What We Should Eat on a Date – Free Ebook

Restaurants have traditionally enjoyed a crucial
and privileged place in the history of dating,

providing us with enough privacy to get to
know one another and enough public scrutiny

to help us feel safe as we do so. The food and drink has largely been an excuse. But what we decide

to eat and drink together isn’t merely incidental
to the real task of mutual understanding.

It too is rich in psychological clues, communicating
messages about who we are and what we might

be like over a lifetime. How we order can
in a minor key belong to the task of winning

someone else over to our cause. Let’s think
of a number of ways of ordering food and drink

that suggest intriguing and complex things
about our identities: What we might order:

A large mixed salad, accompanied by a plate
of fries on the side; we could eat the fries

with our fingers and occasionally dip them
in the vinaigrette.

What we’d be communicating: That we’re

pretty sensible, in many ways, with a keen
eye for restraint and a decent amount of self-control.

But, at the same time, that we aren’t afraid
of our own more impish desires. We’d be

hinting that we were a sound blend of the
mischievous and the prudent; that we had enough

self-mastery and obedience to have earned
the right for occasional moments of unorthodox

indulgence. What we might order: Fish fingers
off the children’s menu. What we’d be

communicating: Through our order, we’d be
implying that we could recognise, without

anxiety, the claim of the more childish parts
of our personalities, but that we were sufficiently

grown up to be undisturbed by their presence.
The order might work best if we combined it

with an obviously sophisticated starter or
desert. No one can be free of the legacy of

their early past, we’d be saying through
our food, what matters is the maturity with

which we can acknowledge and navigate around
it. What we might order: Almost nothing. What

we’d be communicating: After putting in
our bare order, we might allow ourselves to

say with beguiling frankness that we were
simply too nervous to eat. This would be importantly

different from – and much more attractive
than – merely ordering a normal amount,

then pushing it idly around our plate. We’d
be showing that we were upfront in revealing

that the date meant a lot to us, and that
there was in our eyes nothing shameful about

being anxious in relation to an event that
might turn out to be hugely significant. Our

inability to countenance any desert whatsoever
(not even a few berries) would be a flattering

way of sending out a message that we were
in the company of someone with a power to

alter our lives. What we might order: Cranberry
juice What we’d be communicating: The deep

red drink would be a symbol of independence;
we’d be making a rather unconventional order

through it, this not being what people typically
ask for in a restaurant. But it wouldn’t

be willful or crazy either. We’d just be
quietly asserting that we didn’t mind appearing

a little odd for the sake of getting something
we genuinely liked. We’d be, via the glass,

saying that we were our own sort of people.

What we might order: the chicken, but – we’d
add with a large smile and a hugely polite

and patient explanation – ideally without
the ginger and garlic and with the sauce on

the side in a little jug, if that was even
vaguely acceptable to the guys in the kitchen,

who we really hope wouldn’t be put out by
this sort of (in our words) ‘unbearably

fussy’ request. What we’d be communicating:
That we knew our tastes were complicated and

off the beaten track but that we had the self-belief
and requisite charm to lay out our desires

calmly and without undue or grating petulance.
Everyone in relationships turns out in time

to harbour a host of very particular requirements:
no one, however casual they might appear at

first, is ever really ‘easy’ in the long-term.
So what matters hugely is if we have learnt

the art of communicating our needs clearly,
with grace, without entitlement or wilfulness,

with the wit and will of the best teacher
– an accomplishment there can be perfect

opportunities to display in our approach to
the ordering of the main course.

Something we hadn’t ever ordered, but
that was sitting on our date’s plate and

that looked especially appealing – and that
we’d very sweetly ask if we could have a

bit of. What we’d be communicating: that
we were ready to step over conventional barriers

in the name of friendship; that we understood
there were certain standard obstacles to intimacy

but that we were interested in finding a few
playful ways of getting past them – possibly

later that night.

In the end the success of a date will not hang entirely on what’s eaten or drunk.

But nor should we ignore how much could be communicated through such details

therefore how legitimate it always is to reflect at depth on more apparently minor sides of love.

To learn more about love try our set of cards that help answer that essential question, “who should i be with?”

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