12 Dinner Date Dealbreakers
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You spotted her at the bar last week. Tall, smart, and she knows her way around a restaurant menu (a plus for us food-loving folk). So you asked her to dinner. All is going well and conversation is flowing until you decide to mix up the cocktail order, switching from a vodka soda to something a bit sexier, like a Cosmo… and everything stops. Silence. Little do you know that she's thinking, "What kind of guy orders a girly drink… and on a first date?"
We know, first dates are hard enough. And when you’re really interested in the person who will be dining across from you, the last thing you want to do is make a bad impression and scare them off. You’ve got to worry about what to wear and what to talk about in the event the conversation slows. You probably know not to blow your nose at the table and that it's not wise to knock back a shot or two before meeting your date. But have you considered the impact of your choice in food or drink on your dating destiny? Probably not.
When dating, sometimes what or how you order is just as important as what you’re wearing. Gentlemen, don’t let the ladies in on your secret penchant for fruity cocktails served in martini glasses (especially if they come with a paper umbrella or a cherry on top) — it’s the one thing that will send one TDM editor running in the opposite direction.
And ladies, what you order when on a date matters, too. When you’re asked to dinner, don’t show up not hungry (unless you’re dating two men in one night, which is a wholly different issue) and not order anything. You were asked to dinner, remember? And even if you’re watching your waistline, ordering like a bird and opting for a small starter salad when your date is enjoying the tartare, gnocchi, and dessert is not going to make him excited to dine with you again. A good steak is not going to blow your diet (for some women, that rib-eye or burger is actually the key to winning their date’s heart says The New York Times). But ordering the most expensive item on the menu just for kicks? Totally not going to up your coolness factor.
Then, there is ordering dinner for your date — a surefire way to land you in the doghouse. But it's not as bad as casually mentioning that your date can pay you back later when it was you who called the date in the first place. What kind of date are you?!
Dating in the electronic age we live in means often you’ll be asked out via email, Facebook, or text message (we won’t go into why picking up the phone is preferable). Then there are apps like Twitter and Foursquare that allow us to let the world know where we are and what we’re consuming at any point in time. But if you’re tweeting about your burger (even if it’s to die for) or emailing your buddy back when dining à deux, you’re on a one-way route to disaster. Here, your date is probably thinking, "First s/he is tweeting about the meal, then it’s going to be details from the second date, then… details from your first weekend away? Please, no!" Why not just keep your little Twitter habit under wraps until you’re away in the bathroom… or, better yet, at home.
For many couples, sharing a plate of pasta or steamed mussels can be romantic (just think back to Lady and The Tramp…). It gives your dining partner a look into how generous you are as a human. So if you’re the kind of person who will unconsciously steal bites of your date’s dinner — or worse, refuse to even share a tiny bite of the steak frites that you’ve been raving about, even when asked nicely — Parks and Recreation's Aziz Ansari (and more than a couple TDM editors) suggests you don’t be surprised if your date doesn’t give you a call back.
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