No one really wants to be considered a cheap date. There’s a negative connotation surrounding — some might say, strangling — the term.

But when you get right down to it — and strip it of all sexual connotations — a cheap date is something we all should aspire to be. After all, these days, it’s not just one gender always footing the bill, so racking up one expensive night out after another empties everybody’s pockets in the long run.

You’re in college. You have a lot of ground to cover. Cheap dates are just what you need. Try a few of these out, and you’ll see what we mean.

The Best of Both Worlds

There is quite a bit of eye candy available to Charleston residents — attractive gals and guys seem drawn to this city by some sort of magnet, one set on hotness. While many of these potential dates have as much to offer on the inside as they do on the out, others are lacking in the intellectual department. Carrying on a conversation with them is an exercise in patience. That said, you can’t turn away a pretty face just because he lacks conversational skills. Which is why you have to find a way around talking at all.

One great way to spend an evening with a drop-dead-gorgeous-but-not-so-mentally-active date is to take them to D’Allesandro’s Pizza on Tuesday for a night of trivia.

I know. I know. It sounds counter-intuitive. But trust me. Your date won’t be the biggest help competition-wise, but the big crowds, the tunes, and the game itself will free you from all of your conversation obligations and allow you to fully enjoy yourself.

Pizza: $16.50 for a 16″

Beer: $1/pint of PBR during happy hour

Trivia: Free.

Having the best of both worlds: Priceless

Take Me to the Moon

While a great many students come to college unattached, there is a considerable portion of the population that arrives with a boyfriend or girlfriend in tow. This date is most specifically designed for y’all. Just because you’re an old familiar pair doesn’t mean you need to stick to your old familiar habits.

One way to mix things up is to learn how to shag. Oh behave, it’s not what you’re thinking.

J.B. Pivot’s offers shag lessons every Tuesday and Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. for only five bucks. And once you’re done with lessons, it’s time to move on. Throughout the summer and early fall, Moonlight Mixers are held at Folly Pier, giving everyone (beginners and professionals alike) a chance to show off their shaggin’ skills (or lack thereof). Tickets to the Moonlight Mixers can be purchased at The next Moonlight Mixer is Friday, August 29.

One night of dance lessons at J.B. Pivots: $10/couple

Two advance tickets to the Moonlight Mixer: $16/couple Insuring the continued success of your relationship: Priceless

Laugh Your Way to Love

It’s a pretty common relationship problem: Your partner loves to laugh, but you — regrettably — are about as funny as an ear infection. Such a between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place situation often leads to heartbreak. Fortunately for you, Theatre 99 is here to save the day.

Theatre 99 is Charleston’s only improv theater, and it’s the spot to hit for laughs (especially if you are having trouble producing them on your own). The theater offers shows three nights a week, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to squeeze them into your busy schedule. Wednesday night offers the cheapest laughs (monetarily speaking) at five bucks a ticket, whereas the shows on Friday and Saturday nights will set you back about $10. The Banana Monologues, a sketch show performed by Charleston’s favorite comedian John Brennan, is perfectly suited for you cheap daters — it only costs $15 per couple.

Whichever show you choose to see — and trust us, you can’t go wrong — you’ll have plenty of leftover cash for snacks and beverages, which Theatre 99 sells at reasonable prices. So, next time you’re nervous about a date, just let Theatre 99 do the charming for you. They’re professionals.

Comedy show for two: $10-$20

Beer or wine and snacks: $5-$10 ($1.50 Miller High Life)

Not having to worry about saying something witty: Priceless

Beach Bummin’ It

The beaches around here are one of Charleston’s greatest assets, and best of all, it’s completely free. The Lowcountry’s beaches should be exploited at every available opportunity for the innumerable cheap date possibilities they possess. One such cheap beach date possibility is a sunrise breakfast on the beach.

Although such a date requires getting up really early — or staying up really, really late — the rest of the date is easy. Simply head to Folly and, once there, stop at Bert’s Supermarket. Bert’s provides free coffee (donations accepted, of course) and a wide array of homemade baked goods to choose from, all relatively inexpensive. The mom-and-popper also sells papers and other breakfast accoutrements, but with the sunrise and your sweetie, you probably won’t need those kinds of distractions!

Gas to get to Folly: Too much, but worth it

Coffee: Free

Muffins (or your baked good of choice) for two: $3-$4 Watching the sunrise with your sweetie: Priceless

Bike and Bite

Buying a bike can set you back a hefty handful of clams. But renting one? That’s affordable. The Bicycle Shoppe on Meeting Street rents bikes for only $5 an hour. We recommend renting two beach cruisers from The Shoppe and spending an afternoon attempting to conquer the Cooper River bridge. When (and if) you return downtown, you are going to need refreshments. Fortunately, those can be found only a few blocks out of your way at Brindle Brothers on Coming Street. There, you can grab a bite for next to nothing — they offer $2 hot dogs and $1 ice cream cones.

This Bike and Bite date, while cheap, packs quite a punch. It gives you the chance to demonstrate your athletic prowess (i.e. those muscular thighs of yours) and it pretty much guarantees a trip to second date-ville. Not only will you have the cash for another date, but you will have most certainly won over your lady or gent. Who wouldn’t swoon taking in the view from the Ravenel Bridge? We’re falling in love just thinking about it.

Bicycle rental (two bikes at $5/hour for two hours): $20

Post work-out snacks: $5

The peace of mind that comes with knowing the first date won’t also be the last: Priceless