Below is what i wrote for Twentyfour7, Feb issue. Just thought it would be apt to post up pre V-day.
“Rainbow trout” sounded like something romantically delicious for the first dinner date. The truth is, the well-covered skinny, spiky bones hiding inside the tender flesh of the said fish were enough to make toothpick supply for the entire Antarctic nation.
I spent more than one hour de-boning the damn fish with my dainty fingers, trying to pick up itsy-bitsy bits of smashed meat before they fall off my fork again. I spent more time picking out tiny bones that got stuck between my molars than chewing on the fish. I hardly ate anything at all, except some cauliflower and lettuce at the side. In the end, I pushed away a plate of mess which looked like it has just been ditched by a toddler who’s done playing with, while staring monumentally embarrassed at my cute date who went out the first time with me.
It was a complete disaster. Let’s face it, no matter how gorgeously dressed you are, or how perfect your make-up-of-the-day is, you can’t come off as graceful or suave when you are picking your teeth half the time.
Three years later, I still cringe when I see the word “rainbow trout” on the menu. So, if you ever wondered why a massive crush of yours whom you invited out for a dinner hasn’t returned your call, it could be as simple as you’ve just ordered the wrong dish.
Apart from the notorious raw garlic and onion, I’ve compiled a list of what I believe is “forbidden to have on a first dinner date”.
It’s a lose-lose situation. Why? Because if you eat too little, you end up feeling guilty about not filling your tummy up with what’s worth the price. If you pig out until you feel your dress is almost ripping off, you end up feeling even guiltier with that extra 500 calories that will go around your hips. What’s worse, I’ve met someone at a buffet table who couldn’t even keep a decent conversation going for more than 5 minutes because the glutton kept excusing himself for more food to make up for what he was paying. No one will go out with such a kiasu freak the second time.
2. Spinach (or anything with it)
You never find out until you get home and look into the mirror. Behold! There’s a big chunk of spinach in every crevice of your perfect smile. Only then do you realize the true reason why you date couldn’t seem to take his eyes off you.
If you decide to eat in a Japanese Restaurant, order maki (sushi roll) instead of temaki (handroll). You see, eating a temaki, in fact, could be a very seducing action. But let me ask you this question: do you eat it from the bottom or from the top? Whichever way, it requires great decorum and grace, and unfortunately, only few people can pull it off effortlessly–cramming a giant California roll in their mouth and try to look cute while doing it. Sometimes they fall apart, tumbling gracelessly out of your mouth, more often than not into your lap. It is worse when the seaweed gets all limp and so difficult to tear off, that when you attempt to bite it off, you risk looking like a ferocious alligator that descends upon the prey and peck at it viciously, tearing and swinging its head from side to side. What a beastly act of eating! And your date might for a moment thinks that he’s watching Animal Planet.
You are in a two star Michelin restaurant and the only thing that you order is a salad? Why, why, why? “Oh no, after seven strands of alfalfa and a crouton, I couldn’t possibly fit a sesame seed into my tummy without looking like a whale”. Right. I don’t have a vendetta against salads, but some guys are just very skeptical towards girls who are obsessed with salad AND its dressing. They will think you’re an anorexic herbivore or something. To avoid that, it’s best to at least pretend to be a human, and order that steamed fish.
As much as the latter being one of the top aphrodisiacs on the chart, they are, however, not recommended on the first date. Slurping oysters straight off the half-shell might just freak your innocent date out (and make him/her wonder if you have any ulterior motive ordering that). Working one’s way through a lobster is nothing like peeling off a lollipop wrapper either. For those who have not had the luxury of lobster bisque, you pinch the heads off, peel the body out of its shell, and then suck all the mellow juices out. Not exactly a wonderful sight.
6.Pussy Foot (or any fancy cocktail with a suggestive name)
No. Uh-uh. Do not ever even mention it.
7. Xiao Long Bao (Chinese Soup Dumpling)
Requires as much skill eating it as a Dim Sum Master pefecting the art of the (in)famous dumplings. I once went to a Dim Sum place and witnessed an appalling incident, where a guy lifted a juicy piece of dumpling to his mouth, took a bite, and the broth inside the dumpling spurted out everywhere. His shirt, the tablecloth, the bowl, and his date’s shocked face.
This is the ultimate steam potonger. No amount of excuse like, “Oh, but I’m on a diet” or “I’ve just had a double cheeseburger deluxe, a pint of chocolate mint and a plate of mee goreng two hours ago” will save you from being utterly unattractive.
9. Your date’s food
I know sharing is caring but please, finish your own food before preying on mine. And if I like you enough to share my food with you, I WILL. You don’t scoop whatever you want onto your own plate like I’m a buffet table. That’s just plain rude. Also, please don’t ask, “Are you not going to finish your food?” while drooling profusely over that chicken skin I peeled off.
10. XL sized burgers
Last but not on the list, don’t wear overpowering perfume. Your date doesn’t want her aglio olio pasta smelling like Polo Sport.
Thank you everyone. Free to add your forbidden food on first date to the list and have a happy, lucky, and mess-free Valentine’s dinner.