Q: You’re on a first date, and your date has food in their teeth. How do you bring this up without embarrassing yourself or them?

A: You could just try to ignore it, but sitting through a date with someone who has something in their teeth is insufferable. I totally advocate for honesty. It’s about how you tell your date.

Send the news in a light way, not in a way that reprimands, is angry or shaming. Keeping it light and truthful makes for a real connecting moment. Some people say to motion to your teeth and point to where the food is. If it helps, make a joke: “There, now we’ve had our first awkward moment.”

A more-serious approach is to say, “You may want to check the mirror. I know this is awkward, but I hope you’d do the same for me.”

If you don’t speak up about the things that are minor, you can’t be in a healthy relationship.

SANDY WEINER, dating and love coach


A: None of us likes discovering that we have something in our teeth — we feel unguarded and vulnerable. But it’s far better to find out sooner than later. You don’t want to look in the mirror at the end of an evening and have a sliver of arugula smiling back at you.

Tell your date as soon as you can and as discreetly as you can. It’s a sensitive topic, so you might as well acknowledge that. You could say, “I know this is delicate, but you have a little something in your teeth.” Once any initial embarrassment wears off, your date certainly will be grateful.

Now, the two of you have overcome a minor social tremor and come out on the other side with your dignity intact. You’ve gotten a bit closer, and the night can progress.

DAVID COGGINS, author of “Men and Manners: Essays, Advice and Considerations”