Foods to avoid on your first date

It's your first date. You're finally going out with a guy you've had the hots for. No points for guessing you want to look your best. You pick out your favourite dress, take a leisurely trip to the parlour, and use that expensive perfume you had stashed away for special occasions. While on the date, you charm him with your conversation skills and do everything perfect until you order your food. And bam! You lose all the brownie points you had scored, only because you ordered the wrong dish or got hopelessly drunk. Sounds incredulous?

Many of you are wondering what's the big deal about choosing the right kind of food on your first date. But first impressions do matter. If you want your first date to be a smashing success and lead to subsequent dates, there are certain foods you must stay away from, in order to prevent embarrassments: gastric or otherwise.

Coffee and conversations
To begin with, pick the right location for your date. Grooming and etiquette expert Rukshaha Eisa suggests, "It's best if you choose a coffee shop for your first date. It's the ideal place to break the ice. You could order coffee and pastries. Not everyone is comfortable with crockery like knife and forks, so a fancy meal may sound intimidating." In case you want to opt for dinner, choose a casual restaurant. A gourmet meal in a classy restaurant is best reserved for later dates.

Stay away from
On a first date, it makes sense to stick with relatively tidy fork food. Once you're committed to each other, you can have a go at the delicious barbeque ribs and onions rings with reckless abandon. Avoid foods like spaghetti (messy and a date-killer), soup (you don't want to be caught dead slurping), or food with too much garlic (bad choice, especially if he's a vampire). Says Eepsita G, media professional, "I never eat subway sandwiches and pizzas on my first dates. They are pretty messy to eat, with the mayo dripping and all. I believe, it's the first date, and I don't want the guy to see me with lettuce stuck between my teeth. I would want to make a first good impression and this is one of those things I just won't do on a first date."

Anubha Patnaik, student, echoes similar sentiments. "Eating food that spills all over will get the guy grossed out. But it depends on the guy. If he's really into you, he may find it cute. Also, anything with garlic and onion is a big no because you don't want to overpower their senses with your stinking breath," he says.

To drink or not to drink
No matter how comfortable you are with your date, it's advisable to stay away from alcohol. If you really want to, limit yourself to a cocktail or two. Binge-drinking could give out the signal that you are nervous. Getting drunk and losing control is definitely not a trait your date is going to fancy. Of course, all this is just restricted for the first few meetings. The more comfortable you get with your date, the safer it will be to enjoy your favourite food without worrying about your breath.

Dining etiquette
Bet you didn't know this - every time you sit down for a meal, there are many mannerisms on display that reveal subtle clues about your personality, far beyond basic table manners. Good table etiquettes indicate a certain level of poise and sophistication. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when you're on your date.

- Ordering food on a date isn't just another activity - it's a time to test plate-sharing and taste-bud preferences. So don't bury your head in a menu. Instead, focus on your main dish of the evening - your date.

- When your food arrives, no matter how hungry you are, don't gobble it, else you will be left staring at your date eating, once you are done with your meal. Eat at a moderate pace so that you have time to talk. A good measure of how fast you should eat is to count 10 seconds between each mouthful.

- Slurping liquids, smacking your lips or chewing with your mouth open - don't attempt any of these unless you want your first date to be your last! Nothing is more unsightly than watching someone talk and chew their food at the same time.

- Most women keep their purses on the table - that's not apt. Keep it on another empty chair. Also, your napkin should be placed on your lap at all times. Don't use it as a bib.

- When eating, keep your eyes on your date at all times and try to smile between mouthfuls. Occasionally, make an effort to show some interest and ask him how the food is.

- "Unless you need to use the washroom or have an urgent phone call, don't get up during your meal. It will make your date feel he isn't important," Rukshaha warns.

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