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foods not to order on a date

Going out to eat is an integral part of dating. It offers you and your date unfettered access to each other without the distraction of a movie screen, mini-golf course or bungee jumping apparatus. Those activity-based dates may be fun, but they’re sorely lacking in the get-to-know-you department (besides the obvious “now I know you like to bungee jump” kind of way). With a nice long dinner, you get the benefit of extended face time but there’s also nowhere to hide when disaster strikes. Today, I’m going to focus on one of the biggest dangers of dinner dates: ordering food that can sabotage your night.

Most foods are totally date-friendly – as long as you consume them in moderation. That’s why sex therapist Dr. Linda De Villers says not to eat too much on a date. “The idea is to slow down and savor small morsels of food,” she says. If too much of any food is a problem, any amount of a heavy food presents the same problem. I love Greek food, but going out for Greek on a date is a recipe for trouble. Moussaka and pistaccio may taste great, but as soon as dinner’s over, you’re going to need a nap. By the same token, chili may seem like the right choice on a cold night, but it can be death to romance. A good rule of thumb: If your entree is going to cause you to say “I’m stuffed” by the end of the meal, don’t order it.

Another Heart Attack Date Stopper® category is messy food/food that’s hard to eat. My lovely ex-girlfriend always claimed that falafel is the worst date food because of how messy it is. “The pita is always falling apart,” she says, “so you’re guaranteed to have a face full of tahini at some point.” Very wise. You don’t want to be reaching for the napkin every five seconds as you try to make kissy faces at each other. Same goes for anything involving work. Crab legs are a no-no on a date because you’re going to spend an hour scooping out the meat and then your hands are going to be all crabby. Nobody wants crab hands (except if you’re in Alaska where eau de crab is the most popular cologne). A good rule of thumb: Keep everything tidy during dinner and you’ve got a much better shot of seeing how tidy her bedroom is after dinner.

The next category completely depends on your date: “gross” foods. I’m talking about beef hearts and rabbit kidneys and all kinds of offal. Some girls are adventurous eaters. Others are not. Taking your date to chow down on chitterlings is going to stop the date immediately if she’s a mainstream eater. As  a snout-to-tail kind of dude, it might make sense to keep your calf brains to yourself until you figure out the situation. Once you know she’s down with the boudin noir, you can have yourself a feast of disgusting proportions. A good rule of thumb: Offal is awful if your date considers it unlawful.

Dating is hard. There’s no reason why you have to make it harder by planning a dinner of tripe lasagna at TJ O’Saucypants. Keep things simple, feel out (not up) your date’s preferences, and then plan accordingly. You can even eat a little snack beforehand so you’re not gorging yourself into a food coma. A good rule of thumb: Don’t ever go to TJ O’Saucypants.