If You’re Going To Do The Dinner Date, Five Things To Remember
Much like I wrote about the five things to remember for the movie date, I find there needs to be some parameters put in place for the dinner date as a first date. Like going to the movies, going to dinner is as cliche and traditional as eating with utensils, so I feel it’s time for me to write out some rules I have applied to my own dinner dates.
As recently as a year ago, I would do everything in my power to avoid dinner (and the movies) on a first date. It wasn’t that I was averse to footing a bill, more so, I just didn’t like what dinner did to a date. Something about the setup put both parties in a position to be so surface, and the predictability of it all was mind numbing. But as I get older, I find myself becoming more and more of a foodie. My mom will tell you the first words I ever spoke were, “I eat.” My grandmother owned a restaurant when I was growing up. I have a subscription to Bon Appetit magazine. Top Chef is one of my favorite shows, and cooking is one of my favorite things to do outside of writing.
All that being said, I no longer hesitate to take a woman out to eat, as a matter of fact, I have learned to enjoy it as much as I enjoy doing anything else with a woman. Here’s how…
GO TO THE SPOT THAT SERVES THE BEST OF WHATEVER SHE LIKES
There is no word more overrated and unnecessary to describe a restaurant than “ambiance”. Remember the two of us are going out to eat, not to look at well-designed interiors. Living in New York has taught me the fanciest places don’t always have the best food. So I no longer take a woman to the restaurant with table linens just because it has table linens. I simply ask her what she likes to eat, and then make my choice accordingly. Let’s say she likes sushi, my first thought isn’t Nobu, even though Nobu is delicious. But I have a couple of other places in mind, ones she’s probably never heard of, and in my experiences, those places always impress a little more.
IF YOU CAN, EAT AT THE BAR
Especially if it’s the first date, I’d rather eat at the bar than a table. Something about sitting there makes everything a lot more relaxing. When two people are sitting across the table from one another, they’re forced to talk about themselves. When two people are at the bar, they can talk about each other, the other customers around the two of them, the bartender, and sometimes even a game or something on television. Use the things going on around the bar as talking points. Don’t see them as distractions. When I was working in restaurants throughout high school and college I always remembered the couples who sat at the bar being the ones who had the most fun together. They also are more likely to get better service and avoid wait times. Speaking of wait times…
ENJOY THE WAIT TIME
I always say when it comes to dinner, arrive hungry, not starving. In New York City, a lot of places don’t do reservations, instead there’s an hour or so wait, so it’s best not to come in a hungry, bad mood. Use this time to have some fun. Find some seats in the waiting area and make fun of all the frustrated people who are also waiting for tables. Trade iPods and recommend some songs to one another and then listen to them. Ask for a kids menu and play the games on those. Whatever two people do during the wait time, they need to make it as enjoyable as dinner time. Remember, idle minds are the symptoms of bad attitudes so stay busy while waiting.
MORE THAN WHAT SHE LIKES, FIND OUT WHAT SHE DOESN’T LIKE
Food allergies, lifestyle dietary decisions like vegetarianism, averse to spicy food, all of these things are necessary information. Before I even ask what a girl likes, I ask her what she doesn’t like or what she can’t eat. One time, I insisted on going to a restaurant in New York City called the Fatty Crab, and the girl I was taking wasn’t into spicy food. When we arrived and sat at our table, the waiter said 90 percent of the menu was spicy to some degree, but my date, bless her heartburn, toughed it out anyway. I admired her for that, but there was a lot of food left on the table and a lot of money wasted. I learned even if a menu has a couple of items sprinkled throughout that suits the person’s dietary needs, it’s best to go where there’s more of a selection from which the person can choose. What kind of jerk would take a vegetarian to a steakhouse even if they did have salad?
SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT AND GO SOMEWHERE ELSE TO GET IT
Why as adults do we still subscribe to our parents rule that just because we couldn’t finish our dinner, we can’t have dessert? I say, do dessert, but go somewhere else to do it. And then look at that, it’s like two dates in one. But honestly, dessert is one of those things that doesn’t always need to be as high end or fancy as dinner. As a matter of fact, most people already have a favorite dessert place, so why not go there instead of taking a chance on a place you’re visiting for the first time? In other words, I’m sure this place we just had dinner at has great cheesecake, but I highly doubt it’s better than the Cheesecake Factory.