From financial and aesthetic points of view, what is appropriate to order during a dinner date?
Jeremiah Tower, author of “Table Manners: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother,” says:
Best be very clear upfront.
If a blind or first date, if he or she can’t face a brief and honest discussion about expenses and what level is comfortable for you both, then clearly this date can be the last. Try saying, “I would love to have the lobster, but since we are sharing, I won’t unless you are having it too, or its equal.”
Avoid the hamburger or club sandwich, because there is no way they can be eaten gracefully, either as a man or woman. You don’t want to be shooting mayo on anyone’s lap. Ditto splashy leaf salads with vinaigrette flying everywhere. Avoid soup that is not in a cup.
Same for any food that will make you feel as if you have swallowed a cannonball and make you fall asleep at the table. Too greasy (big steak) or spicy (hot Tex-Mex) will have your stomach noisier than the conversation.
But you can’t run into trouble with a nice piece of fish fillet in a calm and delicious light sauce.
Lesley-Anne Scorgie, author of “The Modern Couple’s Money Guide,” says:
Here are the guiding principals that I recommend:
Both people should be prepared to pay the bill.
Don’t take advantage of the other person if he or she offered to pay (for example, don’t purposefully order a bottle of $200 wine).
Order what you would normally. The idea is that you don’t change your behavior because you’re on a date.
If you want something more expensive, order it. Just be prepared to cover your portion of the bill. I also don’t think you should ask if the other person is paying, because it could come off rude.
If your date decides to treat you, don’t forget to say, “Thanks, I’d love to take you out next time.”
Dating is also an opportunity to observe how the other person orders. You’ll learn whether this person has expensive taste, literally, or healthful eating habits.