You’ve spent an hour deciding what to wear, tried on seven different outfits, did your hair twice because it just didn’t look right the first time, looked up his social media accounts, and are finally either getting ready to meet him somewhere or watching the clock, waiting for him to pick you up. Sound familiar? Probably because it is – nearly every girl has experienced the first date jitters. Then, when you’re sitting at the restaurant, making small talk and finding out more about one another, the menu comes and there’s another important decision to make – what should you order?
Now, let’s just make one thing clear – we’re all about ladies being their awesome, independent selves, so if you really want something, you feel free to get it. However, after you spent so long getting dolled up, when you really want to make a great first impression on a cute guy, you don’t necessarily want to order something that’ll give you a jack-o-lantern smile or turn your cute date outfit into Splash Mountain.
Once you’ve landed your guy, you can totally go out for wings and beer together – he won’t care about your sticky fingers or occasional burps. On that first date, though? You want to put your best foot forward, and there’s certain foods that just don’t help.
Here are 15 foods you might want to avoid on a first date.
When something comes served with a bib, or at the very least moist towelettes, it’s basically impossible to eat it in a way that looks ladylike. Sure, ordering a big slab of protein might impress him, but picture this – you’re halfway through, bones strewn across the plate, you’ve used up all the napkins at the table, and your hands (and face and dress) are covered in the restaurant’s infamous BBQ sauce. Ribs are delicious, but they’re not an easy food to eat. Either you totally dig in (and end up looking pretty ridiculous), or you’re that person eating ribs with a knife and a fork – and nobody wants to be that person. So, unless you’re at a BBQ joint where ribs make up 75% of the menu, maybe just avoid this particular dish.
What? No salads? But they’re so dainty and ladylike, so health-conscious, so full of delicious ingredients! Well, while that might be true, try to consider the last time you had a big entrée salad. Small salads that accompany meals are usually pretty basic, and just require you to spear a few cucumber slices and pieces of mixed greens. Entrée salads, on the other hand, are full of vegetables and proteins, they’re topped with various additions to add some flavour and texture, they’re drizzled with delectable dressing. Consequently, there are a few logistical nightmares involved. First problem – trying to look ladylike when shoving an entire lettuce leaf into your mouth (dear restaurants, why on earth don’t you chop your greens?) Second problem – corralling all those delicious toppings. No one wants to be the girl who accidentally flings a pine nut into her date’s eye . Third problem – dressing splatter. They appear so neat and self contained, but salads are pretty darn messy.
I mean, do we even need to explain this one? Yes, garlic is delicious. Yes, it’s probably a component in a lot of your favorite dishes. However, if you’re holding out even the tiniest sliver of hope that things will end up in a rom-com worthy kiss, maybe stay away from this pungent powerhouse. You can try as hard as you want, but if you chow down on a huge dish of something packed with garlic, you’re not going to be able to get that odor off of you – and your date will definitely notice.
Okay, let’s get this straight – Lady and the Tramp is fictional. In real life, if any guy decided to slurp on the other half of your spaghetti strand, you wouldn’t think it was romantic – you’d think he was a lunatic. While good ol’ spaghetti and meatballs is a classic Italian dish, it’s not the easiest to eat. The potential for disaster is enormous – trying to conquer the mound of noodles on your fork, or cut the strands and risk tomato sauce splatter? Then, to make things even more complicated, the risk of your spherical meatball rolling off the plate with one too enthusiastic push, and landing in your lap – or worse, your date’s lap? Listen, if you really want Italian food, maybe go for the gnocchi. Just this one time.
When you’re a married couple and know exactly what the state of your partner’s finances is, you know whether he or she can afford to splurge on lobster for your celebratory dinner. Heck, you may have been watching the grocery budget for weeks just so the two of you can enjoy the mega-expensive five course meal. However, on a first date, you just don’t know – maybe the guy is stretching his last dollar to cover that restaurant with the crisp white tablecloths because he wanted to take you somewhere nice. No one is saying you should order the cheapest thing on the menu in fear of bankrupting your date – but you also should probably steer away from the $80 lobster and filet mignon surf and turf.
There are some of us that have absolutely no trouble with spicy foods – for spice lovers, it’s just another flavour profile, just a lovely kick on your palate to amplify the other flavours in the dish. However, for others, things tend to go in the opposite direction and end up with your mouth on fire as you desperately search for a glass of milk to soothe the burn. Everyone wants to show their date that they’re gastronomically adventurous, and it’s definitely fun to try new things on a first date, but no one wants their date offering up their napkin because you’re profusely sweating and have already soaked up your own. Not hot.
A lot of drinks have carbonation – soda, some of those delicious cocktails made with seltzer water, beer. However, we all know what happens when we drink carbonated beverages – burps. No matter how hard you try to stifle them, if you drink half a litre of fizzy anything, you’re going to be letting out some less-than-ladylike noises. There are so, so many non-carbonated options. A lovely glass of white wine, a cocktail with fruit juice rather than soda, plain water with lemon. Do yourself a favour and eliminate the burp-stifling struggle by steering away from the bubbly on the first date.
Every child grew up hearing the bean song – come on, admit it, you know the words. Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you… well, you can guess the rest. Safe to say, anything that evokes the memory of a gas-passing playground rhyme doesn’t exactly spell ‘sexy.’ And, after all, that rhyme was created for a reason – beans can often be pretty unkind on your stomach, leading to uncomfortable churning or gas. So, though they’re a healthy choice packed full of protein and fibre, beans may not be the best choice for a first date.
We won’t narrow this one down to burgers. Many restaurants have a section on their menu devoted to delectable food combinations served between bread, from bacon cheeseburgers to crispy chipotle chicken sandwiches. However, as delicious as they may sound, just think of how one goes about eating something like that. Not neatly, that’s for sure. Halfway through the meal (which starts with you trying to shove an impossibly large sandwich into your mouth for the first bite), there’s sauce dripping everywhere, half of the filling has fallen out (those traitorous tomatoes are always the culprit), and you’re trying to figure out how to salvage the meal.
Okay, this one might be a bit easier to avoid in a restaurant (unless you opt for a salad with poppyseed dressing), but if you’re meeting up at a coffee shop, those poppyseed bagels and lemon-poppyseed muffins could be your worst nightmare. The reason is pretty self-explanatory. Seeds get stuck between your teeth – they just do, no matter who you are. Some seeds are basically invisible, and are only bothersome to you because you can feel them lodged in there. Poppy seeds, on the other hand, are teeny black specks that are super noticeable when they’re stuck between your teeth. When your smile is studded with little black specks, it doesn’t matter how gorgeous it is – all your date will be seeing are those seeds.
Okay, this one may be a bit easier to avoid, because unless you’re going to a joint that serves Southern food or BBQ, corn on the cob isn’t exactly a staple on restaurant menus. However, if you do run across it on your first date and you’re tempted – just think about the last time you saw someone eat corn on the cob. First of all, it’s pretty hard to look sexy when you’re gnawing on something. Second, since your teeth are all up in the corn, it’s very likely that you’ll get a few kernels stuck in your teeth. Finally, given that you eat this food by literally shoving it near your face, you’re probably going to smudge that gorgeous ruby red lipstick it took you ten (okay, fifteen) minutes to apply.
There are exceptions to every rule – if you’re on a date with someone who makes his living as a fisherman, he might be impressed by your ability to penetrate a crab shell like it’s made of papier mache. However, for the average guy, seeing his date aggressively trying to split open some shellfish isn’t exactly the sexiest sight. Plus, when you’re cracking into those suckers, there’s a high chance of juices flying everywhere, or shell shards soaring across the table. Finally, add the fact that lobster, one of the most popular shellfish to order in a restaurant, is generally served with butter? You have a big mess on your hands (and probably your face, and your lap, and the table, and your date…). If you’re really craving a taste of the sea, maybe just opt for the grilled salmon this one time.
Look, we get it. When it comes time to your first date, you’re really excited, you want your date to think you’re cool, so you might be more inclined to agree to whatever restaurant he wants to go to. However, when it comes time to order, don’t feel pressured – get what you like. Maybe he spent a year in Tokyo and goes crazy for all kinds of sushi, while you can’t stand even the idea of raw fish. Don’t feel pressured to order the sashimi just because he says it’s to die for – if you’re a fan of the good old cucumber maki roll, get that. Who cares what he says? Plus, think about it on a practical level – what if things work out, and your guy thinks you’re absolutely crazy about a food that you absolutely cannot stand? It’s a recipe for disaster.
The reasoning behind this one is pretty much the same as the reasoning behind avoiding ribs – sauce everywhere and messy, sticky fingers. Yes, wings are a guilty pleasure for both men and women – who doesn’t love those protein-packed, crisp treats slathered in the sauce of your choosing? However, anything that requires a moist towelette isn’t the best bet for your first date. Especially when you consider who he probably goes out for wings with on the regular, his bros – you want to stand out from the crowd, not become another one of the boys. So, even if the extra-hot sauce is calling your name, it might be best to save wings for a few dates down the line.
The French have romance down to an art, so many first dates go down at French restaurants – sharing a freshly baked baguette, a bottle of great wine, a decadent dessert, it sounds like a perfect date night. However, there’s one item on the menu at most French restaurants that is decidedly un-sexy – French onion soup. First of all, like garlic, onions have a particularly pungent aroma that can throw a wrench in your kissing plans. Second, French onion soup is literally encased in cheese – everyone who has had it knows the difficulty of taking the first few bites while trying to detach the never-ending strings of cheese. While French may be the language of love, there’s just one thing we have to say about French onion soup on the first date – mon dieu, non!