Sometimes, dating isn't as complex as it seems. Sure, there are those weird, complicated social rituals that are innate in a few people but which the rest of us try hard to master. But there is another, whole class of close-to-no-brainer ideas which are completely binary: either do it or don't do it. Doing it means failure. Not doing it means possible success. How to seduce your date with masterful wordplay: complicated, multi-layered.
Foods not to eat on a first date: simple, binary.
So now you can breathe easy. Just Pinterest this list or stick it on your fridge or tattoo it to your eyelids, and you're good to go. But let's start with:
Foods That Are Surprisingly OK to Eat
Really? Yes, garlic stinks up your mouth and the 37-foot radius around you. Anybody knows this. But consider the circumstances.
You are having dinner with a person you have never met before in your life. Do you expect to be cozying up to him/her right away? While we won't heartily recommend that you eat garlic on your first date, don't fear it, either. Besides, it's hard to avoid garlic altogether when so many dishes contain it.
Is the world an I Love Lucy episode? Do we really walk around with comically blacked-out teeth--just waiting for our poor, embarrassed date to shuffle his feet, clear his throat, and say, "Um, I thought I should tell you that you've... Um, got a piece of spinach wrapped around your tooth."
That type of thing made great sit-com fodder in the dark, dusty ages of Seinfeld and Friends, back during the Great Spinach Renaissance. Now, spinach is everywhere, and eaters are well-schooled in the art of de-spinaching teeth. It's second nature for anyone who loves leafy vegetables. Cue the even more recent Great Kale Renaissance, and you've got millions of people who can successfully eat green leafies without fear of dental embarrassment.
Back in our parents' and grandparents' days, oysters were kinda naughty. Oysters were equated with male sexual potency. Forget that this has absolutely no scientific basis. People would press dainty hankies to their mouths and titter whenever oysters were mentioned: "Oh, Clara! Guess what I'm serving Cecil for dinner tonight? Oysters!" Clara: "You're in for a wild time tonight, Mabel!"
Thus, eating oysters on a first date was considered forward and tacky. Guess what? Not only are they not forward and tacky, but we fully recommend eating them on a first date. Oysters can be shared, and with the various condiments, they can be eaten in different, fun ways. Oysters are fun. Dont'cha want your date to be fun?
Do Not Eat These Foods
1. Stringy Cheesy Stuff
Nachos. Overly drippy pizza. Some food mess is fun (oysters = slurp). Other food mess is just downright messy.
2. Food or Drinks With Idiotic Names
If we could single-handedly stop restaurants from giving their dishes cutsey, faux-sexy names, we would drop everything and devote our lives to the cause. Imagine being at a bar and saying:
"After Sex on the Beach and the Menage a Trois, please slip me a Buttery Nipple, and finish it all off with a Climax."
Not only are those terrible cocktail names, they're terrible cocktails. Order a grown-up drink.
Spaghetti is a multi-whammy. It's childish. It's boring. It's drippy. It's sloppy. Here you are at a swanky Italian restaurant...and you order spaghetti and meatballs.
But if you really want to eat spaghetti on a first date...make sure you do it together!