February 13, 2020

Valentine’s Day: Foodies on First Dates

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As I approached adulthood (read: gap year) it seemed like I kept getting unsolicited dating advice from everyone I knew. My grandma would cut out articles about the do’s and don’ts of dating for me, the older men in my synagogue would tell me to marry a doctor, while their wives would pull them away and tell me to make sure the guy’s cute with a wink. Meanwhile, my high school friends would talk about the number of dates I should go on before being proposed to. Above all, I heard about rules related to what one should or shouldn’t order on a date. As Valentine’s Day approaches, I decided to pass on this ~very~ important information to my readers because if Valentine’s Day is about the people who you love, here’s a list of options to order at your romantic dinner.


I was told to never ever order a salad on a date. I never understood this one; they tend to be a cheaper option on the menu so you won’t feel bad about costing your date a fortune, and in the most superficial way, they represent your dedication to health and wellness. According to everyone who offered me dating advice, this is completely flawed logic because what if, god forbid, a piece of lettuce gets stuck in your teeth? Your entire night would be ruined if at the end of your night, you smile and your date notices a flash of spinach in your incisors. As Nick Jonas put it after his Grammys performance, “At least you all know I eat my greens.”



Now spaghetti is a faux pas on two counts: if you order it with marinara sauce, you run the risk of staining your date night outfit and secondly, no one looks sexy with little stringy noodles coming out of their mouth. My one and only gripe with this logic is Lady and the Tramp. Arguably the most romantic meal ever eaten on a date was spaghetti and meatballs in Lady and the Tramp. The shared piece of spaghetti, the way their eyes lock, and most importantly, the kiss at the end. Please go and order a plate of spaghetti and try your hardest to recreate 1955’s most magical gastronomical moment.


When I was little, my dad would tell me to stop “zouping my soup.” I guess he was just grooming me for when I started dating because you should NOT order soup. Slurping is definitely not a sexy sound. This “rule” is just stupid. Did any of these 1950’s housewives ever spend a winter in Ithaca? It’s COLD, and soup is a must to combat the chill that has permanently penetrated our bones. Order your soup, slurp it (because it obviously tastes better that way) and smile at your date because not even the sound of your slurping can ruin your night.



How many of you have tried eating a burger just to find the vegetables and condiments all over your lap? Just me? Obviously I can’t be the only one because it’s one of the foods on the “do not order” list. Burgers are messy, too big to fit in most normal-sized mouths cleanly, and tend to contain onions. No one looks their best with a small salad and ketchup smeared all over their clothing or with their mouth open as wide as possible just to cram a burger in. Also, bonus tip: onion and garlic are major no-nos because of the potential good night kiss. No one has ever said one of their fantasies includes making out with an onion. My advice: order your burger with extra onions if that’s the way you like it!


Do you want to seem like an animal on a first date? Prying chicken off of a bone just like our ancestors did when they were hunter-gatherers? Ugh. This is the 21st century and we’re civilized, refined young adults. On the other hand, studies show that a lot of our romantic relationships are based off our primal urges and subconscious. I don’t know what gets more primal than tearing meat off the bone.

You know what they say: rules are meant to be broken. Go enjoy your lovely, romantic Valentine’s Day dinner, and pay no mind to all the adults and articles trying to tell you what NOT to order on a date. If your significant other can’t accept you at your messiest, then they sure as heck don’t deserve you at your sexiest.

Sarah Austin is a freshman in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].