Dating etiquette: Can I just order a burger or…?

bad-dateFrom the moment of conception I was pestering my mother for some kind of chocolate-covered snack from within the womb, so it’s not much of a surprise that I’ve grown into a woman who really does love her food. In my day-to-day life, this causes no problem; in my dating life, it makes things a little complicated, for one very simple reason: I hate eating in front of the person that I’m dating.

I know, I’m a freak.

It’s odd, it’s insecure and it’s a quirk that I just can’t shake myself out of but surely, someone, somewhere out there, must know what I’m battling against here?

Much as people say they like you to be yourself on a date, if myself is that girl who rather than using a knife and fork to eat her over-priced ciabatta bread just picks it up and takes a good old bite out of it, isn’t that a little off-putting for the poor sod that’s paying for me to brutally attack this meal?

To my relief, this topic was brought up recently by none other than my own sister (probably shouldn’t much of a surprise, really) who remarked that, although it isn’t necessarily something she does when her and her partner go out for dinner – they’ve been together for nearly ten years, I think any allusions they had about the etiquette of the other have well and truly been extinguished by now – she does feel conscious of it when she’s in other company, such as work colleagues and general acquaintances, which, I’ll admit, made me feel a little better about the whole situation.

Now I know it might seem a little stretch of the imagination to tie these two ideas together but, if you can’t be yourself around someone when you’re eating, what else are you holding back from them for fear of their judgement?

I can only imagine how I’m making myself sound by putting so much emphasis on this point; you lot must be imagining that dinner time with me is the equivalent of sitting next to a pig with their head buried in a feeding trough but honestly, I eat like a normal person. The reasons I’m so self-conscious are beyond my understanding and even though I don’t know the route cause of them, I do know that they’ve always been there. Is it a worthwhile fear? Probably not. Although it does throw some light on very interesting, if slightly odd, questions about dating etiquette these days, if there is indeed any etiquette left. To my amusement, should I order what I fancy or should I just go with a glass of water and a salad? seems to still be one of these amazing eat-dating-related questions! In answer to that question, go with you want; always, always order what you want because then, failing a kiss goodnight and the promise of a second date, at least you’re going home with a content stomach even if you have a less than content heart (that may well be some of the best advice I ever give you – sorry!).

Having found someone that I am completely comfortable stuffing my face in front of, I can make these ridiculous statements with the belief that there may some truth in this; especially after having had a three year-ish relationship with someone in which time we shared one, maybe two meals. I suppose the optimistic part of me thinks that if you find someone who doesn’t mind sitting opposite you while you gorge on an all-you-can-eat style buffet, then surely they must be a keeper?