Check, please

Recently I went on a couple of dinner dates with ladies I was interested in. One I had met casually, the other was our first meeting. I got dressed, we met, and we ate and talked, or at least tried to. Getting to know someone can be nerve-wracking and even more so if you’re constantly wondering if you have something in your teeth, and trying to avoid talking with your mouth full. It’s hard to just relax. Both dates ended well, but both times I wished we had done something else.

At the risk of upsetting some chefs and servers I know, I have to say I have never been a fan of dinner dates for first meetings. I have food at home. Why go to some place to buy food you half eat, to barely hear yourself talk, surrounded by people you don’t know? I prefer meeting over coffee or a drink, having a conversation, and seeing if we click and want to move on to the next step, whatever that step is. The whole dinner ritual seems so clichĂ© to me. My guess is that it started in old courtship rituals that said a man looking to marry had to display his ability to provide sustenance for a bride and a family.

I should mention that I think cooking at home is a very intimate thing to share with a lover. Some of my favorite memories are of sharing a kitchen with a woman I am into and then us feeding each other in our own space. But those moments happened after we had known each other, and we didn’t get to know each other in crowded restaurants.

I’m part of the generation that embraced technology but wasn’t born immersed in it. And while I’ve been critical of it’s effect on face-to-face communication it has made it easier for connecting to happen. The last couple of relationships I was involved in started online. We met somewhere neutral, and things progressed. Getting dressed up to have a nice night out in a nice restaurant is a great way to spend an evening with your signifigant other, but I wouldn’t start a potential relationship with it. I just feel that there are more effective ways to get to know somebody. When it’s warm, Atlanta is an ideal city to have a drink somewhere chill, check out art galleries, or just walk in the park having a relaxed conversation.

While there are no set rules as to how people meet, I do think that a lot of dating rituals are outdated. If you want to hang out, just say so. If you want to get a drink, that’s ok. And If you want to hook up, you should be able to say so too. If you’re very fortunate, you can have all three and eat too.

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Author: Torraine Walker

I'm a writer based in Atlanta, GA.

10 thoughts on “Check, please”

  1. Although I see your point Mr. Walker, there is something to a dinner date. Dating is after all, an interview. I can fast forward or shorthand my interview of a potential suitor by watching how he shows up to a dinner date, in every way. Anyone can do and be casual, but can everyone bring their “A” game? Sure, I can meet a guy at Starbucks or a tiki bar for a beer, wearing a tank top and the South Florida staple; flip flops. But, I want to see if Mr. Man is a gentleman; if he’s on time, will he open my door, will he pull out my chair, will he be respectful to the wait staff (biggie), does he have table manners, will he dress appropriately for the environment, will he appreciate my effort in bringing my best self, damn it…will he put his elbows on the table???

    What will all this tell me? A lot! It will tell me what his rearing was like, if he respects my time and effort, how he treats other women, what a few of his values may be. And, is he a guy or is he a man?

    About two years ago I had made an online connection and and subsequent date to meet on a Sunday afternoon at a popular spot in Ft. Lauderdale. I prepred to put my best foot forward. I wore a low heeled sandal and a light colored spring sun dress. Hair, make-up, lights, camera, action! I was looking forward to a fun Sunday brunch. I sat at the bar and waited. Alas, he showed. In a t-shirt and shorts and…flip flops. He was guy not a man. The end. What I heard was that I was not worth his effort. He definitely was not worth mine. The end.

    In an era of advanved technology and easy hook ups, the finer talents of of social skills are being lost in favor of a coffee rendevousz. The fatality is manners and expectation of someone treating me, or us with respect. I want to know if my suitor can wear jeans AND/OR a tux. Because, an all around, well acclimated gentleman can do both. And I want and deserve that. So you can stick to flip flop coffee dates, I want to go out to dinner.

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