First dates can be awkward, and most people don’t know how to act.
And if you’re going out to dinner, getting the wrong type of food can make everything even more uncomfortable.
So here’s a suggested list of things you should NOT order on a first date.
1. Spaghetti and Meatballs
Unless you’re trying to Lady and the Tramp it, spaghetti is not the best choice. Slurping and chewing your long noodles will only add to the awkward pauses in conversation. Red sauce is also notoriously known to splatter; whether it’s on your clothes or on your date.
Alternative: Gnocchi. This small dough dumpling is easy to eat and will save you from a shirt-stain disaster.
2. Ribs and Wings
There’s a reason why they come served with bibs and towelettes. Don’t order anything that requires a lot of man-handling, it’s just not attractive.
Alternative: Steak. While it may be on the pricier side, it’s neater and easier to eat. So get your meat, but look classy too.
3. Big Leafy Salads
Eating salad takes a long time to chew, and spinach between your teeth has never been a good look.
Alternative: Grilled vegetable dish. If you’re trying to stay healthy, this meal is easier to eat–with only a slim chance of something getting caught in your teeth.
It’s difficult to look at someone romantically as you’re tearing apart a sea creature with your bare hands.
Alternative: Grilled salmon. This entrée has all the fish flavors you want, and none of the shell-cracking, sauce-splattering you don’t want.
The more you eat ’em the more you… you get the point. Steer clear of any bean-loaded dishes like chili bowls or burritos, as these may upset your stomach and cause gas.
Alternative: Anything with beans probably tastes just as good without them so…
6. Spicy Food
If you can handle the heat then good for you, but don’t risk it. Spicy foods can cause sweating and watery eyes, and that’s just not cute.
Alternative: Ask for a milder option. You’ll still get a flavor kick, but you won’t be overwhelmed with spice.
7. Onions or Garlic
This is a given. Don’t eat anything particularly pungent at the risk of having bad breath for the rest of the night.
Alternative: Nothing. Don’t eat it. Don’t eat it in the missionary position, don’t eat it standing up, just don’t do it, OK, promise?
8. Corn on the Cob
It might be cute and funny for the first two bites, but not so much after that… Unless you’re cool with picking your teeth in front of your date.
Alternative: Corn chowder. If you really want a corn entrée, stick with something that doesn’t require hands as utensils.
9. Fermented Foods
Generally, these foods smell weird, taste weird, and look weird to someone who isn’t familiar with the cuisine. Avoid foods like kimchi, fermented tofu, and pickled foods.
Alternative: Seaweed. If you’re dining somewhere that already serves fermented foods, chances are they also serve entrées with seaweed. Seaweed has a unique, salty taste like most pickled and fermented foods, but it has a much weaker odor.
10. The Same Thing As Your Date
Boringggg. While this isn’t the worst thing you could do, why be an unoriginal copy-cat? At least with different dishes, you can talk about your individual meals if the conversation dwindles.
Alternative: Don’t have what he/she is having.
11. Anything That’s Hard To Pronounce
Chances are if you’re going to a nice restaurant, there’s going to be foreign food you can’t pronounce. Don’t pretend like you know what you’re saying if you don’t. At least make a joke and admit you have no idea what you’re saying.
Alternative: Order something you do know how to pronounce.
12. Hot Dogs
Honestly, wait until the third date to break this out. Hot dogs are unpleasant to watch people eat.
Alternative: If you’re really feeling tubed meat, you might as well order sausage. You can eat this with a fork and knife, and you avoid any sort of uncomfortable mouth gestures that hot dogs require.
13. Overly Expensive Items
Most importantly, don’t be like this guy who bought a $3750 bottle of wine at dinner.
Whether it’s a mistake or not, don’t be that jerk.