First Date Foods: Six Things You Should NEVER Eat

A first date in person is a great way to get to know someone better. But if dining out is part of your first date plan, be careful which restaurant, and even which meal, you choose. Some foods lend themselves quite well to first dates (or any dates, for that matter), while others set you up for a less-than-pleasant experience.

First, a few GOOD choices for first date food. You might try:

Swiss or not, fondue is a sexy choice.

Swiss or not, fondue is a sexy choice.

Fondue – yes, it has the potential to be messy, but in a fun way. There’s something intimate about a shared pot of hot cheese. And feeding each other is a flirty way to get closer.

Picnic – Sandwiches and fruit under a tree in the park are no muss, no fuss. They travel well, don’t make much mess and give you the portability to enjoy the great outdoors. Cap it off with some cookies!

Appetizers + Dessert – Light fare, finger foods and other small plates provide a lot of variety without the heaviness or mess of larger meals. Then split a slice of cheesecake or chocolate temptation.

Now on to the things you should definitely NOT eat on a first date:

  1. Large amounts of onion or garlic. These two pungent flavors are delicious, but they stay with you for a loooong time after, no matter how many breath mints you eat. Garlic is so strong that, if you put cloves of it between your toes, you can actually TASTE it after a while. Skip the garlic sauces, onion rings and other potentially-powerful flavors.
  2. Ribs and other BBQ with sauce. This is a mess waiting to happen, both for your face and your clothes. And no one finds another person attractive when they’re wearing a protective bib. Try to avoid food that makes you look like a caveman to eat.
  3. Corn on the cob. Tasty as it is, it’s a mess to eat, and you’ll probably still be finding corn hairs and kernels in your teeth hours later. Unless you carry floss with you at all times (and don’t mind using it all night), avoid this side dish.
  4. Super-spicy or fermented foods. Not only are these flavors so strong as to overpower everyday mints (see garlic, above), but they aren’t for everyone. If your date has a more bland palate or simply doesn’t like excessive spice or flavors like kimchi, you’ll be an instant turn-off if you eat those things. Save the exotic options for a later date.
  5. Whole crab, lobster, peel-and-eat shrimp or other crustaceans/shellfish. Most of these have to be eaten, at least in part, with the fingers, and that’s not fun to watch. It’s messy, usually involves bib-wearing (see BBQ, above), and in the end, you’re ripping up a dead carcass for your meal. Sure, it tastes awesome, but the visual is hard to get past. Perhaps on a later date, when you’re more comfortable with each other, you can split a bucket of shrimp and a few beers and laugh about the mess you’re making. But not on the first date!
  6. The most expensive thing on the menu. On the first date, you may be looking to seem like you’ve got it going on. Ordering the top entrée can give the appearance of wealth and/or taste. But seriously, don’t do it unless you REALLY love whatever it is. Your date will be less impressed by the gesture than you think. Instead, give the meal options some thought, perhaps talk about how you’re torn between two (reasonable) choices, and select something that you genuinely like. You won’t have fun on this date if you’re choking down something you don’t enjoy eating!

20 Things You Should Never, Ever Say on a First Date

And now for some slightly lighter fare.

For most people, the do’s and don’ts of first date conversation can vary quite a bit. Some people say never to talk about politics or religion, while others insist that those topics are vital in getting to know if someone is a good match. Talking about exes is generally a no-no, while discussing music is usually safe. Some things, however, fall firmly in the do-not-say category. In the spirit of humor (and just a touch of uncomfortable realism), here’s a list of twenty of those particular no-go comments that should get you kicked to the curb in no time flat:

  • Do you have a photo of your mom? I want to see whether you’re going to age well.
  • What are your feelings on roleplaying as badgers?
  • Mind if I take a quick blood sample?
  • I think Hitler was somewhat misunderstood.
  • You can’t be a REAL gamer unless you play [insert obscure game here].
  • I’m a better driver when I’m drinking.
  • What does your hair smell like?
  • This tie is made of real baby seal pelt!
  • I’m not a crazy cat person. It takes at least 10 cats for that, and I only have 8.
  • I’m pretty sure the moon landing was a hoax.
  • Come on, don’t you read the science? Vaccines cause autism!
  • Want to hear about my kidney stone experience?
  • If climate change were real, it would never be snowing out.
  • You should meet my parents! And look, they’re right over at that table!
  • Well, I’m currently married, but it’s just a green card marriage so it doesn’t count.
  • Does this rag smell like chloroform to you?
  • You sure you want to order that? It has a lot of calories, and you probably don’t need them…
  • I like that shirt on you! It’s a lot better than the one you wore last night when you were sleeping.
  • Sorry to rush you, but I have another date after this one.
  • I’m gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free, egg-free and sugar-free. Also I’m allergic to water, but I take a pill for that.

What do flowers actually mean? 7 flower meanings to help you date

Before bringing a bouquet of these, make sure you know what you're "saying."

Before bringing a bouquet of these, make sure you know what you’re “saying.”

The tradition of giving someone flowers to show them you like them is one that stretches back centuries. But one aspect of that tradition has fallen to the wayside in recent decades: what the flowers actually mean. As it turns out, flowers speak a “language” of sorts, and the types of flowers you give someone stand for various messages that you want to send.

So how can you decide which flowers to give your date? The first option is the most obvious and skips the flower language altogether: choose a flower that you know they like. If your date’s favorite flower is lavender, it doesn’t really matter that it means “distrust” in flower language. All that matters is that they like it, and they probably don’t care what it means. If you have the chance to give a favorite flower, go that route first as it’s the easiest and should be a win no matter what.

If you don’t know their favorite flower, florist shops and flower markets are a wealth of opportunity. To help you build a bouquet that truly “speaks” for you, the experts at Teleflora have provided a list of flower meanings. Try a few of these if you want to make an impression, but remember: not all flowers go together well, not all are fragrant, and not all last long in a vase. Consult with your florist to get the best expert help in creating an arrangement that is memorable AND meaningful.

On with the flower meanings:

Sunflower: These large, bright blooms once cultivated for their seeds and oil stand for the sun because of their big sunny faces and they way they the turn to follow the light. In a bouquet, they mean warmth, adoration and happiness.

Tulip: These tend to “pop up” in the spring, and while each color of tulip has its own personal meaning, the general meaning of a tulip is grace and elegance.

Rose: This one is pretty obvious, but like the tulip, each color means a different message. Roses in general stand for love, but also confidentiality. Red roses are love and passion, yellow are joy and friendship, orange are desire and enthusiasm, white are innocence, purple are enchantment, and pink are admiration and gratitude.

Daffodil: This is another spring bloomer that signals the end of spring and the start of prosperity. Daffodils in a bouquet stand for happiness, but be careful to give more than one flower at a time. A single daffodil traditionally means misfortune is coming.

Lily: Lilies have been around, and meaningful, since ancient times. They usually mean innocence (especially white lilies), and they are very common at funerals, suggesting that the person who has passed is innocent again in the afterlife. Like other flower varieties, Lilies mean different things when the colors change: pink stargazers mean wealth, white stargazers are sympathy, and Peruvian lilies mean devotion and friendship.

Gladiolus: This is a big, bold flower with sword-like leaves and long stalks of blooms. It’s a powerful statement in any bouquet. Gladiolus means strength, integrity, and the idea of the recipient piercing the giver’s heart with passion.

Carnation: This is another bloom with a long, long history, and also a choice of meanings that vary by color. White means pure love, but dark red means deep love. Purple should be avoided (it suggests your date is flighty or erratic), but pink is the more significant (though not date-friendly, probably) color of carnation, as it means a mother’s undying love.

Now you can build a flower arrangement for your date that speaks a language all its own!

 

 

Five First Date Ideas That Could Help You Get a Second Date

So you made a connection with someone online. You both swiped right, or you caught their eye with a witty profile or great pic. Now that you’re planning a first-date meet-up, where do you go?

If you want to stay together as long as this couple, the first date is an important start.

If you want to stay together as long as this couple, the first date is an important start.

First, do NOT go to the movies, unless that’s something you both really, really want to do. A movie is a terrible place to get to know a new person. You sit in the dark, in silence, for 2+ hours, not looking at each other or communicating much at all. Movies are a great “I’m already comfortable with you” venue, but not so much a “still getting to know you” venue.

Also, do not do anything involving either of your families. No one wants to be hit with “Hey, I know we’re just meeting in person for the first time, but my family reunion is this weekend, and I’m sure Grandma would love to meet you at the same time that I do!” Families are a lot of pressure and a lot of distraction, and they can also make you seem a tad clingy (or nuts) if you already want to bring your parents/grandparents/extended great-uncles into the mix. Keep it just the two of you for at least the first few outings.

One last don’t: Don’t go somewhere competitive if you’re a super-competitive person. If you tend to get angry when you lose at mini-golf, do not take a new date mini-golfing. Same goes for batting cages, go-karts and anything else with a competitive element. These things are all fun with someone that you know well, someone who knows not to take your pouting too seriously if you lose, but for a new person, competition can be a recipe for disaster unless you’re sure you can take the high ground and lose with dignity.

So where SHOULD you go? A lot depends on your personality, your budget and your local options, but here are a few ideas that we’ve put together in case you’re struggling for a creative date that won’t break the bank or exhaust your date.

  1. Hit up an aquarium. Giant fish tanks are soothing and beautiful, and you can still carry on a conversation with someone else while you enjoy them. While some people have an aversion to zoos (seeing animals in captivity can be unnerving), aquariums are almost universally enjoyed by those who like to stroll around, take in the scenery and maybe learn a thing or two. The lighting is low, which is flattering for everyone. Plus there are bonus points in it for being outside the realm of “normal” (read: boring) dates.
  2. Take dance lessons. I don’t mean dragging your date out dancing to a place where you know what you’re doing and he/she doesn’t. I mean find a local spot that does free or cheap lessons and go learn something new together. Where I live, there’s a little speakeasy bar that does free swing dance lessons on Sunday nights, and it’s a great place for new couples to go stumble and laugh through the unfamiliar steps together. If you have a sense of humor about yourself and don’t mind a little exercise, an outing like this could be perfect. It shows you’re adventurous, willing to try new things, and willing to not take it too seriously if you mess up.
  3. Take a cooking class. In the same vein as #2 above, this gives you a chance to both try something new together, and in this case, you get to eat, too. Local community colleges and rec centers often offer these classes for a reasonable price. You can learn to cook pasta properly, hard-boil a perfect egg, bake a loaf of delicious bread, or create something decadent in chocolate, all while getting to know your date better. Be warned, though: you should check to see if your partner has any food allergies or aversions before committing to this idea.
  4. Enjoy the outdoors, at your pace. Being outside can make most anyone feel good, and depending on the time of year and local climate, there are many great ways to enjoy an outdoor first date. For those who want to take it slow, a picnic or scenic stroll fit the bill. For the more athletic, go for a run or kayak a local waterway. Snow on the ground? Build a snowman together, followed by hot cocoa! Sun beating down? Ice cream at the beach can be a cool choice. Talk it out with your date beforehand and see what they’re up for, and then pick one or two outdoor activities that will give you a chance to get to know one another better.
  5. Go out to eat, progressive-meal style. My parents like to do something they call the “progressive dinner.” They eat appetizers at one place, then move to another place for dinner, and finally a third locale for dessert. This is fun for a lot of reasons: you get to try more than one spot on a single date, you get to mix up the cuisine a bit, and you get different ambiance with each place you go. Perhaps one place has a bluegrass band in the corner, while another is white tablecloths and candlelight. Go from venue to venue for each course you eat, and by the end of the night, you’ve had a culinary adventure with a new partner-in-crime.

Wherever you go on a first date, be sure to include your date’s input in the planning, unless they insist on being surprised. The more on board both of you are with the plans, the better they’ll go. Have fun!

From Winks to Drinks: Four Tips for the First Date

You’ve met someone online that you seem to really click with. You’ve exchanged messages, shared personal details, and expressed an interest in meeting IRL (in real life). Sometimes, this is the biggest hurdle to online dating: taking the relationship from cyberspace to personal space. Here are a few tips to help you make that leap as smoothly as possible.

1. Don’t wait too long to set up an in-person date. Some people email, text and chat for days, even weeks, before they try to venture into a real-life setting, and by then, the pressure is really on. Instead, if you’ve exchanged a few messages and you seem to be a good fit, set up the date now. Waiting doesn’t help anything except to make the other person think maybe you’re not all that interested after all.

2. Pick the right venue. You need to meet somewhere in public for the first time, so you can both be comfortable. Don’t pick someplace trashy or low-brow, like a parking lot or a fast food joint. By the same token, don’t go over the top with a fancy schmancy dinner. Instead, try a trendy bar for drinks, or a fun bistro for lunch. Places like this keep it a bit casual without being TOO casual, and they allow for talking in relative privacy so you can get to know each other better.

A cozy bar is a nice spot for a first date... just watch those drinks.

A cozy bar is a nice spot for a first date… just watch those drinks.

3. Safety first. Women hear this a lot, but it matters to men, too. When meeting someone from the internet for a date, you have to consider your personal safety above all. Meet in person, have a charged cell phone on you, know where the exits are, and NEVER leave your drink alone. Both men and women have been the victims of date-rape drugs and other awful situations, so even if you think you know this person really well already and you can totally trust them, err on the side of caution. It’s worth it.

4. End on a good note. If you like the other person and want to see them again, suggest another meetup before the first one is even over. Something like, “Hey, if you’re free this weekend, I know a great club a few blocks from here.” Then follow up within a day to confirm the plans. If you DON’T like the other person, be straightforward about it. You can say something like, “I’m really glad I had the chance to meet you in person. I’m sorry that I just don’t feel the chemistry that I hoped I would, but I hope you do find the right person!” They might get upset, but at least you didn’t leave them hanging.

If you’re just not sure whether you want to see them again, suggest that you touch base via text or email again soon. You can say something like, “This was fun, I’m glad we could get together. Let’s text later and see how we both feel about doing this again sometime.” Then definitely text the other person within a day or two so they know you weren’t just blowing them off.