(Originally published on GQ.com)
Eating: it’s weird, it’s messy, and rumor has it, it makes even Gwyneth Paltrow poop. While most of us know eating to be an activity reserved for Game of Thrones weddings and Japanese game shows, it’s rumored that some people are doing it every single day—even on dates. But should you?
If you’re the throw caution to the wind type, you may have already tried the risky endeavor of eating on a date. The thought process here is good; you want the object of your affection to know where your mouth is and to confirm to them that you possess teeth in the double-digits. Some studies suggest men shovel even more food into their mouths during a date (to impress!), which confirms experts’ long-held theory that meat sweat is the modern Spanish fly.
As for the food itself? Obviously, some are better than others. Proceed with caution.
Certain varieties of the slimier, sandier, more bottom-feeding shellfish are allegedly aphrodisiacs, but no mentally sound person has ever had the wherewithal to endure the knife play and slurping it would take to find out. This doesn’t mean that your plan of gorging on butter-soaked sea monsters in front of a potential sexmate should be abandoned entirely, however! Foods like lobster, crab, and the shrimp you get in restaurants that pretend to be European have both faces and exoskeletons, making them ideal comestibles for dates on which you are eager to assert your power. (If you’re doing it right, that should be all of them.) To achieve a similar result as a vegetarian, you will have to murder the farmer who grew your turnips and various chards, or whatever you people eat. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.
Verdict: Hard yes.
People who eat salad on dates tend to make others uncomfortable, as though every bite of spinach is an admission that they’d rather be snugly tucked into their grave than alive breathing the same air as you. (Don’t let this deter you from eating things that will help you live past 40, though.) With the exception of the potential for ending up with a green smile if you happen to have especially wide-spaced or loose teeth, salad is a relatively safe bet on a date; you eat it with a fork, so it leaves you a free hand to show off your shadow puppetry. Definitely say no to blue cheese, though—aside from the fact that it’s literally mold swimming in mayonnaise, if your date wants to see what you look like at the end of a bukakke sesh, they can pay extra for that. You’re worth it!
Verdict: Go for it!
Here are the kinds of pasta you’ll find on your average menu: big sauce puddle, small sauce puddle, the kind with the stuff in the center that’s going to squirt out when you cut into it, cavatappi, the kind you have to twirl around a fork until the table looks like a crime scene, tagliatelle, and potato lumps. Here are the kinds of sauces: red un-dry cleanable, green un-dry cleanable, and clam-scented un-dry cleanable. Ordering pasta on a date is the best way to tell your date, “I’d love to make out, but not until I’ve ruined everything we’re both wearing.”
Anything you can eat one-handed is a good bet for a date. Hamburgers, if they’re not wrapped in gold leaf and prepared for the goddamn king, should not require a knife and fork Sure, there are condiments to consider. If you feel the need to drench your hamburger in ketchup and barbecue sauce on a date, odds are you’re no more than six or seven, in which case you should try to alert your waiter that you need the police to help you find your parents.
Verdict: Only the hand-held kind.
If I want my date to be reminded of things they’ve eaten off better-looking people, I’ll just serve a jar of body chocolate on a picture of that bitch, Alexis.
Verdict: Hard pass.
It’s cheap, you can get it everywhere, and unless you’re some kind of idiot, it’s virtually impossible to eat pizza wrong, making it the hands-down best choice for date food. Pizza also happens to serve as a litmus test for dates. If you’re like, “Hey, want to go grab some pizza?” and your date agrees, great; now you get to go eat pizza. If your date’s like, “Nah, pizza’s not really my thing,” you get the exciting experience of ripping off their mask and dramatically screaming, “Who sent you? WHO SENT YOU?” into their lizard face. Win-win!
Verdict: Yes. Always.