What not to eat on a first date

First dates are fickle things; don’t over-complicate them with poor food choices. This is our pick of foods you should stay away from to ensure minimum embarrassment, maximum success.

Don’t eat that!
Woman eating spaghetti

So, you’ve locked a date with the man (or woman) of Shakespearean sonnets. Your outfit is on a hanger in plastic on the closet door. Hair did, nails did. You went over your first-date script (complete with common questions and answers). But have you rehearsed for the eating scenario?

If your first date happens to drift away from the safety of a coffee shop into a bistro or a restaurant, you have to evaluate your options. Let’s be honest: Not all of us can wield eating utensils with prowess or consume foods with grace. Since the first date is kind of a big deal, why not reveal your eating ineptitude a few dates down the line? It will be like a little surprise for your partner.

Here are some foods we recommend you avoid for honour’s sake. Let’s check them out, shall we?

Sandwich-like concoctions

This is a broad category, yes. If bread with food content in between or on top is involved, control yourself, and use the power of negation (in other words, say “no”). Just to clarify, this definitely includes burgers, sandwiches and wraps. Why? Oh, you naive little unicorn… You bite in, sauce immediately attaches itself to your face, innards of the sandwich fall out or hang from your mouth, you attempt to recover your poise by slurping in the aforementioned contents, or worse, by using your tongue to shovel them in — not even a mountain of napkins can save you here. It’s simply not pretty, or flattering or particularly seductive.


Calling all health-conscious chickas! The salad routine is cancelled. Sure, you want your date to believe the lies you told him (or her) about the burning passion you developed for Pilates and how your bird call yoga mantra propels your subconscious into a state of enlightenment, but unless your mouth is the size of a four-car garage, eating salad on a first date will not work. The dressing will be everywhere, the spinach will never quite fit into your trap, and you will quickly realize just how poorly you operate a fork. The diet can resume post-date.


Spaghetti is first-date suicide. Only people in long-term relationships or marriages can eat spaghetti shame-free. The sheer heroics involved in rolling the pasta around your fork are enough to deter anyone from ever attempting this on a first date. But there is also the issue of tomato sauce. As your uncoordinated self slurps up the spaghetti, you just know that sauce is now all over the place. Even being Italian will not save you here.

garlicOnions or garlic

So you forgot to lick your toilet bowl before heading out? No worries, an onion or garlic dish will do the trick. There is nothing more attractive in a man or woman than smelling like Uncle Bert after a few beers at a Thanksgiving family get-together. Not! Honesty moment: Stinky breath is not sexy. Just avoid garlic- and onion-laced foods altogether before and during your date. And as a friendly reminder, mint gum is not a magician; it will not make your garlic breath disappear. People from four blocks away will know what you had for dinner if you so much as yawn. Don’t do it.

Lickable foods

Maybe it’s summer and you’re at a festival, or you found an ice cream vendor during your romantic walk in the park. It doesn’t matter in this case. Cold desserts generally tend to comply with thermodynamics, and hence, your treat will begin to melt. In a state of panic, you will begin to frantically lick the ice cream or popsicle. This situation can and will escalate and get out of hand very quickly. No self-respecting woman should have to be subject to that kind of attention. Although granted, a second date will be a very likely possibility.

Broccoli, pesto and herbs

Yes, all three are delicious; we’re sorry to put them on the list. But let’s say you’re at a restaurant, gnawing away at your food and recounting anecdotes to impress your date. If any of these three ingredients are in your food, you are most likely doomed. It doesn’t matter if you have a doctorate in philosophy, which you earned under the mentorship of Aristotle’s great descendant on Mount Everest within a small group of enlightened Tibetan monks. You have a green chunklet stuck between your front teeth — you look like a buffoon. Please, please abstain.

We hope these guidelines will light your way to a successful first date. In case you’re wondering what you can eat, we have narrowed it down to this diminutive list: sushi, pizza, fries, ravioli or tortellini and various rice/quinoa/couscous dishes. Enjoy, and let us know how it went!

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