Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dinner dates and why they're awful

Dating. It's awful. There are few things in the world more emotionally and physically degrading than dating. And it starts from the very first date: "Can I take you out to dinner?"

Now, if you are a mature, emotionally-adjusted, self-secure person, this probably sounds fine, possibly even flattering and fun. But if you're me -- and by that I mean essentially Jerry Seinfeld, and by that I mean essentially a neurotic New York Jew -- the panic sets in immediately.

On the plus side, free meal. (I will pretty much always eat a free meal; the reason for this will become clear later on.) And if you are a mature, emotionally-adjusted, self-secure person, another plus side might also be the opportunity to get to know someone new and for something romantic-ish to potentially blossom. (If you're me this thought is wrought with at least a dozen-and-sometimes-two potential negatives; I gauge all of the things that I will find unrelentingly irritating about you -- and you, me -- that will inevitably lead to a rash of vicious fighting, misery, sadness, resentment and loathing ultimately resulting in the termination of the relationship, then I thank the sweet lord baby Jesus I'm single and decide it best to not bother in the first place. But I am not what you would call a mature, emotionally-adjusted, self-secure person.)

With dinner comes the act of eating. And let's just be real here: is there any more revolting way to better get to know someone with whom you may one day wish to have sexy time than watching them eat? Sharing meals is indeed a cherished social experience and I have no argument as to it being the ultimate way to exchange convivialities with friends, but on a date??? THINK of all the ways in which it can go wrong! Bad breath from overly-onioned dishes, remnants of your meal in your teeth or on your face (or if you're exceptionally graceless, on your clothes), foods that demand a certain amount of uncouthness to consume (tacos! ribs! pizza!)...the potential for improprieties is unbounded.

Okay, so maybe it's a casual pizza date, but what exactly is a polite sexy-time way to eat pizza? Fork and knife? LAME. And seriously, I'm a healthy bitch -- I can smash a whole pizza by myself in one sitting, but on a date??? Surely this is not acceptable or attractive behavior on a date. Or maybe you order a steak and it's a bit tough and the knife is a bit dull and you saw and saw and saw away at it to no avail ... if I'm with friends I will think nothing of picking up that hunk of beef bare-fisted and ripping away at it with my incisors like the FLESH-EATING CARNIVORE THAT I AM, but on a date???

Sure, there's the porno image of a woman scandalously tonguing a cherry or deep-throating a banana, but odds are pretty good neither one of those items is going to be on the menu at the restaurant you visit. Odds are you'll be facing down fish (stinky, and sometimes bony), or pasta (bloaty and the sauce more often than not disagreeable to sensitive digestive tracts), or steak (see above), or pizza (above), or tacos (above), or BBQ (above), or Indian/Thai (fire butt), or sushi (the most disgusting thing ever to watch another human consume as pieces tend to be too big for most mouths and are by a feat of Japanese engineering IMPOSSIBLE to cut smaller).

I know for myself what a sad, sorry, disgusting, vile, depraved and wretched thing it is to witness me eat. It looks as if I'm attempting to kill the animal all over again. Even when that animal is salad. I eat like I've never seen food before and am afraid I might never see it again. (Part of me is always afraid I might never see food again. Maybe this is a survival instinct?) My friends know and understand this about me and I think they just politely look away while I attack my food with all the purpose, vigor and finesse of a famished Barbarian. But on a date???

I can't be the only person who thinks this. I can't be the only person who breaks out into a cold sweat at the suggestion of dinner with unknown company. I simply cannot be the only person who feels like a captive prisoner in such situations. And so I share this with all of you: it's okay to not want to go on that dinner date. It's okay to just go to a movie -- movies are great! Two hours in the dark during which time the burden of conversation is lifted with built-in conversation content afterwards (at the bar, without food because by that time it's already late enough that the kitchen has closed) AND you get to determine right off the bat whether the person's tastes suck or not! Movies are awesome, just go see movies! But for the love of bacon, beer and cheese spare me the embarrassment of worrying over stinky breath and upset stomachs and messy foods and inelegant manners.

I should write a dating advice column.