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Dicey Romance on the Go

Ahhhh springtime. Daylight Savings Time is upon us, the birds are chirping and April showers are washing away the dregs of winter. It’s that time of year when a man’s thoughts flirt with car fever, his fancy turns to that old standby, romance… and perhaps a little romantic motoring adventure to celebrate this season of rebirth.

Back in January of 2004, I concocted a plan for such an adventure, a romantic tryst that would blow the doldrums off winter. The mobile romp with my wife, Lisa, was based on a game in which a set of dice would decree where we went and what would happen during a 24-hour drive around Nova Scotia. A loving relationship would glue the madcap date together.

Ingredients for the Dicey Romance Getaway were basic: dice, a set of wheels, a map and two large envelopes, each containing 36 smaller envelopes. Roll a 1 and a 4 on the dice. Open Envelope #1-4 and read the romance task (this could be anything from ‘blow bubbles for ten minutes’ to ‘stop somewhere and play a game of hide-and-seek with your mate’). Then roll a 2 and a 5 on the dice, open envelope #2-5, discover the destination and hit the road! Simple enough, but somewhere along the line, we had to forget the dice and go for romance in our choice of dinner and overnight accommodation.

On the big morning, I woke Lisa and rambled on about the merits of the plan — exotic travel, mystery and adventure, culminating in an evening of love. Even though we weren’t going far, the fact that the roll of two die would decide our destination and our en route activities revved me up.

The key was to do as many dicey directives as possible and get back home within 24 hours. Each success would garner ten points. The game would rely on honesty. Once committed, we had to complete the task before rolling again.

To keep us from driving around all night, I threw two more rules into the fray. The Getaway had to include a dinner and an overnight accommodation which would be scored on quality of ‘romance’ from minus to plus twenty-five points, throwing a wrench into the temptation to roll through the night. An evening watching snow waft from the heavens while inside a cozy woodland cottage would rack up more points than driving around like a couple of losers at the whim of the dice.

The concept played out even better than expected. Love flourished with plenty of giggles, a feeling of accomplishment and a week-long ‘love hangover’ to boot. Lisa and I were mushy, attentive, and even more in love than usual.

We knew we had to share the Dicey Romance Getaway. We finetuned the plan, recruited five couples and did it again the week before Valentine’s Day. Couples gathered at our house for breakfast and were given spicy names: Teams Too Sexy, Rooster, Bliss, Mini and Ecstasy. ‘Love Kits’ and log books were handed out to each team. The kits contained paraphernalia that would assist in playing the road game and filling the log books with memorabilia from the adventure.

After breakfast the fun began as everyone rolled their dice and scattered to various parts of the province. They followed their rolls until sometime in the evening when, hopefully, dice were abandoned for romance.

We had a lunch party at the finish line. Shiny eyes and contented grins were the order of the day. We scored the ‘love books’ and tallied the number of dicey destinations visited. Then, one by one, each team presented their amorous activities of the previous evening. It was a 4-hour lunch I will never forget — laughter, tears, and more laughter as everyone scored the RQ, the Romance Quotient, of each team.

Shenanigans surfaced. One couple was interrogated by a security guard when they were discovered playing hide-and-seek in a car dealership parking lot (“The dice made us do it, sir!”). We were regaled with stories of steamed-up windows, haunted graveyards, a red feather boa and frantic searches for river names that start with the letters L, O, V or E. And between courses, it became clear that love triumphed during our second trial run of the Dicey Romance Getaway.

We invited the teams to our house a few nights later for dinner to see if the weekend had had a lingering effect on the couples. No question, love hangovers all round.

This year Lisa and I have decided to do the Dicey Romance Getaway again and have been harvesting a virtual global audience through our website. Over the past six weeks, factoids related to the game have been sent by e-mail to hundreds of people around the world. You can check out the factoids and sign up to be on the receiving list by going to adventuredrive.ca and clicking on the ‘News’ button.

This Fall, seven couples will roll their dice in Halifax and head out on their own Dicey Romance Getaway. We’ll all get together the following night for an awards banquet at a resort within a couple of hours’ drive of Halifax. A few teams have signed up already, but there is still room for more.

Romance is guaranteed. At the awards banquet, when those glassy-eyed couples are presenting their Romance Quotient to their peers for judgement, I’m sure Lisa will nudge me, as she did last year, and whisper: “Looks like everyone got lucky. After all, it’s almost your duty on the Dicey Romance Getaway, isn’t it?”

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