Why Dinner Dates Are A Bad Idea

The Dating Nerd is really a shadowy figure whose whereabouts and identifying details remain unknown. What we can say for certain is that he is actually, excellent at dating. He’s been on more dates than it is possible to shake an extended bar tab at, and he’s here to greatly help the common guy step his dating game up a notch – or several. Need his help? Email [email protected]
The Question
Hi Dating Nerd,
Thanks for helping me out with my problem. I was speaking with a lady friend recently and informed her in regards to a date that hadn’t gone well. After all, it had been fine – but towards the end we briefly hugged goodbye and I never heard from her again. She explained the issue was that it turned out a dinner date. Those certainly are a no-no, she said, and you ought to never have a girl out for supper on the initial date. I feel like dinner is a pretty standard date option, and the problem must have just been a chemistry one. Who’s right? Are dinner dates really a bad idea? Help me out here!
– Dinner Peace
The Answer
Like many stupid men, I have taken women out for fancy dinners on first dates I have completely screwed up my chances with several pretty, interesting women in dimly-lit rooms, filled with coq au vin and dread. In an attempt to fill awkward silences, I have read portions of a wine list aloud, intoning words like Bordeaux and Carignan with all the enthusiasm of a subway driver apologizing for traffic. There is a special pain in feeling romantic chemistry disappearing in a lush room full of inoffensive soft rock music.
Gentle reader, my mistakes are worth little, but they’re worth even less if you can’t learn from them. So, today, I would like to tell you – and our poor letter-writer – why dinner dates are always a bad idea.
If I could sum up my philosophy of relationships in four words, those words would be as normal as possible.” What I mean is that in any romantic relationship that doesn’t involve a leather harness, a fur suit, or identity theft, I think a good goal is trying to achieve normalcy. Ideally, you want to get to a point where you’re dating someone who enjoys your benefits and finds your drawbacks – if not adorable – tolerable enough that oral sex is still on the table. Admittedly, the fantasy at the beginning of a relationship has a dumb gorgeousness to it – the moments when you think this girl could save my life” even though it’s not entirely clear whether your life needs saving, or how one would do such a thing, or whether cleavage indicates salvation ability. But eventually you’ve got to transition out of that. Hopefully you do it gracefully so you still like one another and may handle the inevitable moment when, at some time later on, you clog your lover’s toilet.
So, to me, for the reason that spirit, the perfect date is a thing that includes both a smidgen of fantasy and a dose of reality. It’s an evening where you can party with Cinderella, but you’re still getting together with her once the golden carriage turns back to a pumpkin. You’re slightly more engaging and better-dressed than usual, but it isn’t some crazy display. It is also not just a dinner date.
The initial problem with a dinner date is that it is not dosage-adjustable. It’s always at least two fcking hours long. This is a serious, serious difficulty. Let’s compare that to what I think is the ideal date – drinks at a wine bar. This is a great date because it can be as brief or as long as need be. If things are getting real handsy after one glass of Australian cat pee wine, then you can just get right the fck out of there. On the other hand, if you’re having one of those painfully adorable four-hour-long why have I never met this person” conversations, that can be entertained. But dinner dates? You’re staying for the whole show, even if it sucks. You can’t very well leave before the steaks arrive.
The second problem with a dinner date is gastrointestinal. Let’s say you get laid out of a dinner date. Congratulations – you have fulfilled your evolutionary purpose. But, let’s face it, gentlemen, nobody is that good at sex when they’re filled with soppressatta. Let’s just hope that, after a dinner of gherkins and pate, you don’t get acid reflux into the mouth of a beautiful intern. Best case scenario, you perform reasonably well but she remembers the smell of your meat sweats. Let’s hope she likes meat sweats.
I speak from a truly mortifying experience with a bodacious Jewish management consultant with whom I went to the kind of place where they serve cabbage foam and organic cocktails. Sex started promisingly enough in the kitchen, but we were so wine-and-food-drunk that she couldn’t remember my name, and I couldn’t figure out where her bed was. She said fuck me, Jeffrey” – who’s Jeffrey, I wondered – and I tackled her onto the floor. The second date didn’t exist.
But the main problem with a dinner date is that it’s such a solemn occasion. It’s the exact opposite of what I espoused earlier on. Occasions bring out tendencies in people that are only occasional – it’s like how when you’re at a funeral it feels weird to talk about Game of Thrones. No matter how cool and casual a person you are, when you’re locked in a cocoon of luxury with a romantic prospect, the pretentious, silly elements of you are likely to threaten your composure. Everybody knows that we’re our most charming when we’re getting together with our buddies in probably the most mundane circumstances possible, or when we’re post-coitally disarmed. So, you need to shoot for disarmament. Dinner dates are an arms race. They put everyone on guard.
As far as I could tell, the primary argument for a dinner date is that it is a display of status. This might be considered a valid point, except that women aren’t stupid, stupid. Any sufficiently interesting woman will proceed through her life with men brandishing themselves at her out of every direction, all wanting to display their worth. Regardless of how nonchalantly you invite your date to a Michelin-starred steakhouse, she’ll see through that shit – she’ll recognize that you’re saying look at me, I’ve money.” A lot of dudes have money, and it’ll be extremely obvious should you choose, whether you’re ostentatious about any of it. So relax.
I’m not saying that it is impossible to truly have a good dinner date. That it’s very, very hard. If you insist upon taking your date to a fancy restaurant, then at the very least try to pretend you are not there. Similar to you may diminish your concern with presenting and public speaking by imagining your audience is within their underwear, make an effort to pretend you are having hot dogs and beer. Be that version of yourself. That is the best one, because that’s your natural habitat. It’s where you thrive.

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