The desperate or unimaginative - whether single or married - need no longer despair over a lack of ideas about what to do on a date. Moab City planner David Olsen has compiled a book with thousands of suggestions.

Olsen, a Brigham Young University graduate whose successful pitch to David Letterman brought his trick dog Bailey before a national audience last August, is again positioning to steal some limelight with the launch of his first publication: a manual on the "do-not-knows" of dating.Titled "2,000+ Creative Dates," the book, a pre-Valentine's Day project of Olsen's and his new bride Trudy, is billed as a mother lode of answers to that most perplexing question: "What's a couple to do?"

Illustrated, compiled and self-published by Olsen, the book mixes a multitude of nonsensical and novel "non-sex" ideas with more traditional suggestions for enlivening dates or spicing up relationships between marrieds or singles.

The book also offers dating tips, including pointers on dealing with rejection and avoiding sex. (For example, what could be more of a turnoff than sticking your finger down your throat and throwing up on your date?) With his first book completed, Olsen has begun soliciting dating ideas from college students to publish in a sequel, "5,000+ Creative Dates."

Anyone with innovative ideas left out of the first 2,000 - or with experiences they would like to relate from actually making a date out of ideas from the first book - can get in on the second act by writing to Olsen at P.O. Box 1156, Moab, UT 84532.

Olsen said many of the ideas for the first book were tested by Grand County High School students over the past year. While he came up with most of the ideas, he acknowledges that many were gleaned from researching other books on such topics as parlor games, sports and old-fashioned romantic schemes.

Some ideas were also offered by friends, including Olsen's girlfriend-turned-wife, who contributed what he considers a most bizarre dating activity: "cow tipping" (trying to push cows over while they sleep standing up).

The contents of the book are divided into seven main sections: "Dating Ideas and Activities," "Sports and Recreation," "Party Games," "Places to Go on a Date," "Build-Make-and-Create Dates," "Dinner Dates" and "Dating Tips."

In the introduction, Olsen says couples often head for the field without strategy, not knowing what, when and where potential dates can be staged. He promises some of the best times of dating life from following suggestions in his book, which he emphasizes is not for couch potatoes or yuppies who would rather consume free time chasing money.

The book was edited by Jean Akens of Four Corners Publishing Co. in Moab, Olsen's wife and his mother Daryl. Among reviewers was Merrill Osmond, who called the results "the funniest what-to-do-on-a-date book ever written."


(Additional information)

Inventive suggestions

Here are a few ideas suggested in David Olsen's new book, "2000+ Creative Dates":

- Sing along with the radio, using animal sounds.

- Imitate the animals while watching nature films on TV.

- Pretend to be a married couple and argue in a public place over something comical to observers.

- Plan a party and spontaneously invite interesting people off the street.

- Go swimming with your clothes on.

- Make your own movie or commercial with a camcorder.

- Play volleyball or other sports in the mud.

- Attend a government meeting with plans to voice an opinion, or a court trial and predict the outcome.

- Send your date on a wild goose chase.

- Ring friends' doorbells and hide with water balloons or squirt guns for ambush when they answer the door.

- Sing in the rain.

- Go window shopping with a calculator to see how much you'd spend together (pretending to be millionaires).

- Write editorials or letters to the editor, or create your own newsletter.

- Draw cartoons on your date's body.

- Go bug collecting and challenge each other to find the most exotic insect.

- Act like a kid again at the nearest playground.

- Make up life histories on a people-watching expedition.

- Dress up as professional models and take pictures of each other.

- Shop for odd gifts for each other at yard sales.

- Strike up conversations with strangers.