As the peak of winter starts to erupt from your coffee cups with a distinct scent; mosquito bites turn into love bites, and you’re craving cinnamon: it’s cuffing season.

You came to New Paltz to study hard (and kiss a lot of people). But what happens if you find yourself on a first date with someone you're really just not that into? 

beer, coffee, tea
Sarah Yanofsky

In the 21st century, dating is the equivalent of a scavenger hunt. Not only am I personally digging into my date’s various social media accounts to find out the dirt like I’m a private investigator, I’m also uncovering local places that I haven’t experienced to death that will really wow my man. Or, if I think he’s going to be a dud but it’s too late to cancel, find a place that is tackier than a big-budget horror movie.

Although websites like eHarmony, Match, and AskMen suggest going above and beyond the typical “dinner and a movie” date, the intimacy of a sit down meal is an oldie but a goodie. You get face-to-face contact, a mouthful of conversation, and a chance to bond over the one thing humans all literally live by: food.

And, depending on what food you sit down to enjoy (or despise), that dinner date could blossom a blooming onion of a relationship. If you want a long-lasting relationship that isn’t going the way of fermented 100-year-old beans, here’s a general list of where not to take your date.

1) Fast Food Joints

Jessica Murphy

This may seem obvious, but it's also the more inexpensive, less pretentious option. Wanting to impress your date with your taste for the less fine things in life sounds appealing at first, but the fat and salt content of the food will leave you and your date feeling sluggish or provoke some upset stomachs.

Evolutionary research performed by scientist John Garcia indicates that humans have a conditioned taste aversion, meaning if I were to eat something that gave me stomach issues, I will more likely than not have a negative memory associated with the food, leaving me less likely to try it again, or keep in mind who served me the food in the first place. If you're the server, congratulations! That means no date number two.

2) A Restaurant You've Never Tried Before

fish, vegetable
Photo courtesy of

It’s intriguing at first: new flavors, unfamiliar dishes, and a submersion into possibly new cultures. However, if you and your date are trying something for the first time together, no matter how cute it seems, it can pop the lid on possible food allergies, or repeat the above scenario. The unveiling of unknown allergies isn’t sexy, and being adventurous isn’t worth the Epi-Pen shot.

Stick with the familiar at first, since studies by L. Debevec and B. Tivadar suggest that food which emphasizes the “homemade” cultural factor are more comforting and ease anxieties. Do you want an anxious date? Probably not, so stick with what you know. Or, try the unknown, and excitedly anticipate the "I'll call you, don't call me," conversation at the end of the date.

3) A Meal that You Can’t Make

Inviting your date over for a home-cooked meal is never a problem unless you have no idea what you’re making. In the midst of all the sexy places in New Paltz to take your date, if you’re taking them to your home it better be the best damn meal of their life. Or, at the very least, a meal they'll be telling their future grandchildren. Grandkids that aren't yours.

If you are going to cook, make sure it’s something either simple or something you’ve perfected. Chances are, if the dinner for date number one sucks, there won't be a date number two. And if you don't want a second date, make sure you pretend to burn things, for added pizzaz.