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The Over-Thinker’s Guide to First Date Food

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

So here’s the situation: You are Taylor Swift, and the hot, older guy in the leather jacket says he’ll pick you up at 6, and no subsequent questions are asked. He will somehow zoom up to your driveway, sitting at the wheel of a gleaming Stang…even though you never exchanged addresses. Nevertheless, your evening is about to be whimsically romantic. However, before you can “dance around your room til the night ends,” you’ve got to get through the first date–and part of this probably involves eating food. On a first date, participants are usually at their peak confidence level, but messy meal disasters can sometimes put a damper on one’s ego.

If we had a dating expert on Her Campus, she could provide a list of only the BEST foods to eat on first dates. Since instead I am writing this, I only have a list of what NOT to eat and a mere suggestion of a potentially better option based off personal experiences (that’s right, I’ve been asked out a time or two). 

*DISCLAIMER 1: Applies to first dates only. After that, it’s a free for all.

**DISCLAIMER 2: For all guys reading this, you are permitted to roll your eyes seven times. But after your series of incessant condescension, you must accept the fact that girls overthink absolutely everything.

10. Salad—Are you shocked? I bet this was your Number 1 safe food. Wrong. “Garden salad, dressing on the side” screams “I’M A HIGH MAINTENANCE ****”–a personality trait you might want to hold off on surprising him with until at least the third date. 

9. Barbequed Ribs—“Uhh, you’ve got a little sauce….everywhere….” The mahogany-colored goop smeared across your face , hands, and clothing will make it hard for him to discover your natural beauty–and, besides, it’s always awkward having to request that third cloth napkin at a nice restaurant.

8.  Garlic Fries—This one comes with a rule: You can order them if he does, too. Two negatives yield a positive, and your mutual dragon breath will desensitize your nostrils to the pungent odor that will indubitably surround your every action thereafter. If you alone long for this sports game staple, try to resist, or be sure to chug a half gallon of Listerine afterwards. Discreetly, of course.

7. Hot Wings—Similar explanation as the ribs, but these are more acceptable for a first date because they harbor a bit of excitement (you can order “nuclear” wings, oh boy!), and sometimes two people bond as they weep from the flames of a thousand suns burst upon their tongues.

6. Burrito—I don’t know about you, but I always seem to have cilantro in between each of my teeth after wolfing down a burrito—even when there’s no cilantro in it. These babies are also notorious for spilling everywhere. While guacamole stains may bring out your eyes, they could also lower your self-confidence, which we can’t have on Date #1.

5.Spaghetti—This is only a no-no if you don’t know how to eat it. I, personally, have been taught several times, yet still revert to my instinctual “hunch-over-my-plate” move. My inherent desire to rapidly shovel droopy clumps of gooey pasta in the general direction of my face always ends with the vast majority of the tomatoey pasta plastered to my chin. Word from the wise (not from me): Use a spoon, stay calm, and take only small amounts at a time.

4.Sushi—This can go either way, depending on the roll. Sushi can only neatly be eaten in a single bite. So, if you wind up with that Spider Volcano Eruption monstrosity in front of you, you WILL have a tempura-coated claw sticking out of your mouth at some point during the night.

3. Pizza—Very safe. You only run the risk of that cheese string that never seems to break continuing to stretch on forever and ever until the entire layer of cheese (along with whatever toppings you ordered) dangles from your mouth, as your slice of, what is now, only sauce goes limp in your hand.

2. Burger—You’re casual; you’ve got this. Hold it in your hand (or both hands, if you’re that type of girl) and take a bite. Chew, swallow, say something witty, repeat.

1. Chicken Sandwich—This is only a step ahead of the burger because it takes into account the hyper-attention girls pay to being “cute,” and eating a burger may not be considered “cute” in all minds. Chicken is a step down from beef–not as meaty, but still a respectable sandwich that shows you have come here both to eat AND get your flirt on. Now, that’s hot. 

Everyone knows that first impressions are completely irrelevant, but we stress about them anyway.  Relax–don’t let the consumption of your food distract you from making a potential connection with Mr. Shiny Mustang. That said, if you do end up with a variety of sauces all over your body, it could actually result in an even better night than a tidy, little chicken sandwich would have…if you catch my drift.


 University of California, Santa Barbara chapter of Her Campus