Dating is hard. Like, really hard. If you’re the one in a million that managed to marry your high-school sweetheart and has never had to date, then in the most polite way possible; Sod off. This blog is not for you.
For the rest of us poor unfortunate souls, even those of you who are now sat in marital/co-habitual bliss, there’s a feeling we all know well. The stomach churning fear of not being liked. For both men and women alike there’s the pressure of feeling like you have to be hilariously funny, intelligent but not intimidatingly so and let’s not forget jaw dropping-ly good looking. It’s almost like if the other person see’s even one tiny flaw then they’ll run screaming in the other direction never to be seen again. No matter how hard we try to mask the crazy, we’ve all heard those stories of dates going horrifyingly wrong, some of us, lucky as we are, have even lived through them. A personal highlight of mine being that recently someone rounded off a date with asking me”Are you aware that you’re assertive boarding on, you know, bolshy?” For the record, yes I am thanks.
So why oh why do we make this experience even worse for ourselves by adding in the pressure of eating. David Attenborough is always saying on Planet Earth that creatures both great and small are at their most vulnerable whilst eating and I can sympathise with this feeling. I’m certainly not at my most gracious or sleek whilst covered in pizza or whilst gorging myself on cheese. Am I the only one who finds it nigh on impossible to be at maximum level of whit whilst elegantly consuming food!? Especially as I physically can’t chew and talk. My mother would know and would still tell me off, even now.
There’s all sorts of nightmarish etiquette to consider, for example, I had a very awkward recent interaction where I made a joke about the fact that I always eat pizza with a knife and fork, to which the poor man I was sat with then assumed I was judging him for eating to sharing board we were digging into with his hands. It was most definitely finger food, I’m just weird. Cue much awkward conversation and me downing my glass of wine. You never end up ordering what you actually want, you make a snap decision because you’re worrying that the other person will find you boring or you’re taking too long to pick or you don’t actually like the cuisine of the pan-asian-thai-mexican fusion place you stupidly chose because you’re pretending to be “adventurous”. You could cook together but that will lead to the other person immediately having to see your house and the fact that you’re actually secretly a control freak who micro manages other people cooking (*cough cough*). Don’t even get me started on the amount of times I’ve nervously and recklessly declared I love camping because conversation was running dry. Which, for the record, I don’t. I hate it.
It’s a minefield out there people.
I opened the debate up to the many and asked all those who’d listen whether they thought eating on the first date was a good idea, some reeled away in shock and horror citing hatred of the sound of others chewing, or that they would eat but would always pick a “healthier” option than what they would normally go for. Things such as spaghetti, seafood and garlic were all big no nos for obvious reasons. So was cooking for someone on the first date, mainly due to the amount of stories I heard of people mutilating themselves and ending up with their first date in A&E. Not ideal really is it? Meeting for coffee seemed to be a nice middle ground but who goes for coffee after 5pm which is when most dates happen?
Rather reassuringly though most people said that they would be OK with eating on the first date because at the end of the day, we all gotta eat and why should we be ashamed of how we do it? So let us all be inspired by those of us brave enough to order seafood linguine with extra garlic bread, supposedly finding the right person means they’ll like you no matter what you eat……right?