The Restaurant Date

12 Jan

Girls love to eat. There is a reason that seminary girls come back to the States a little more filled out and it’s not because there was a veggie shortage at the shuk. You put a dozen girls in a cramped apartment, you give them a fridge, a stove, some cabinet space and a makolet down the road, and the outcome is inevitable. Most girls are not shy about eating. Donuts are good. Potato chips are good. Chocolate is very good. With few exceptions, all girls will admit to enjoying the (more than) occasional indulgence in the delectable and delicious.

But girls have another side; a more finicky side. It usually comes out in public places like engagement parties, weddings, shabbos tables or any other event where they feel on display. Everyone is looking. Everyone is wondering what she is eating, how she is eating it and why so much of it. Everyone is meticulously analyzing every thread of her skirt, every hair on her head and surmising the precise reason she used charcoal gray liquid eyeliner instead of plum pencil, which would have totally made her hazel eyes pop…instead of flop.

Welcome to the mind of a female.

That is why the Restaurant Date has been placed on the second rung of the first date sefiros. When you go to a restaurant, you are going out into the open world. The fact that you are a kosher-keeping Jew only intensifies the probability of being “seen” since there are only so many options. Obviously the above caricature of the female mind is quite exaggerated, but the truth of the matter is, most women aren’t in the dating world for the food. They’re interested in meeting the right person, and the best way for them to deduce who is best for them (and who they are best for) is by talking. Girls like to eat, but even more so, girls like to talk.

Things to Keep in Mind if You are a Guy:

1) It can be hard to eat and talk at the same time. And since we girls love doing both of those things so much, it’s hard to choose a side. If the date is taking place after a long day of work/school/both, we may involuntarily channel the ravenous beast seminary girl depicted in the introduction. In that case, food comes first. However if we aren’t all that hungry, then our brains shift into verbal mode. You’ll be lucky if half that $15 plate of fettuccine alfredo doesn’t end up in a doggie bag.  Of course, this could just be me…

2) There are few things more daunting than a restaurant menu, because although you have graciously offered up to half the Abigail’s inventory, we know there are at least two dozen things we cannot eat:

Fish has bones. Bones are choking hazards. No one wants to encounter the Heimlich on a first date.

Anything with sauce has the potential of ending up all over the face- hers if she ordered chicken or meat, yours if she ordered  gangly spaghetti.

Salads are risky because either we come off looking like a health snob or end up with gums full of seeds, spinach, carrot, lettuce, Bac-O’s, chicken, cheese and various other crevice-filling delights.

Gross. I know.

And no girl wants to be viewed as gross. It may take her some time to figure out what she is willing to risk compromising her femininity for, so don’t worry, she will eat something it’s just a bigger decision than you realized.

Things to Keep in Mind if You are a Girl:

1) Even though it seems like the whole world is looking at you, because as far as you know, everyone goes to Cafe K on Thursday night, no one is there to see you on a date. Is it awkward bumping into people you know with a guy you barely know? Yes, but this is the way it is now. One day you will probably bump into them on a date and not give two thoughts about it. You’re right, most people do talk and it’s annoying. Oh, you’re waiting for the good part? Sorry, haven’t though of one yet other than that one day we will look back on these days and laugh.

Things For Everyone to Keep in Mind:

The reason most people go out to eat is to enjoy quality time with someone they like. You have to be able to shut out the rest of the restaurant, the rest of the people and the hustle and bustle that does along with the mixture of the two in order to truly hear out the person you are with. Being that you most probably don’t know your date at the start of a first date, it’s hard to “hear them out” when you don’t know what they normally are like. Going to a restaurant adds unnecessary noise when really, all you’re trying to figure out is if there a second date is completely out of the question. If you are up for eating, then go for it. Most people do get hungry even if they are with a complete stranger. However do not be surprised if you end up with a girl who barely touches her food. It probably does not have to do with an eating disorder, but rather, she’s more interested in focusing on you than her food.

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3 Responses to “The Restaurant Date”

  1. QED January 13, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    Good post. One advantage of the restaurant over the coffee is that there are natural breaks provided externally. For example: the waiter’s frequent visits, he washes, then she washes, eating, and bentching (if necessary).
    Sure, this may be a disadvantage to some, but I usually like these interruptions.

  2. Bluestocking January 13, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    I don’t like restaurant first dates. I used to be okay with it, until I came home with a piece of spinach wedged in my teeth. When you are trying to be attractive to a total stranger, it can be a turn-off. Also, since I’m aware of the expense, I get all nervous about ordering something not too expensive, and not too cheap to seem a pushover.

    With food dates, that usually means the guy has to pick me up at home, or if I meet him there he’ll have to take me home. Then I feel guilty of foisting this shlep on him, plus who says I for sure want to be in a car with this guy more than necessary?

    As for my last date at Cafe K, it was like being in shul, I knew everyone. While I don’t mind if people see me, it still makes you very aware of yourself and you would prefer to focus more on the date itself.

    So I vote coffee, even though I don’t drink it.

  3. SoG January 26, 2011 at 2:32 am #

    I definitely don’t recommend going out to eat on a first date. From my experience, most girls are not so comfortable eating of guys in the first place. Rav Goldwicht, I think, recommends going for dessert early on, since it doesn’t involve too much eating, and you want to eat slowly anyway, which gives more time to talk. It provides the benefits of a restaurant without the eating nerves and is easier on the wallet.

    Having said that, one time I went out with a girl who ordered 2 hotdogs and eagerly scared them down.

    I would also avoid fancy salads with nuts in them; I’ve choked twice on dates from such appetizers

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