Foie Gras, caviar, and truffles can make you feel privileged and decadent. But an expensive dinner in a fancy restaurant can also be a little awkward when you’re just getting to know someone. Also, yours and his eating habits and preferences will be put clearly on display. Your date doesn’t like Cuban food? Are you a vegetarian? Are either of you allergic to shellfish? In the grand scheme of things, none of this is actually a big deal. But when put on display on a first date, they can be misinterpreted for being picky or high maintenance.
Scenario; you’re finally cinching the belt around the fourth outfit you’ve tried on that evening when your doorbell rings. You’re thinking, “Okay, he didn’t beep his horn for me to come out. So far, so good!” You slip on your new heels and can’t help but think about how magical this night is going to be. Your date opens the car door for you and then tells you he’s taking you to “Fancy Towne”, the nicest joint on this side of the city for your first date. You smile, and clandestinely type the restaurant’s name into your phone, hoping to sneak a peek at the restaurant’s dinner menu before getting there. That’s when you realize, it’s a steak house. The problem? You’re a vegetarian. You rack your brain trying to remember sending him the e-mail message explaining your eating preferences, but quickly realize the e-mail never sent! Great, now for the rest of the night he’s going to think of you as Salad Girl, because that’s the only thing on the menu you’re going to be able to order. This right here, is reason number one you should not go to an upscale restaurant on a first date.
Reason number 2- Added pressure to keep your manners in check.
Which one was the salad fork again? It’s nerve wracking enough to go on a first date with someone you hardly know without the stress of having to act like a debutante. It’s not just you, he’s also in the spot-light. Did he pull out your chair? Help you with your coat? All of these things are awkward with a near stranger. A first date should be fun and let the real you shine through, not your Holly Golightly impersonation. And did you just hear his teeth scrape across that entrée fork, or are you imagining things?
Reason number 3- Sometimes, there are just way too many courses.
Pricey, fancy restaurants sometimes go the 4 or 5 course route when serving dinner. Although they’re tasty, you don’t always feel in the mood for that cheese plate after your lobster.
Reason number 4- Dress code.
Did the hostess mistake your date’s loafers for sneakers and give you two a dirty look on the way in? If this had happened on a third or fourth date, you’d easily roll your eyes and make a joke about her prissy ways. However, on a first date, it can be a little embarrassing. Also, it goes back to wanting to just be yourself. You shouldn’t have to put on your Sunday best the first time you’re getting together with someone.
Reason number 5- Quiet conversation.
You have to be reserved and speak quietly in these restaurants, so a loud laugh is out of the question. Which stinks! Where’s the fun in a date if you can’t have a good, flowing conversation with a guy you like?
My advice? Go with a brunch date instead, or a dinner at a low-key restaurant for a first date. Wear what you want, and don’t act like you’re someone you’re not.
Jill Knapp-Zitron is a native New Yorker who recently moved to the south. She is the author of the Chase series. A regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Knapp-Zitron writes about entertainment, dating and relationships, and the differences between city and suburban lifestyles. A former psychology professor, she received a Masters in Psychology from the New School For Social Research in Manhattan. She is also the administrator of ChickLitBooks.com.
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