When Food Attacks
The top five worst foods to eat on a first date.
Food has a way of mocking me—especially when someone else is watching. The trauma is magnified when food attacks me in front of that special someone on a date. I’m not sure when dinner became fraught with anxiety and visions of land mines, but such is the case when I say “yes” to the question, “Are you free on Friday night?”
When put in a grown-up date situation complete with table service and cloth napkins, I get a little nervous. I wonder if I’m being judged. Okay, I know I’m being judged. But add to this the possibility that my dinner might body slam me with sauce, make a great escape down my shirt or, in general, act like a jerk—and it’s way too much pressure.
So, I thought: Why not come up with a list of foods to absolutely avoid on dates? By avoid, I mean you will avoid embarrassment, discomfort and a dry cleaning bill (at least, on a first date). Let me preface this list by saying, these are my observations. Feel free to mentally weigh in (or comment on my blog) with your own.
1. Anything with saucy business on it. It should go without saying that time bombs like ribs, meatballs or hot wings are not date friendly. But how many of us have still learned this lesson the hard way? Given the opportunity, any of these juicy items will jump ship right into your lap, guaranteed. So unless you’re looking to jump ship from a bad date, avoid these saucy temptresses.
2. Weird foods are…weird. I’m all for adventures in eating, but when it comes to date night, take this tip to heart: Ordering frog legs or pigs tails or anything perceived as “weird” on the menu will likely have your date thinking some unpleasant thoughts. And if they are huge fans of Kermit or Porky Pig, they may consider your dinner murder. Either way, it pays to steer clear of the awkward and unusual.
3. Does it pass the smell test? I love me some garlicky situation, but not so much on a date. Another smell you don’t want is one that may be associated with beans. I know that’s TMI, but I had to put it out there. You’ll thank me later.
4. Food that requires an instruction manual. If you don’t know how to break open a lobster, shuck an oyster or suck a crawfish head, don’t eat it on a date. Do your learning on your own dime. This way, you won’t have to wonder where your dignity went as lobster meat goes flying and you’re wearing a buttery mess.
5. Food with its own decibel level. Soup tops my list for noisy dishes that are best left for consuming in private. The No. 1 reason is the slurping. Not attractive. It’s audibly messy and unless you are a 5-year-old, that’s not cute. Dating is hard enough these days. In the end, it’s all about spending quality time with someone you like or could potentially crush on. When food attacks, the only thing you can do is laugh it off. No one’s perfect, right? I am not immune to the belligerent and unruly attitude of an entrée. Will I let it bring me down? No. Will I let it get the best of me when it creates a barbecue-drenched Rorschach pattern on my favorite jeans? No. The next time I’m on a date and my dinner goes lunatic without my permission, I will hold my head high, not wish for death and get over it. And if my date has a sense of humor, he’ll smear some sauce on his shirt to show his solidarity.
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Photo credit: Illustration by Sarah Quatrano