Dinner dates seem like such a good idea: get to know each other in a nonthreatening public place while relaxing over beverages and food. Unfortunately, as the Chowhound thread “Weird/Bad Food Related Dates” shows, they’re a minefield of subtle humiliations and egregious cluelessness.

1. Your date micromanages your meal. “This guy kept picking the restaurants and would not let me have any input,” says NicoleFriedman. Tehama tells of a bad date with a man she calls Third, who tried to force an order of white Zin on her. “Me: Sorry! I will have a Makers Mark + ginger ale please. Third: That is very heavy; she will have something lighter. Me: No! Bring me the Makers Mark. As quickly as possible, please. Third: look of haughty disdain.”

2. Your ideas of proper dinner date food are wildly mismatched. “I guess my weirdest and most disappointing food date was in misinterpreting what a set-up date said about ‘being particular about his food,’ when he invited me to dinner,” says mamachef. “I thought that meant he had an educated palate, had some food/wine knowledge, that there was some discernment there. Oy assumptions. Imagine my chagrin when we ended up at Applebee’s. His feelings about the place? That they were very very clean, and very very charming, what with all the sporty logo stuff interspersed with fake Tiffany lamps. And that the food was awfully good and had been frozen, so the chances of food poisoning, or lack of cleanliness when prepping, were just nil. In his opinion.” LeoLioness had a date with a man who couldn’t stop praising his Cheesecake Factory dish: “He used the phrase ‘to die for’ which is bad enough, but about a chicken pasta dish from the Cheesecake Factory? Really?”

3. What you order turns your date off. “I ordered baby octopus. I don’t remember what he got, but for sure, it was not baby octopus,” says travelmad478. “After I saw the expression on his face as he watched me stuffing whole baby octopi into my mouth (you can’t cut a baby octopus with chopsticks!), I pretty much figured there wouldn’t be a second date. Bingo! I think he would probably list this experience as one of HIS weirdest/worst food-related dates, too.”

4. Your date demands that you order a low-priced special. “I had a guy take me to Friendly’s for dinner as a first date and ‘suggested’ that I order some deal where a sundae was included in the price of the meal. There wasn’t a second date,” says cleobeach.

5. The menu is in a language spoken by your date but not you, and your date won’t translate for you. INDIANRIVERFL had just such a bad date. “The waiter brought an amuse bouche and the menu. She refuses to translate. He goes through a pantomine of the specials. The fish was easy, but it was him hopping like a rabbit that cinched my decision. She just wanted the bread on the table and water. I got her Evian. Then she pulled a beautiful crystal bowl in front of her and told the waiter she didn’t need a plate, that was sufficient. At this point, he has obviously figured out the dynamics between us, gives me a gallic shrug, and she ate her bread out of the ash tray for the rest of the meal.”

6. Your date asks for weird accompaniments. “I took her to my favorite French bistro. Bad idea,” says BobB. “She was flummoxed by the menu, and finally ordered steak au poivre (probably because she recognized the word steak), and when it came asked the waiter for ketchup. That’s when I knew it was hopeless.”

7. Order gaffes made unironically. “I had a date with a guy who ordered his sushi with no kimosabi,” says eLizard. “I was looking for the Lone Ranger.”

8. Inappropriate cheapness. canadianbeaver went out with a man who “took me out the day before my birthday, and made a big deal at the restaurant that it was my birthday, had them sing me happy birthday, and bring out a piece of cake—and when the bill came, he didn’t even gesture to pay or go for the bill, instead I paid (including the cake!).”

9. Rigid standards about what one will or will not eat. “I was on a first date set up by one of my cousins and the guy announced that he wouldn’t eat ANY type of fruit and then told me that that meant that I would not be ‘allowed’ to make any sort of fruit pie for him,” says Jasz.

Image source: Mariyana Misaleva/Shutterstock

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