By Aoife Lawless
So the big night is coming up. Saturday night! Date night! This week, it’s the mother of all date nights; it’s Valentine’s Day! Most coupled men will shudder at this knowledge and instantly go into mental overdrive trying to remember what gift it is that their other half has not so subtly been hinting about for the past few months. If in doubt, chocolates and flowers will do: women will forgive a bit of clichéd romance on Valentine’s day.
For the date itself it’s important to choose the right restaurant to suit your date. It is also vitally important to choose the right food from the menu. If you wish to retain your dignity and keep yourself from committing an embarrassing food faux pas read on. For first dates, stay away from anything that is tricky to eat gracefully. So guys of the world, don’t bring your girl out for wings or ribs or really anything eaten with your hands. Your date will not relish the image of her finery doused in hot sauce nor will she enjoy the image of your face, handsome though it may be, smothered in barbeque sauce with half masticated meat clinging to your teeth. NO, NO, NO!
Another thing to avoid is any shellfish that needs to be de-shelled, de-clawed or in any way detached from its body by force. Nothing ruins a romantic moment like a dismembered prawn skull slapping your date across the face as she purrs sweet nothings at you.
Snails fall into this category also; who wants to repeat that Pretty Women scene where Julia Roberts almost takes out a fellow diner trying to coax the ‘slippery little sucker’ from its shell.
Some pasta varieties should be given a wide berth too. As much as you might enjoy to fantasise that you and your other half will wind up sucking on the same spaghetti strand, Lady and the Tramp style, ending in a spontaneous humour-filled kiss, chances are, that ain’t happening. In reality you will probably be scooping fettuccine off your lap while you desperately wipe the creamy sauce from your lips and simultaneously check your teeth for stray herbs. For the latter, a knife will always make a handy mirror for a quick teeth check.
So when it comes to pasta, keep it short, penne, tortellini or ravioli are all your friend on an Italian style first date. However, if you’re a daring dater, disregard all you’ve read here. Go for lobster with a side of tagliatelle; crawfish with rock hard shells which will spray innards in every direction once popped; slurp that spaghetti to your hearts content. Let’s just hope that smile of yours will still be winning with spinach speckled teeth.