plenty of time for errand-based dates once you become more committed to each other! 


All that might have been true when you were single, but what do date nights look like now that you’re married?

Diane: That being said, now that we’re married, dates with my husband are mostly of the mundane variety, hahaha. Last weekend, we drove to IKEA to eat 50-cent ice cream and shortlist furniture for our new place. It doesn’t get more practical than that. But you know what, seeing my husband queue for the ice cream even though he didn’t even want any made me love him a little bit more! I guess I’m starting to see those benefits that Gen Z was talking about. Mundane dates might not kindle the passion, but they can help build the friendship that should be at the foundation of any long-term relationship.

Gwen: As a person whose love language is ‘acts of service’, nothing is more swoon-worthy than my husband already folding the fresh laundry when I get home from work. However we do differentiate between weeknight and weekend dates. Responsible Gwen prefers having a load of laundry done while we eat dinner and catch up on Good Mythical Morning episodes on YouTube on weeknights, but Weekend Gwen wants to have all the fun and novelty - so it’s checking out exotic cuisines or even going to a vinyl listening bar.

Ideas for mundane yet not-boring dates?

Diane: While gardening is a no-no for dates (it’s hot, your hands get dirty, also the scent of fertiliser? VOM), a visit to a plant nursery is practical, yet romantic, thanks to all of the flowers.

Gwen: I’m cracking my head thinking about necessary but incredibly boring errands that we just have to do. A doctor’s visit sounds too personal so cross that. Maybe sports? That reminds me - I now recall that I once agreed to a gym date. We even went for a protein-loaded meal at Aston’s after that (LOL). Maybe I dabbled in mundane dating and didn’t even realise it.

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