With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, everyone is suddenly very aware of their relationship status. Single? Taken? "It’s complicated?" (Is that a thing anymore? When is it not complicated?) And those brave singles out in the dating scene are most likely wondering how to ace the first date. More often than not, that first date involves a drink — so what exactly does your drink of choice say about you?
According to many dating and relationships experts, it says a lot. Whether it’s beer, champagne, a mixed drink, or wine, the drink you order can indicate to the person across the bar (or table) your personality and the attributes you’re looking for in a significant other. "More important than what you actually order, most telling is whether you know what you want," says Janice Christopher, a relationship and dating mentor (and the voice behind What's Ideal For You). "In a drink or in a relationship, knowing the elements that are perfect for you is key to stealth-dating for success. If you can go to the bartender and say 'I'd like an extra dry dirty martini with citron vodka and three habanero-stuffed olives, shaken not stirred,' you probably know the qualities and characteristics you are looking for in your Mr. Right."
The biggest tip we heard over and over: be conscious of your surroundings. And we don’t just mean watching for someone grabbing your drink. Be aware of the kind of bar or restaurant you’re at, and drink accordingly — nothing says high maintenance like a glass of champagne at a dive bar.
As on any first date, it’s important to make the date one to remember, and that means transforming your "casual beer" into a meaningful experience. How to do that? "Something [that's] really nice when two people are drinking the same thing, [is] when one of the people wants to try what the other is having, or they ask ‘what would you like to drink?'” says Fran Greene, the former "Flirting Director" for Match.com and the author of The Flirting Bible. "It’s a way to be connected to someone." Another pointer? "I always recommend on first dates that people order a drink that will take a little bit longer to drink," says Irene LaCota, from the matchmaking website It's Just Lunch. "Since both parties are often a little nervous and might have the tendency to sip on their drink more frequently, you want a drink that can't be consumed in three sips."
And of course, there’s bar etiquette that has to be remembered on a date. Think of it this way: how you treat your bartender or server says more about you than you think. "We’re all created equal, whether you’re a man, woman, or bartender," says Greene. So you better think of that golden rule before you snap at a bartender or throw your money at them. And tipping is a must: "Part of [the bartender’s] income is his tips," says Samantha Daniels, dating expert and the owner of the matchmaking website SamanthasTable.com. "If you don’t tip, it’s definitely noticeable."
But above all, whether you decide to order a beer, wine, or cocktail, it’s best to stick to a two-drink maximum. (After all, if Patti Stanger requires a two-drink maximum on Millionaire Matchmaker, she’s probably got her reasoning.) The point of the date isn’t to get too drunk — if anything, save that for another Saturday night out with the girls. Says Roland Hinds, an interpersonal relationship mentor, "Bare in mind, this should be about seriously getting to know the other person and not how much a person can let their hair down with alcohol." So remember: don’t do shots. Besides the fact that you’ll be drunk all too soon, a shot will only cool down your romance. "[Doing shots] turns them into your buddy, not your date," says Daniels.
But the most important thing when on a drink date — or any date, for that matter — is to not try so hard. "If your date orders wine and you hate wine, don't order wine just to impress them. After all, you want them to like you for who you truly are," advises Rick Ellis, CEO of the "crowdsourced" dating website, Chaindate.com. So this Valentine’s Day, there may just be some hope that that drinks date will turn into something more — so read up on what your drink order says about you.
This article was orginally published on February 12, 2013