Thoughts on Dinner Dates

by Loris Zuchetti

When going on a date with someone for the first time, it is always a good idea to start light and casual. You want to get to know each other, have fun and be safe. Amidst all the possible public places, the first thing that often comes to mind is to meet for dinner at a restaurant. Safe? Check. Have fun and get to know each other? Not so much. Why?

First, dinner puts a lot of pressure on your conversational skills, since there is no major external source of entertainment. Why make it more difficult for yourself? Also, dinner is a clichéd date. You’ve both been on several dinner dates with other people. If you’re a man, right away you are conveying that you are “conventional,” and “just another guy.” It won’t kill you, but it definitely doesn’t help you.

Thirdly, at dinner you’re often sitting across a table from each other. That table is both a physical and an emotional barrier. I’m not suggesting you should physically escalate in public. I’m saying that proximity is key to set a romantic frame with the other person. Give Cupid some room to shoot his arrows.

Lastly, not all first dates are with Mr. or Mrs. Right. I’m sure you’ve been on an awkward first date before, haven’t you? You were probably thinking of a lame excuse to bail – “My cat is not feeling well” and the like. If you’re sitting at a dinner table, it is harder and pretty awkward to get up and leave than if you’re just having a drink at a bar.

But if dinner dates are so detrimental to your love life, where else should you go? Allow me to suggest some alternatives.

1. Go somewhere you can have a laugh. In my opinion, comedy shows are an excellent choice. Laughter is aphrodisiac, contagious and rejuvenating.

2. Try something cultural. I would also recommend live music shows, museums, galleries, and the beach whenever possible. These, rather than mere locations, are actual activities that you’re doing together and allow you both to quickly assess if there’s chemistry and potential for a relationship.

3. Go for a friendly drink. If you’re not the outdoorsy or the adventurous type, I’d suggest happy hour. Sit next to each other at a counter, where verbal communication is easy, the context is light and casual, and yes, the bill is generally cheaper than a full dinner.

You can’t go wrong with a well thought out date along the lines of the above. If you’re unsure about how you feel, save the high pressure dinner dates for later down the road, when you know your partner better and you both have something to celebrate.

About the author: Loris is the Country Manager for Zoosk Italy. He enjoys working out and going to live shows. 

Photo via Flickr. Creative Commons License, Attribution ShareAlike.