So you’ve finally snagged a date with him/her/they and it’s probably your one chance to shine and not get blocked on all the socials of your object of affection (or lust, we’re not here to judge). Will you emerge out of the restaurant head held high in anticipation of a good walk of shame the next morning, or are you slinking off to your place solo? We’re here to give Cupid a helping hand with 5 steps to scoring success.
1. Research is the name of the game
You made the first move, which means that choosing the restaurant lands in your lap. Which can be great if you do your homework, but which can also end up being a deal-breaker if you mess up. Start with the obvious – does your date have any specific food requirement? Taking a vegan to a steak-house may not be your best bet. But don’t assume anything, and do check in advance whether your chosen restaurant offers the sort of food your date is partial too, whether this is gluten-free, keto, vegetarian or whatever. No-one said scoring is easy.
So, you’ve checked up on the food angle and your date has assured you they will eat anything with ketchup on it. You’re in the clear, right? Wrong. Take a good look at the place you’ve chosen. Is it known to attract families with screaming kids? Maybe not your best option for a first date. Is it relatively intimate, or do you run the risk of bumping into half of your acquaintances? Again, not necessarily a good thing when your efforts should be focused on scoring.
Get it wrong, and you can wave after-hours at their place goodbye, along with your dignity.
2. Hit up Bookia & lock in a reservation
Even if your restaurant of choice is not typically over-busy, never leave it to chance. For starters, restaurant capacity in COVID-19 times is severely limited, so securing a table is essential. This is advice that should be followed irrespectively of new regulations, however. I mean, do you really want to be stuck foraging in some godforsaken part of Sliema at 9PM on a Saturday night while your date gets hangrier and hangrier, just because you didn’t think ahead? Way to impress.
If you’re familiar with your chosen restaurant and you know that a particular area is prettier, or more romantic than others, don’t shy away from requesting it. Most restaurant owners will get a kick out of giving Cupid a helping hand and will be happy to keep a special table for you.
”Nothing kills the mood faster than having an arse for a dining companionRamona Depares
3. Make sure your manners are on point
This should really not need to be said, in any scenario, but I’ve been in enough nightmare situations to know better. Nothing kills the mood faster than having an arse for dining companion. I once had half a dinner with someone who insisted on bitching loudly about the waiter who was assigned to our table, simply because the poor sod had spilt a little bit of wine while opening the bottle. I don’t think I lasted half the dinner actually, because hell if there ever was a certainty that our food was going to show up with unrequested ‘extras’, this was it.
Seriously, though, be nice to people. Whether the food is a bit late, or the waiter doesn’t show up with a menu as soon as your butt is on the chair, or maybe the meat is not prepared exactly to order… be nice. This is not the time to show off what you learnt in those assertiveness Ted Talks, it’s the time to show that you’re a decent human being.
4. Keep the hangry in you well-leashed
You’re not here to enjoy a gourmet journey, but to score. So remember that and don’t order half the menu. Nothing kills the appetite as fast as a full stomach, if you catch my drift. Enjoy your food, by all means, but avoid the mega-buffet scenario. Too much food (and booze) will only dull your conversation and leave you fit for a snooze without the snuggle.
Whether there’s a second date or not, do you really want to be remembered as the one that ate all the food? Thought not. Keep it light and tasty, and don’t order that second bottle of wine. After all, you want your date to be in top form too.
5. Avoid doing the ‘who’s paying’ dance
So, dinner went swimmingly and you’re ready to move from gazing into each other’s eyes to gazing… elsewhere. Awkward moment: who gets the bill? If you did the inviting and you chose the restaurant, you are the one who gets the bill. Simple. It’s only polite, and no we don’t care what gender you identify as. You still have to pay up. Anything else, and you will come across as extremely ungracious.
Top tip – if your date accepts this without even doing the obligatory reaching for their credit card, or without following it up with a ‘my treat next time’ – or even worse, disappears to the bathroom as soon as the bill shows up – don’t bother with a second date.