Tag Archives: food on a first date

25 men you should never date this summer

This is it, then. It’s official. It’s getting hotter, you can smell barbecues and you’re never three metres away from someone with a Magnum hanging out of their mouth. It’s summer.

While you nibble on picnic food, drown your sunburn in aloe vera and endure weeks of barbecue-related food poisoning, don’t let these 25 losers make things worse for you.

This summer, you should never date a man who…

1. Wants to “try that latest pop-up place” he’s just read about.
Summer is ruined by these ironic “burger n spiralized mango” joints springing up all over. Remember: if you’ve read about it in Time Out, or your local equivalent, so has everyone else. 
And they’re all in front of you in the queue, or hogging the waiter, or ordering the last thing of what you want. They’re all slightly better looking than you, too, aren’t they? Did you notice?

2. Wears crocs.
I know doctors and nurses, for example, like to wear these on the job, but once the scrubs come off, so should the grim blocks of plastic. Nobody ever got excited about feet that looked like a game of Hungry Hippos.

3. Exclaims “Pimm’s o’clock!” at any time.
Any man who does this should be dumped o’clock. At half past bin bags chucked out of a window. And seen again only on the twelfth of never. Continue reading 25 men you should never date this summer


The Hold-Out

A restaurant. I hate going for food on a first date, but my date suggested it and so here I am.

Leo is a student and 22 – that enchanted age where anything seems possible, but you’re still not old enough to realise none of it will ever happen.

His pictures were, to put it bluntly, deceiving and he is not very good-looking at all, but I’m here now and we can at least have a nice dinner. I can tell he’s not a serial dater, as he’s picked Chinese – nobody wants to spend two hours watching a stranger grapple with chopsticks.

He has been flirting with me outrageously since I got here – he’s all coquettish leans to one side, wry smiles and fluttery eyelashes. I am as responsive as a fridge in a scrapyard.

Halfway through a bowl of noodles that I can’t wait for him and his mouth to finish, he licks his lips and puts down his chopsticks and I know I am in trouble.

“I just want you to know – I never sleep with someone on the first date.”

Here we go. I am nothing if not a sadist, so I ask simply: “Why?”

He goes into a long diatribe about how  relationships can only be brief and meaningless when founded on sex and that he prefers to get to know someone “spiritually rather than carnally”. I wonder which rock of self-help this bizarre statement crawled out from under.

“So how long do you wait?” I ask. “What’s the magic number of dates before you do the deed?”

“About four?”

“Four,” I repeat. “And then what?”

“Whaddya mean?”

“After date five, what happens next?”

There is no response. Just a deep breath. I plough on.

“Well, here you are.” I gesture around the room. “Sitting with me, on date number one. It rather suggests that as magic formulas go, your one for having a long-lasting relationship doesn’t seem to be much good.”

He scratches his head. “Eh?”

I should stop, but I can taste blood and, reader, I like it. “Four dates. Risky strategy.”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, you’re giving people an awful lot of opportunities to fall out of love with you.”

He scrunches up his face, puzzled. “What’s wrong with my four-date rule?”

I rest my chin on my hands. “If your formula for starting out on a long relationship is not to have sex with someone until the fourth date, why are you single? Where’s your relationship? Why are you here, now, with me, on a first date, imparting your ‘wisdom’, when in fact it is a load of old pony?”

He laughs nervously. “I don’t know.”

“Well, no. Holding out on sex on a first date is your choice, and totally up to you, but don’t think it makes you any deeper or less superficial to keep your Aussiebums on. It just means you are missing out on a shag. If you’re happy with it, that’s great.”

He puts his hand on my arm and smiles at me in a way I imagine someone once told him was sexy. There is a bit of chive in his teeth. He looks very pleased with himself – like a bank manager cancelling an overdraft. “Are you asking me to make an exception just this once?” he says.

My gaze slides glacially to his hand.

“I do sleep with people on the first date,” I smile. “If I fancy them.” Cue dramatic pause. “You’re safe tonight, Leo.”

He moves his hand back. We spend the rest of the date talking about the weather and ask for the bill as quickly as politeness will allow.

Stats: 22, 5’7″, mousey/blue, Norfolk
Where: London E1
Pre-date rating: 8/10
Post-date rating: 3/10
Date in one sentence: Bait is not taken.

Image: Zebble on Flickr 

Why every first date should be a no-food zone

“Let’s meet for dinner. 7pm.”

As statements go, it’s fairly innocuous. No hidden agenda, no gameplaying. As far as you’re concerned, you’ll be eating, chatting and maybe worrying internally about how much wine you can allow yourself on a school night. But transport that remark to the run-up to a first date, and I run for the hills, stomach churning with a dread normally reserved for statements like “The PIN you have entered is incorrect” or “And next on ITV2, a four-hour Katie Price reality show retrospective”.

Going for dinner is a perfectly pleasant experience most of the time, but food on a first date is an absolute no-no for me, even if I’m feeling supremely confident about my table manners. I get asked a lot by followers, readers and various other dating neophytes who cross my path why I’m so anti-grub on date numero uno, so here’s why.

Where to go? WHERE?
Choosing somewhere to go to eat is much more of a challenge than selecting a pub and settling down with a pint of ‘mild’, or whatever takes your fancy. But when cuisine is involved, dates tend to want to impress. They might want to take you to the most ‘buzzy’ place or latest restaurant that’s got everybody talking. They may be either wildly way out of your budget or much scuzzier than what you’re used to.

So, rather than just turning up at a pub, relaxed (or as chilled as you can be when meeting a total stranger) and getting things going on a fairly equal footing, there are already preconceptions galore coming into play and the added burden of hoping your date likes where you’ve chosen. 

The menu hates you
But even if choosing the venue was a breeze, you’re not out of the woods yet. You still have to decide what to eat. Noodles? How are you with chopsticks? Do you want that big, beefy burger? Should you nibble on a salad so your date thinks you’re some dullard calorie-counting leaf-loving gay who cries if they can’t fit into their school uniform once a year?

It’s just dinner, though, right? Does it really matter? Maybe not, but don’t eat anything you wouldn’t want your date peering at splattered all down your shirtfront.

Don’t talk with your mouth full? Or can’t?
Unless you have the table manners of a ravenous pug, if you’re chewing, you’re not going to be doing a whole lot of talking. Chatting, to most dating traditionalists, is an essential part of the first date.

Sure, in 9½ Weeks, food pretty much took the place of breezy banter, but if your date is going to progress, you’re going to have to speak up. Doing that becomes more difficult if you’re navigating your way through steak and chips or slurping spaghetti sauce through those once-kissable lips. Push the plate aside.

Trapped until the tiramisu
So you’ve made it through the venue, menu and inability to get halfway through a sentence without averting your eyes from their big, gaping, chewing, dribbling chasm of a mouth. Now you’ve leapt over all those unnecessary hurdles you introduced, it’s time to get to the main part of the date – the talking, the getting-to-know-you, the chitchat, the badinage. But here’s the thing: you’re barely through your first course of ironic prawn cocktail when you realise you’ve hit a wall – your date is as dull and unappealing as the drying spittle on your cutlery. Your companion for the evening has zero to offer but a migraine-inducing jeremiad about single mothers, the unemployed and their contribution to society. Your fork, once held so playfully in your hand as you raised it flirtatiously to your mouth, is now a spear longing to embed itself in your date’s face. The table and chair are now your prison – until this meal is over, you’re not going anywhere.

Were you to be merely out for drinks, you could swiftly down your drink, check your watch, give a cheery “Well this was lovely, but I really must be on my way” and sprint for the exit, holding your arms aloft in elation at your escape. But your date now has you where he or she wants you, for the next hour at least, until all the food you ordered has been served and eaten. You knew you shouldn’t have gone for that Chateaubriand. Bloody hell.

Post-nosh breath and belly-busting blunders
But maybe you made it all the way through. Far from being the passion-killer I’ve feared all along, your meal was a triumph, a romantic coup second only to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding. So as you smooth down your napkin in a satisfied manner and slowly drain the last of your wine, never once removing your eyes from your next course, which is handily sitting opposite you and licking their lips, you broach the subject of what to do next. Retire to a nearby bar for a first-date snog? Or maybe even take things a little bit further. Well, I’m not one to judge, but what I will say from personal experience is that a full tummy does not lend itself well to desire. Your hunger for nosh has been sated, and in the process it’s likely you won’t be feeling too famished in the bedroom department, either.

Not only will your belly be bursting with the first-date feast you’ve just devoured, but your breath will also be playing host to whatever you just ate too. Garlic, onions, little bits of beefburger are all there waiting to be discovered by your date’s tongue. It’s enough to give anyone indigestion – and once you start rolling passionately around on a bedspread with a bellyful of pasta, that’s another you’ve probably got to look forward to.

So leave the pasta and the prawns and the salad and the soup for date three or four. Stick to the basics for your first date. You’ll thank me for it later. Maybe. Come on, put the fork down. You’ll have someone’s eye out.