The First Dinner Date: The Ins & Outs of Courtship Whilst Dining

So. You met someone. You set up a dinner date. Not just any date– the first date.  The hard part is over—but the need for strategy remains.  It is not the time to forget about logic.

 Rule #1

Stay away from the Mediterranean place on the corner who prides themselves on the amount of garlic they use on a daily basis.  I know it’s delicious, but respect the aftermath.

* Apply this rule to your favorite Mexican restaurant.

Rule #2

When trying a new restaurant, do your research.  Great food is the foundation for an amazing evening.  Terrible food is… awkward and sad.

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 Rule #3

You’ve decided on a cute Italian-American Bistro, for 7 pm.  7 o’clock is prime-time: did you call to make a reservation?  Get a name on that list!  Don’t let being hangry doom the relationship before it begins.

 Rule #4

The menu is amazing, and extensive.  “What are you getting?” is a question for the UN-confident.  You know what you like.  Don’t be dependent.

 Rule #5

Stick to a dish that is easily consumed via small bites.  Have you ever gracefully eaten French onion soup?  The answer is no.  Penne pasta instead of linguine is a simple swap that will minimize your chance of spillage and maximize you ability to look charming, without compromising flavor.

 Rule #6

Pace yourself.  Eat how your mother nags you to eat.  Conversation is (hopefully) rolling, and having to pause while you chew the giant mouthful you just cursed yourself with is not cute.  And choking during a first impression is even less cute.

 Rule #7 

 Split a dessert.  Get the chocolate mousse.  If the date is going well, I mean.  Otherwise decline, decline, decline and get the Hell out of there.

 Rule #8

Now, the tricky part.  Who pays?  Chivalry, we regret to admit, is comatose.  Ladies, you have to at least make the reach.  Allow the man to fight you for the bill.  Maybe he won’t.  Make sure you hit up the ATM before dinner.

 Rule #9

You have mints/gum in your pockets/purse… right?  If you don’t it is time to get a hold of your life.


I don’t know why you think there is going to be a tenth point because the rest is up to you.  We do food, not relationships.  Go get ‘em.

What first dinner date rules do you adhere to? Post in the comments section!

Emily Maloney


Emily grew up convinced she would go to culinary school and then on to be a professional chef for her own restaurant. Then, she didn't. At all. A creative writing track within the English program at Syracuse University guided her passion for writing, and now she is convinced that she will one day soon write an Emmy-winning sitcom. Her obsession with food remains. She currently resides in NYC, plotting her next move.

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