You know what? People get dinner dating so badly wrong that its almost the curse of relationship startups. When you first ask someone to dinner or are asked out to dinner, immediately you enter an opulent scene in your head from James Bond; black tie, chandeliers, black dresses, jewels, exclusive eateries, credit card melt down. True, it may be opulent, it may be desirable, it may even be romantic but more than likely it will lead to dating disaster? Why, because you are not concentrating on your date!
Your first few dinners should be very romantic I think so you should take note of where you are asking or being asked to attend. However if you are doing the asking you have to think about the absolutely number ONE ingredient of the night - being relaxed. If both of you guys are not relaxed over dinner then its not going to work out. Conversation will become fraught, concentrate will waiver onto the formality of surroundings or menu choices or intruding attentive waiter service and the next thing you know, the moment is lost.
Formality is a killer so avoid it, if is a place you can both get up and dance later to an in-house band then good. Certainly you should be able to retire to the bar or pop along to another place for a drink afterwards if necessary. The maitre 'd should be discreet and so I don't expect a man to walk in as if he had been therefore the last 50 years and pop a $20 bill into the man's top pocket. Its comes across as flash, crass and unsophisticated.
If you know the restaurant is good or have dined there already then it all helps relax the process. If you are a guy, unless discretion is assured, don't take consecutive dates to the same place as you are risking disaster from some unthinking comment. Make sure the restaurant you select has very good food, irrespective of price. After all, you are trying to show that you have taste and judgment. If you fancy yourself as a wine expert then ensure you do know what you are talking about. If you simply order Bollinger on the way in or a Chateau La Tour '55 then make sure you have an idea that this will go down well with your date. An opulent display of cash is generally off-putting to all except the most mercenary of people.
Although the food and ambiance is very important, the date is about interaction and conversation. As a man ALWAYS turn up on time, if not before and ALWAYS look at your date when speaking. If you want to check out the breasts of the woman at the next table then do it some other time. Show respect buddy but getting her chair and showing your class. It is not unmanly to take care of a woman. And ladies, it is not chauvinist or sexist for a man to show he cares either so get used to be treated well.
Don't order everything on the menu and don't go for anything that will splash or requires breaking such as spaghetti or lobster. If you make a mess you will look a mess too. If you date often then at least try to keep up with modern food trends such as knowing what fusion cuisine is. Extolling the virtues of mom's apple pie will get you nowhere chum. If you don't know how to work your way through the cutlery set up in a good restaurant or know which glass is for what or which side your bread plate is then you are reading this on the Internet so use the web to answer these questions too. There is absolutely no excuse for ignorance.
Try and select an establishment that doesn't require a two hour drive to get there. The best dates are quick, easy, relaxed, have spontaneity and romance. So keep that in mind when you are making plans. Never keep a lady waiting and remember that should the woman be forced to arrive first she prefers an establishment with windows so that she can see who is coming and going.
If you are a man who feels he likes to show his prowess by arguing with 'minor' staff like waiters and get people fired then that is fine at your place of work but leave it there. In a restaurant you are there to show your good side so don't start showing off how powerful you are. It is embarrassing to make a scene and there is no excuse. Occasionally things do go awry and if so things can be worked out. But causing a battle due to a spilled drink etc. just makes you look foolish and your date will want to crawl away out the door. Humor is almost always the answer to such situations.
When the bill comes the man simply pays it without checking amounts or asking questions about who had what. If you want to look cheap and remain single then carry on and get your calculator out. A woman may offer to split the bill but she rarely means it. If she does mean it, this can normally be read as indicating that though she enjoyed the date, she won't be wanting any concept of debt and is likely to not be calling you further. If the woman insists on paying the entire bill and you let her then you should be ashamed of yourself and you deserve to remain single. Its not about who can afford what, it is about displaying some chivalry and respect.
Enjoy your dinner date, enjoy the music and dancing and candlelight conversation and try and find romance. If things don't work out its okay, you simply keep dating. More nice dinners and more nice company. One of these days you will be hit by that thunderbolt.
Points to consider:
Your dinner location should be relaxed and informal or semi informal
The restaurant should not be too expensive or too flash
Research your restaurant in advance and try to ensure you have eaten there before
Above all things the food should be good
A restaurant with a lively atmosphere and an inviting host will help
Never ever argue with a waiter on a date and do tip
Always make sure you have booked a table in advance
Don't try to impress with wine unless you know what you are talking about, o ther wise you will look like a fool
The restaurant should not be too specialized unless you have advance information on your date's likes
Do not order for your date but make recommendations can show confidence
Any place with candlelight and soft music will help
Don't have a late dinner date unless it is convenient for both parties
A Friday night diner date opens up more possibilities than a Monday night
Never argue about the bill, if you are the man you will automatically pay. If she offers to pay half she means there is nothing owing and you will probably not see her again as its platonic
Ordering oysters and champagne on the first date makes you look like a fool
Ordering massive quantities of food will make you look greedy and uninviting and will not enamor you to your date, especially if you are not paying. A free meal ticket he may be but don't make it obvious
Never order spaghetti or lobster on a first date or anything that requires you to wear linen around the neck to prevent mess, its cools the ardor!
Feeding each other food is a mating ritual as old as the hills, its about how you will provide for each other
A restaurant too formal will prevent relaxing conversation
Leave the booze and alcohol until later, some wine or champagne is fine. Guys leave the beer in a restaurant, it shows a distinct lack of taste
Attend to your lady's chair and always sit opposite, not besides
Do not smoke in restaurants as it shows poor taste
Do everything you can to avoid coming across as conceited or arrogant in a restaurant.
If you find yourself out of your depth in an establishment tell you date and laugh about it
As a woman make sure a friend knows where you are eating and make sure you have thought of an exit strategy if required
Remember that a dinner date is primarily about eye contact, body gestures including signals and good conversation. Anything that detracts is unnecessary
A dinner date is also about socializing, so even if you are not meant to be together, enjoy the food and the company because it could have been that ubiquitous meal for one instead
Burping loudly after a meal maybe a sign of thanks in some countries but should generally be avoided unless you want to remain single
Never abandon your date to pay the bill whilst you sneak out of the fire exit. If you have to leave then say so and at least offer some explanation, even if untrue.
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