Monday, August 25, 2008

Doing the restaurant thing

Going out to eat is one of the most common first date activities. But it doesn’t have to be routine. To make your date a notch above ordinary, put a spin on the restaurant theme:
  • Go to a coffeehouse. Unless you’re meeting at a Starbucks and ordering two grande skim lattes and roasted pepper and goat cheese sandwiches (which is about the same price as the national debt), compared to a traditional restaurant, this is a pretty cheap date. It’s the ’90s version of a singles bar: relaxed, casual, and no time pressure.
  • Go to an interesting restaurant. Food is good. Good food is even better. Good, unusual food is the best and often less pricey than the usual, boring steak or fried chicken. It doesn’t have to be the culinary experience of your life, but fun and interesting food (maybe ethnic, but easy on the spices) on a first date is a cool idea. I’m partial to weekend lunch and brunch dates, myself. It’s relaxed, liquor’s not required, there’s plenty of time to get to know each other, and it’s in the daytime.
Food can be incredibly sexy and fun, as Hollywood readily attests: Rent the videos Like Water for Chocolate, Babette’s Feast, Big Night, or even 91⁄2 Weeks.
There are some way cool ways to enhance the enjoyment of a restaurant date. First, for any restaurant you consider, think about the following:
  • Noise level: You got together so that you can get to know each other. It makes sense to be able to hear what your date has to say and talk without seriously harming your vocal chords.
  • Price: Go to a place you can afford. You can’t enjoy yourself if you worry about your date ordering an appetizer and a dessert.
  • Service: You want the service to be attentive, without hovering. And who wants to be rushed out the door?
  • Spaciousness: Adequate space is an animal need. That’s why we all feel a little uneasy in a packed elevator or an overcrowded restaurant.
  • Lighting: You don’t want it too dark or too light. Too dark and he can’t see the great job you did on your makeup, or she won’t notice that your tie matches your eyes; too light, and no matter what you did, you’ll still end up looking like a delivery to the morgue.

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