While it is common practice in some circles to bring every first date to a BBQ restaurant, I think an Italian restaurant is a much better choice. One meal at Prego! (or whatever), and you will be outfitted with everything you truly need to know about your date before you secure a second meeting: what they’re like in bed, whether they’re fussy, and whether or not they know how to pronounce bruschetta.
So I advise hitting up either your local pizza joint or an upscale Italian restaurant that uses cloth napkins. And even if the whole date is a crash-and-burn failure, you’ll always have number nine.
1. Wine Test!
I’m not trying to be a snob; I just know that I will not be in it for the long haul with someone who a) doesn’t drink or b) who is obsessed with Californian wines. (I personally don’t like them.) I went on a date with a guy who was allergic to alcohol and the whole situation made me a little too aware of my own minor case of alcoholism. And I could never date someone who wanted to go to Napa Valley on vacation all the time, either. I’ve tried it, and although it sounds dreamy, let me reassure you it can get boooo-rinnnnggg. (I ended up canceling almost all of my wine tours to hang out in the movie theater to watch double features and kill aliens in the video arcade.)
2. Dressing on the Side?
Oh, you’re fussy! Everyone knows this, right? Ordering a salad is a very revealing experience. Did they ask for any add-ons? Do they use Bacon Bits? How much salt did they use? And most importantly — did they ask for the dressing on the side? That could mean they are a tad controlling. Not that it’s a bad thing — sometimes restaurants slather so much dressing on salads it basically wilts and disintegrates the very lettuce it is trying to flavor. But someone who was 100 percent chill wouldn’t care. That person won’t say anything.
3. Pronunciation of Bruschetta
Put on your snobby pants, everyone! It’s bru’sket:ta. I don’t know what you will do with the information that they say "brew-shet-ta," but it’s a good thing to know. A really cultured person, or a person who has been to Italy, will know the correct pronunciation. (You could just ask them if they’ve been to Italy.) It’s not a deal-breaker, but you can definitely tease them about it later. Maybe by whispering "brew-shet-ta" to them when you’re under the covers later. Now that is a turn on.
4. Your Lady and the Tramp Moment
Now’s your chance to recreate the most iconic love scenes of all time! If you are a cartoon, living in cartoon land, you can strategically share a plate of spaghetti with your date, and choose to eat (without using your hands) the same piece of pasta your date is choosing, from the other end. From what I’ve learned about Disney movies, this will lead to true love. Happily ever after!
5. What Does Your Pizza Topping Say About Your Date?
If your date should happen to order a nice pizza pie, you can learn a whole new side of them. If they order pineapple, they will be fun in bed. If they get a Margherita, they are so classic, they’re probably wearing white Converse. If they order more than four toppings, their life is a mess and you should think twice before diving into a second date. If they order thick crust, they might be from the Midwest. If they dip their pizza in ranch dressing, do not panic. They are not insane. They just went to Penn State.
6. Would You Like Some Grated Cheese?
The answer to this question is yes. How much cheese one opts to sprinkle on their pasta is directly correlated to how much one loves life? The person who is generous with grated Parmesan cheese is a person who seriously only lives once, my friend. Get ready for a wild ride.
7. Italian Restaurants Always Feel Special
Even little hole-in-the-wall pizza joints have a certain charm that you don’t find in restaurants of other cuisines. Cute little extras like red and white checkered tablecloths, someone playing the accordion to "Bella Notte," and candles in wine bottles makes you feel like you’re in love with something, and hell — it might as well be the person sitting across from you.
8. You’ll Impress Your Date’s Grandmother
If your date’s grandma is like my grandma, she’ll be impressed that you brought your date to an Italian restaurant (even if your ulterior motive was to find out if she ordered dressing on the side). When I used to tell my grandma that a date took me to get Thai food or burgers she would act horrified. "But how is your indigestion!?" If I wanted her to like the guy, I’d actually lie to her and say that the dude did take me to an Italian place. It just sounds like we’re classy.
9. You Probably Just Want Some Italian Food
I mean honestly, who doesn’t? Carbs, cheese, and some sort of ode to the best vegetable to pop out of the dirt — the tomato. It’s a meal we always want, we always crave, and we always remember. It’s always special. And the perfect place to take your first date.
—Lauren Passell, How About We
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