Where did the first caveman take the first cavewoman on their first date? It must have been to dinner— maybe a nice mastodon steak with a side of ferns. Eating and dating have always gone together.
JESSA: I’ve got eating in a restaurant when I’m on a date down to a science. I gauge my nervousness and, depending on how I feel, I determine whether I can order something requiring utensils. If I’m really jittery, I worry about shaking, so I order a hamburger or something I can eat with my hands.
I’ve ordered soft drinks and never taken a sip from them throughout the entire meal. Why? They came without a straw and I was afraid my hand was shaking too badly to pick up the glass. If a straw is there, I can slide the drink to the edge of the table, lean down and take a sip. Without a straw, I generally don’t drink.
HANAHAH: I was 10 and 11 and thinking about what I would order when I was finally old enough to go out. I remember deciding on a tuna fish sandwich and a 7-Up. They seemed like the most feminine thing I could order. It’s now 30 years later and if I were with a man I really loved (who really loved me), I’d order a thick steak and a bottle of red wine.
MARNIE: I wore braces for three years, the old-fashioned metal ones that turned dinner dates into times of high anxiety.
I was constantly worrying about what was stuck in them. After I ate I would escape to the ladies’ room to clean them, but I didn’t want to open my mouth to say where I was going so I would kind of mumble, “Excuse me for a minute,” with my lips drawn over my teeth.
SHOSHANNA: I went out with a doctor and ordered a sundae for dessert. I left a small portion on my plate. He said I shouldn’t have ordered something if I couldn’t finish it.
LENA: It was our first date. He met me after work and took me to two bars that had free appetizers like pizza squares, egg rolls, and garlic bread. Drinks were half price for men and women drank for free. He walked me home afterward and was indignant that I didn’t invite him in.
ALLISON: I hate how women have to order first, especially if it’s a first date. I never know if I should order an appetizer or a salad of just go straight to the entrée. And then which entrée? Should I order one of the cheapest things on the menu? If I order what I really want, will he think I’m a gold digger?
ADAM: It seems like most woman I date order one from every course on the menu. They order like they haven’t eaten all week. Then they eat half and ask for a doggy bag. It’s like they not only expect me to pay for their dinner, they expect me to provide tomorrow night’s dinner as well.
CURTIS: What really gets me is when women ask the waiter a dozen questions. “How is this made?” “Does it contain any butter?” “Is it vegan” Men don’t do that. Men just order.
Have restaurants turned into dating disasters? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to firstname.lastname@example.org. And check out my new ebook “Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front.”