Picture this: You have a date with someone you’re excited about. But, it is early days. You are not yet acquainted with their snoring habits, their siblings’ names, or how they take their coffee.
This is where I recently found myself, venturing forth to connect with a relative stranger in the least awkward way possible…
Yes, gentle readers, I am dating. That is a thing that’s happening. Since
joining Tinder entering the dating landscape, I have learned many things. Chief among them: Before you can think about donning sweatpants in tandem, you have to trudge through a whole lot of awkward.
First dates are riddled with questions. What do you wear? What do you say? Will your date react negatively to your new purse? Last but not least, there is a question that divides the masses: Which do you prefer — dinner or drinks?
“When I was dating, I always preferred dinner dates,” Joanna told me. “I liked knowing how long it was going to take. Plus, at dinner, you can talk about the menu, talk about the waiter, there’s a natural rhythm. A restaurant is just nice.”
To which I say, no.
In these casual times in which we live, I ALWAYS prefer drinks. Let’s not break bread until I know that I like you.
Dinner is awkward — anything that involves chewing in the proximity of an unfamiliar human is probably best avoided. (Especially if it’s sushi, where the inevitable question of “Can I fit this whole crazy crab roll in my mouth?” leads to prolonged chomping and staring.) Also, you know that horribly awkward moment when your server comes to the table and presents you with the list of specials? And you think to yourself, “Totally an actor. Swordfish is not that exciting,” then proceed to immediately forget everything he just said? These things do not happen when you meet for a drink.
It could also be that my best dates have, invariably, been drink dates. I like knowing that the person I’m with can shoot the breeze in a totally unstructured environment. In my experience, the easier the flow, the better the whole relationship is going to fare. I don’t want to be distracted by the proper use of silverware. I want to get lost in conversation, wondering which is putting me more at ease: my drink, or my date.
My favorite date of all time — indeed, the very date I alluded to earlier, which happened last week — transpired at a gross dive bar not far from my apartment. The unpretentious surroundings and slow, meandering vibe led to a relaxed experience. No one interrupted to ask how everything was going or if we’d like to see the dessert menu. In the glow of a decrepit jukebox, we did, in fact, talk all night.
On our next date, we’ll be going to dinner.
Daters of the world, what say you? Do you vote dinner or drinks?
(Illustration by Alessandra Olanow for Cup of Jo.)