Hey, ladies! Raise your hand if you’ve ever been here before: Sitting in a restaurant on a first date, staring dreamily across the table at the mate of your dreams, opening the menu to see which dish will fill your tum-tum — but oh no, what should you order?? The possibilities are paralyzing. Luckily, a new cafe by Bumble — the dating app that lets women make the first move in heterosexual matches — is aiming to take out that guesswork by offering dishes specifically designed not to embarrass people on first dates. That means “no spaghetti,” no burgers, no wings, nothing that could risk cracking the mutually agreed-upon sustained lie that is the first date. Thanks, Bumble!
But what if you are not one of the lucky 8.6 million people in New York who can rely on Bumble’s Soho cafe to make the tough menu decisions for them? Left to your own devices, always, inevitably, some fatal flaw in your dish selection reveals itself: too chewy, too messy, too loud, too destructive to the minty-fresh breath you’ve finally achieved after downing mouthwash like shots. The night out ends abruptly, your date disgusted by you and your [insert one of a hundred possible physical attributes here]. Alone in your Uber Pool home, you curse the circumstances that put you on this path to spinsterdom — and it all started with that goddamn first date food.
So what’s a gal to do when she sits down at the table and is faced with a menu of choices and her own crippling mortality? Lucky for you, queen, Eater.com is here to help, with this guide to the best foods for a woman to convince a dude of both her humanity and her suitability as a romantic partner:
First date: Bird food
According to the top result for the search query “what do birds eat,” birds eat “seeds, berries, fruit, insects, other birds, eggs, small mammals, fish, buds, larvae, aquatic invertebrates, acorns and other nuts, aquatic vegetation, grain, dead animals, garbage,” among other things. It’s also, conveniently, food that you can eat while appearing very dainty and small, like a bird, the kind of ingredients that children clumsily stick onto their DIY bird feeders: seeds, nuts, berries, the like. A farro salad studded with small bits of cheese and vegetables, for instance. (Oh hey!! The Bumble cafe serves that exact dish!!) The key is to be able to take very small nibbles so as not to shatter the illusion that you are as fragile as a baby chickadee hopping nimbly from branch to branch. Guys love that.
Second date: Pizza
Now that you’ve successfully cultivated the necessary “I’m baby” image to start out with, it’s time to let your date know you’re actually totally chill and not like other girls by enjoying some pizza, the food beloved by men for impressing women. But wait — oh, no, not like that. Oh god, that’s gross. Stop.
Third date: Pasta
Alright, on the last date you went a little overboard with all the pizza and the stretchy cheese and the red pepper flakes, so better tone it down with some classic Italian pasta. Say no to tomato-based sauce (it stains). Come to think of it, better say no to cream-based sauce, too. All sauces, really — just get a plate of plain, unseasoned pasta, you piece of human garbage.
Fourth date: Chinese
Things seem to be going well. Now that you’re pretty sure this guy isn’t an overt racist, test the waters with some “ethnic” food to show off your sense of worldly adventurousness (and to signal that you, too, are not racist). Pretend not to hear your date’s loud comments about MSG and migraines. Just smile through it, sweetie!!
Fifth date: Steak
Back to American for you two. It’s probably for the best. You still haven’t quite nailed the sexy nonchalance of a “just one of the guys” cool girl, so opt for the biggest steak on the menu this time around — that’ll fulfill his fantasy of finding a gal who can pound her meat like the best of them while still somehow having the body of a vegan yoga instructor.
Sixth date: Nothing
If the last dinner backfired because you ended up finishing more of your steak than your date did, thus humiliatingly emasculating him, this is a good opportunity to course correct. Insist you’re not hungry and sit motionless in your seat as you watch your date wipe food off his mouth with the back of his hand. Let the crushing weight of a society that still polices your consumption and your body pin you to your chair, calcifying your flesh into the gleaming marble of a beautiful, frozen statue.
Seventh date: Soup or popsicle
One thing you should always be aware of is how you sound eating any given dish. Thus far you’ve managed to avoid producing such disgusting human noises as chewing and swallowing, but seven dates in, you can afford to finally emit a peep. The sound of choice, naturally, should be slurping, due to its highly erotic nature. Exercise caution when aiming to produce a slurp, as it’s hard to predict exactly how testosterone-driven males will react to its sensual resonance. A popsicle, obviously, has an added visual bonus.
Eighth date: Seafood that you can really tear into
Crab, lobster, crawfish — whichever you go with, just make sure you really get in there and rip apart the creature with your hands and teeth. This sends a clear message: “If you mess with me, I take Krav Maga classes.”
Ninth date: All-you-can-eat buffet
The gloves are off. Incorporate all previous techniques in this free-for-all. You will be judged, and you will regret everything at the end of the night.
Tenth date: Break up with him
It’s probably not a good idea to keep going out with someone who makes you so nervous you have to follow arbitrary rules of food ordering etiquette to eat around him. Dump him and find someone who doesn’t mind if you eat spaghetti or wings on the first date.