Has anyone ever looked at you and said, “Um, you’ve got something on your face…No, not there, to the right… Never mind”? Sometimes no matter how hard you try to pick out that morsel between your teeth or mop up the side of your face, the stubborn food residue just won’t come off. When these instances occur with your good friends or family, it is no big deal. But on a date? I would want to jump under my covers and never come out.

So, instead of turning purple with embarrassment and living life from beneath your duvet, just follow these simple do’s and don’ts and eat worry-free.

1. DON’T Order Sushi


Photo by Rebecca Block

Sometimes people are shocked by this one, but hear me out. Even if you are a master of chopsticks and manage not to drop your spicy tuna roll to drown in soy sauce, you still have to face a major dilemma, “Should I take one bite or two?” Here are your alternatives:

Option 1, One Bite: Eating your sushi whole will leave your cheeks stuffed and you unable to talk for at least a solid minute. Unless your partner is attracted to the silent, puffy type, don’t do this.

Option 2, Two Bites: Directly after your first bite, your once compact roll will inevitably fall apart and out of your mouth, leaving you to awkwardly catch it in your hand. If it falls on your plate, you will have to pick up the dismembered pieces one by one, and will end up picking up little bits of rice like a small animal.

2. DO Order Steak


Photo by Daniel Schuleman

One time at a restaurant, a waiter looked at me and asked, “And for the lady? Maybe a salad to start and the fish for your main?” Let’s just say, I did not like that. Whether you are a guy or girl, you have to order food that you like, and if you like steak, go for it.

Steak is a great choice because it is super easy to cut into bite-sized pieces and it won’t leave you secretly hungry later on. Usually there are a few different varieties to choose from, so pick the size/kind that you like best. If they only offer giant steaks the size of a human child, split it with your date.

3. DON’T Order Leafy Salads


Photo by Elizabeth Layman

I don’t care how dainty or health conscious you want to appear. If you have to continuously force a giant piece of lettuce into your mouth, making it bend and fold into the side of your cheek, you won’t look graceful.

You might however, get slapped in the face by a lengthy piece of Romaine and end up with salad dressing on your face (and your date will probably be too polite to say anything). Instead, try a beet salad, grilled vegetable platter, or a Greek salad in order to avoid sheet-like, wilted greens.

4. DO Order Chicken


Photo by Mackenzie Barth

Whether it’s grilled or already in pieces, chicken is also extremely easy to cut up and fit into your mouth with little to no fuss. There are also tons of varieties at any restaurant, no matter what the cuisine is (such as chicken paillard, chicken teriyaki or chicken curry). Just don’t order wings or a leg (self-explanatory).

5. DON’T Order Sandwiches or Burgers


Photo by Lawrence Yu

It is extremely difficult to keep the contents of a large sandwich or burger inside said sandwich or burger throughout the biting process. We’ve all had that devastating moment when we take a huge bite into a tall, Italian hero or burrito, only to see half of the ingredients flop miserably out of the sides (refer to food disaster number 7  here).

If you have to open your mouth so widely to the point where your date can see your wisdom teeth coming in, it’s probably not a good look. And definitely avoid this new burrito-sushi hybrid.

6. DO Order Short Pastas


Photo by Daniel Schuleman

Now, nobody is telling you to go all Lady and the Tramp and order spaghetti, but if you stick to the short pastas, you can still order the Italian staple without fearing the never ending fork-twirling maneuver or the subtle sauce remnant on your upper lip.

Things like penne, rigatoni, conchiglie (seashell-shaped), and orchiette (ear-shaped) are extremely easy to pick up and eat. Ravioli and tortellini are also great options, as their fillings are usually packed so densely that they wont fall apart when you slice them into pieces.

7. DON’T Order Anything Too Spicy


Photo by Eunice Choi

You will get sweaty. On your nose, above your lip, behind your knees. You will want to wipe your face. You will incessantly drink water. You will have to pee, many times. Don’t do it. You don’t want an Along Came Polly moment.

8. DO Order Risotto


Photo by Instagram user Oblako2000

Risotto is thick enough that you won’t find leftover granules of rice while running your fingers through your hair. It’s definitely dense and extremely filling, but technically it is served before the main course in Italy, so call it an appetizer and you won’t feel too guilty.

9. Be Careful With Pizza


Photo by Emily Waples

If you and your date are keeping it low-key and going to get a slice somewhere, just be sure the pizza cools down enough so that when you take a bite, you won’t be trying to pull the cheese free from your mouth for minutes on end. You’ll look like a clown tugging out one of those never-ending scarves from his mouth… But with cheese. If using a fork and knife is too lame to even consider, try the folding method to help keep the cheese in place.

10. DON’T Order Chocolate Covered Strawberries


Photo by Sristi Pradhan

I’m sorry, I know on dates it’s a total classic/total cliché to eat chocolate covered strawberries, but when you bite into the fruity disaster, you will end up with seeds cozily nuzzled into each and every crevice of your teeth and your gums. Not sexy.

11. DO Order Literally Anything Else

Cake, sorbet, a fruit tart, a crumble—anything you can eat with a fork or spoon, not your central incisors. The bottom line is, stick to easy to cut proteins and avoid anything that will fall, flop, stick in your teeth, or make you sweat. Now that that’s over, focus on what really matters—the person you are with.

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