Seeing New Plymouth through the windows of a stretch limo was only one of many firsts on last night's Taranaki on a Date.
Valentine's Day has never been one worth remembering for me. I've had one Valentine in my 26 years of existence and it didn't end well so it's usually a day I spend moaning and berating. Last year I wrote an article for the Daily News about how much I hate it and that evening drowned my sorrows with a fellow single workmate.
All of that changed last night when my first Taranaki on a Date bought me my first-ever Valentine's rose. We met at Top Town Cinema just before 6pm. I'm not going to lie, by this point I had butterflies the size of bats taking over my insides and I wasn't sure what I had got myself into.
Peter Christie met me upstairs neatly dressed in jeans and an ironed shirt with a single rose in hand - the excitement overwhelmed me and I found myself ignoring advice to shake hands and instead hugged him.
Paintball was Peter's original plan but due to poor Taranaki weather he had gone for an indoors option which meant we joined the entire teenage population in watching the latest rom-com, The Vow.
I had to credit Peter for assuming that I, like most girls, like romantic comedies even if I don't particularly.
As far as rom-coms go it was pretty standard and I gave it about a 6.5 out of 10.
I'm going to put it out there and say one of my favourite all-time movies is Terminator 2 - Judgement Day, just for future reference guys.
Although a movie can be quite cliche for a first date it gave the nerves a chance to settle and some time to think about how I was going to tackle the rest of the evening.
The next part I was really looking forward to as I assumed post-movie we were walking down to Table restaurant at Nice Hotel, one of the best in town but not one I've had the pleasure of dining at.
But oh no, there's more, much more to come before dinner. As we walked out onto Devon Street I noticed a well-dressed guy holding a rose and standing beside a white stretch-limousine.
Not knowing where to look or what to do Peter stared at me seeking some sort of reassurance and all I could say was, ''you've got to be shitting me?''.
Peter probably could have flicked me at this point because I spent the first ten minutes trying to stop laughing and regain some sort of lady-like composure but come on, there was a white fur rug on the floor! Oh and a bottle of Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc on ice - Peter's choice and a very good one!
So here we were on a Tuesday night doing laps of New Plymouth in a limo drinking wine and alternatively asking each other a million questions.
If you haven't been to Lookout Point in a limo at sunset I suggest you do. And no, I didn't hang out of the roof like some sort of floozy on her way to prom.
Peter had plenty to say about the do's and don'ts of dating and summed up his experience of Taranaki dating thus far as a ''nightmare''.
There were some great stories about the time he tried online dating and came across some of Taranaki's ''weirder'' girls.
I almost reached explosion point when he told me about the girl that turned up to a date so drunk she could barely walk and then there was the girl that he took out who spent the night flirting with another guy and even got his phone number right in front of sweet Pete.
I was gobsmacked, this is a guy who has done a lot of dating largely due to the fact he's spent a few years in America where dating is more widely embraced.
''American girls are more mature when it comes to dating even if they're younger because they've been brought up with it. Kiwi girls are just awkward when it comes to dating,'' he said.
I heard a couple of secrets about guys as well. Apparently they also set up the emergency person that will ring and say they need to be somewhere else if it's all going to custard.
Pete says using kisses and hugs in any pre-date texts and emails are a massive no-no and the worst experience he has had with girls coming on too strong was when a date and her mother both added him on Facebook following a first date. If that doesn't scream crazy-town I'm not sure what does.
So to sum things up, the food at Table was to die for, I had the market fish which was snapper and Peter had the duck and we had a couple of glasses of Taranaki's Mountain Road sauvignon blanc - yum yum!
The evening wrapped up with Peter walking me back to my car, more brownie points, and a quick peck on the cheek goodbye.
Thank you Peter for a lovely evening and a lot of laughs.
Peter's Taranaki on a Date score 8.5/10
Jo' Taranaki on a Date score 7.5/10
- Taranaki Daily News