You’ve finally secured the date of your dreams. You’re looking hot AF in the kind of outfit that seems like it was made for you, he’s looking all kinds of dreamy. You stare into each other’s eyes across the romantic candlelit table, your hands reach out to touch one another, and then the food arrives.
But, what food?
First date dinners can be a minefield to navigate, especially when you’re dealing with the jittery combination of nerves and trying to be the best version of yourself. You want to seem sexy and mysterious, a woman with a healthy appetite while still remaining a delicate, feminine flower. Food is one of the greatest joys in life (preparing it, eating it, sharing it), which is why first dates often fall to the standard dinner – it’s something nice you can both appreciate, and if it goes badly, at least you got to eat. (A frequent runner-up is the non-committal coffee date, which is really just a screening test to figure out if the guy is a creep or not.) This article will give you a bit of insight on the foods you might want to avoid if you’re looking to score that second date, or to get more than a kiss goodnight.
Hey, I love sushi! It’s fun to eat, fun to share, and just so pretty! But, sushi can be a bit of a gamble on a first date. First, you’re assuming that your date is okay with raw fish (disclaimer: most sushi restaurants do offer items of the non-sea-dwelling variety as well). Secondly, you’re hoping that the fish won’t make your date sick if prepared improperly, or if they’re allergic. Food poisoning on a first date? Hard pass. Thirdly, you have to choose between those cute/fancy sushi places that you order from the menu, which can get pretty expensive pretty fast, or one of those all-you-can-eat spots, which can easily lead to overindulging – and consequentially, bloating (more on that later). Those are the cons of sushi, but you do have the pro of someone regularly showing up to your table with new dishes that you and your date can ooh and ahh over when conversation stalls.
Pasta is so great, I consider it one of my favourite food groups. It’s cheesy, saucy, and all sorts of delicious. But, is it a good food to eat on a first date? Not usually. There’s the inevitable pasta bloat that comes from twirling up too many noodles, and, if you’re ordering up extra tomato sauce or something that’s inclined to fleck onto your face (say, spaghetti rather than penne), you can get that super sexy look of a cannibal crossed with a toddler. Messy food face? So not hot.
You know how you usually feel tired and lethargic after gorging on a big bowl of pasta? That’s because the carbohydrates convert to glucose, which is then stored as fat unless you stay active. Add a rich and creamy sauce to that and you’re looking at a date that ends with you in bed – by yourself, clutching your full belly.
Did you hear that? That’s the gas you’re letting loose after chowing down on a monster-sized burrito. Are burritos delicious? Yes. Are they also the size of a newborn baby? Also yes. Burritos, unlike some other Mexican or Tex-Mex foods, are usually so stuffed with fillings that not only is it almost impossible to finish one in one sitting, but those fillings also usually include items like beans and cheese – which bring the burps and bloat. Combine that with fatty shredded meat like steak or pork and you’re asking for a night filled with indigestion and stomach gurgles.
There’s also the mess factor of burritos. The tortilla splits and guac spills out, and soon you’re licking sour cream and salsa off your fingers like an animal. Additionally, burritos just aren’t sexy. Despite being vaguely phallic-shaped, no one looks sexy eating them, or after eating them. A better bet on a first date? A hard or soft shell taco.
10 Any Buffet
This is a pretty simple one, for a number of reasons. First, you’re more likely to overeat at a buffet, because of the sheer number of options available to you. Instead of a single entrée or appetizer, you can sample from dozens, all in the same place! Second, these restaurants are usually louder, because of all the people moving around the buffet and the servers dipping in and out of your table for drink refills or plate clearing. Third, all that getting up and sitting down isn’t exactly conducive to conversation, which means you won’t learn much about your date, since you’re both getting up so frequently to load up your plates.
Another mark against buffets in the first date column? They’re just not sexy. They’re messy and noisy and busy, and – if we’re being honest – it’s pretty rare to find one that serves really great food. Sorry, buffets, better luck next time!
Those beans are back! With their gas-inducing goodness, beans are bringing the bloat, which is never ideal in a first date scenario. Combine that with the hot peppers and spices in chili, and if you’re heat-sensitive, you’re looking at heartburn and indigestion. If you’re the type to add cheese or sour cream on top as well, you can bank on added gas or worse if you’re sensitive to dairy.
Chili isn’t all bad though: A good thing to note about spicy foods is that they can actually be a bonus in the bedroom! I wouldn’t recommend using chili as your food vehicle for the spice, but now you know that heat isn’t something to avoid if you’re planning to take it further than that goodnight kiss. But please remember to always, always, ALWAYS wash your hands and rinse your mouth before heading down south, or else that sexy encounter could get very spicy in all the wrong ways.
8 Breakfast Food
Don’t get me wrong: I love breakfast food! Waffles, pancakes, eggs, cereal – I’m all for it. But why are you having it on a first date? Sure, it’s a cute idea to pull a “breakfast for dinner” kind of thing, but usually eating breakfast food means they squeezed in your date at the last minute before they had to rush off to work. Do you really want to be less attractive than work? Didn’t think so.
Breakfast food can be a bit of a divisive first date food, I get that. Maybe you think it’s cute or quirky, or you just love French toast too much to care, but if we’re being honest, it’s just weird. Getting up at 7am for a date? My bed is way too comfy for that. Breakfast dates are great for later, or for the morning after, but not on a first date. Give the best meal of the day some respect.
7 Street Meat
Oh, cool, your date spent $4 on you! And you get to eat outside! Yay!
Look, I’m definitely not the kind of girl who thinks a guy needs to wine and dine me at the finest restaurants with the best cocktail list (I am all for cheap and greasy eats), but street meat on a first date is just a loser move. It says they took zero effort to impress you (or vice versa), and also, how exactly are you supposed to eat it? There’s nowhere to sit, so you’re basically stuck standing, awkwardly shifting your weight from one foot to the other. The smell of fry oil and fatty meat fills the air. You look into each other’s eyes across the dimly lit sidewalk. Doesn’t that sound romantic? And, if you’re adding delicious garlic sauce to the mix, that first kiss is just a disaster waiting to happen. Barf.
This is another addition to the “Just Plain Weird” column of bad first date foods. Are you eating a 4:30pm early bird special? Are you missing your teeth? Sorry, but that’s what having soup on a first date says about you. If you’re pairing it with something else, you can ignore all this, because that is perfectly fine and normal, but if you’re only ordering soup, you need to pay attention.
Not only does soup stir up some geriatric, retirement home imagery, but it requires loud slurping (not sexy) and also might tip your date off on your penny-pinching ways. Saving money is great, ordering soup on a first date is not so great. Remember that episode of Friends when Rachel, Phoebe, and Joey were dirt poor at dinner, and they all ordered the cheapest things on the menu? Phoebe ordered a cup of cold cucumber soup. That’s you, but it’s not funny, it’s just sad. And weird.
5 Hot Wings / Ribs
You’re getting a bib and towelettes when you order this – that should say pretty much everything you need to know. Releasing your wild animal side should be sexy, but watching you tear through sauce-covered gristle down to the bone is definitely not. You’ve got sauce on your face, your fingers, and your plate, and no matter what movies and TV shows try to tell you, sucking on a hot sauce-covered finger is not that hot.
Also, with the simultaneous distractions of eating and cleaning yourself as you go, how are you and your date supposed to carry on a conversation? The biggest no-no about wings and ribs as a first date food is the mess, obviously, but specifically the use of a bib. You are making yourself look like a baby. People don’t date babies. Show that you’re a grown-up and order an actual meal on the date – sans bib.
When you’re just about to get that first date kiss, you want to have soft lips, excellent tongue coordination, and fresh breath, right? A surefire way to kill all that romance is to order up something super garlicky at dinner so it adds a gross odor that you’ll breathe all over your date.
Again, like most foods on this list, I love garlic. I am a firm believer of the more garlic in a dish, the better, but when you’re just starting to get amorous with someone, it’s probably not such a good idea (unless your date goes for it, too, in which case, order up!) Another thing about garlic? It actually gets worse with time. So if your date ends up staying over, you can bet that your garlic breath will have gotten ranker overnight, resulting in some super pungent, killer morning mouth that no one wants to kiss. Yuck.
3 Eating Contests
Okay, this isn’t technically one food, but it’s still a valid entry. Unless you’re dating Michael Phelps (have you seen how much that guy eats?!), or some world-renowned eater, like that guy who ate all the hotdogs, back far, far away from the guy who wants to take you to an eating contest on a first date. I don’t even know who would do this, but it’s crazy enough to be worth a mention.
This is a bad idea for so many reasons. You get the gross bloating of over-eating, the potential illness that follows such indulgence, the total lack of conversation because you are stuffing your faces, the mess of it all, etc. The list goes on. Eating contests are wasteful, stupid, gross, and messy. Just don’t do them. Don’t go on a date with someone who invites you to one, just don’t do it. Ew.
2 Fast Food
Fast food is great for a lot of different things: when you’re drunk or hungover, or way too busy or hungry to care what you’re putting in your body. But as a first date food? No way. First off, fast food restaurants are the furthest thing from sexy, with their vinyl booths and plastic trays and the fact that you have to go up to order from someone who looks like they’d rather be doing anything else. The food is cheap, both in price and quality, and it’s another example of a total lack of effort, like the street meat mentioned earlier. A fast food place is where your date brings you if they forgot you had a date, or they just don’t care. So many bad first date stories mention fast food places where their dates then wanted to split the bill. It’s lazy and disrespectful, and no amount of Big Mac sauce can change that.
If you’re looking to charm your date, you should probably stay away from ordering veal at the dinner table. This is a tricky one, because it’s more because of the taboo and general ick-factor than anything else I’ve already mentioned. Veal is baby cows, people! It’s often a food people feel pretty strongly about, either for or against, even if they’re not a vegetarian. If you’re looking to show your date your sensitive side, getting the veal is definitely a bad idea.
Veal falls into a category with other cringe-inducing foods, like rabbit (so cute!) or lamb (babies again). These foods force you to remember the animals they came from, and once you picture those cute faces, romance is out the window and you just sit there, hating your date and hoping for it to be over.