I used to be a big fan of eating out in restaurants for any occasion, with family, friends or on a date, and enjoy the experience.
However, as I slowly blossom into a real grown-up with limited patience for social etiquette that gets in the way of my happiness, I recently got tired of the rules. The rules of eating out.
If you are a guy, what you order on a date can really make or break this outing. For instance, if you order white wine, that really sends a message. If you order bottled beer, that’s also a strong message. If you order a salad with your white wine, you might as well order her another guy too.
The same applies with going out with your other male friends. You still can’t order white wine with salad, and potentially a dessert, unless you’re very secure in your masculinity.
But what if you really want white wine and a salad, and a pink raspberry panna cotta? Well, the only place you can really have that is at home. So might as well eat there.
If you’re a girl, you also can’t order freely on a date. If you had a busy day and you finally want to relax with a beer, you’ll come over as ‘too butch’. For the same reason, you can’t order a steak. Apparently, you also can’t order a pizza and eat all of it. After finishing mine, I was once told “Wow, I’ve never seen a girl eat a whole pizza before!!” and needless to say, that made me feel like a freak.
If you’re out with other girls, you need to pretend that you’re fine with tapas, with sharing ridiculously small amounts of overpriced food, because we lie to each other and judge each other harshly if we eat normal quantities.
So you go home and eat properly after dinner.
Regardless of your gender, there are many general taboos.
For instance, nachos are not considered proper food.
If you order garlic bread, people automatically think you ordered it to share it with them, even if you didn’t. If you order fries, you have to offer them some, and nobody stops at one fry.
If everyone orders a burger and you order the salmon steak, that’ll make you look too fancy. If everyone orders the salmon steak and you order the burger, it’ll make you look cheap and like you don’t have any idea what a healthy diet looks like.
If you’ve finished your alcoholic beverage faster than everyone else, you don’t get to order a new one until everyone else is ready, otherwise you’ll be considered an alcoholic. If nobody else wants a second round, you can’t show your disappointment but instead go home and drink alone, in the kitchen.
If everyone finishes their drink before you, they pressure you into drinking more quickly, and if you don’t want a second round, they’ll openly shout their disappointment at you.
As a result, I only choose to go out with those friends who know my dislike for small portions and sharing. On dates, I don’t try to be the salad-eating princess; if you can’t handle a woman with real appetite, you must not call me again. And in all other instances, I excuse myself from the social gathering and rather sit at home, eating and drinking whatever I want, at whatever speed I want.