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Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

Animal Stylings

“Animal style,” he told me. “That’s the way to do it.”

I was a little taken aback, I’ll admit, but clearly, he knew more than I did. After all, I was fairly new to the ins and outs of In-N-Out Burger. We didn’t have those back East. And I had only been there once. I didn’t know there was a whole secret menu.

But was I willing to go “animal style” just to impress a guy?

Yes I was. Messy burger, here I come.



Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time I did something just for some guy. There was the time in college when I let “Snuggles,” the aspiring-Barber, cut my long locks. Or when I gave some guy tickets to a show that I really wanted to go to... but I liked him, and I thought he wanted go more. Well when he didn’t take me, I realized I didn’t care if he wanted to go more, they were my damn tickets. Why do guys make us do stupid things? And of course I’ve attended various un-fun events that I pretended were oh-so-fun just to spend some quality time with that special someone who turned out to be…not so special. Talk about wasted time. I could’ve been spending it at In-N-Out Burger trying to pick up real men.

Which brings me back to the situation at hand…

My hot date at In-N-Out Burger. I’ll admit, not the classiest joint, but probably the most fun I have had in a long time. And okay, perhaps not technically a real date. Just an outing... but actually... okay, I won’t skip ahead.

So I meet him at the burger joint, and he prepares, excitedly... cutely and excitedly... to teach me the ins and outs of In-N-Out Burger.

I’ll admit it, I’m down with a good burger and fries. But I’m your basic burger kind of girl. This Animal Style thing was starting to scare me.

Apparently, Animal Style isn’t so scary. It’s cooked with mustard, and then has pickles, some spready stuff, and then onions. Mustard’s not really my thing though.

“You’ll try it, and you’ll like it,” he informs me.

I whined a little... because I do that sometimes... and asked what my other options were. He told me if I was gonna be a baby, I could get the “Grilled Cheese,” which has no meat—just cheese, tomato, lettuce and spread…all on the comforts of a bun.

“Can I get it without lettuce?” I asked him.

He ordered two “Animal Style” burgers. That settled it, I was going to have to be tough. “I am tough”, I thought, while I contemplated the low-carb, no-bun option of the lettuce-wrapped “Protein Style” burger.

The very gentlemanly lad paid for my animalistic meal and we sat down into our cozy booth. He handed me my burger, and it looked fairly safe. I hesitated and he watched avidly.

“You first,” he said.

“I can’t do it if you’re just staring at me,” I told him. “I’m very self-conscious about these things. If I dribble, that’ll be the end of it.”

He smirked. “The end of what?”

I panicked. Can’t show interested too soon. I’m such a girl!

Think quick: “My In-N-Out Burger experiences. I’ll never be able to face this place again.”

He nodded and delved into his burger, clearly satisfied with my not-so-clever response. I took a quick bite. He took a quick look. I’ve never chewed so fast in my life. He waited for an answer.

“You know,” I told him. “For all the ritzy restaurants in LA, I’m thinking... ’Animal Style’ is really where it’s at.”

He was very pleased with my satisfaction over the not-completely-nauseating Burger, and I was very pleased that I gave the Burger, and him, a chance. Because I should mention that Mr. Animal Style is not the typical guy that I would go for. In fact, he’s a bit like Animal from the Muppets. Just kidding…well, not really. Okay, I am. But in truth, I wasn’t looking to start dating anyone, in fact, I think I had completely given up. But he just came along, and we started talking burgers, and then there we were, and it was so easy and comfortable. And for the first time, I wasn’t worried about being paranoid over whether I’d have mustard on my face and what he would think if I did…because I did…

He handed me a napkin… “Are you always this messy?” he laughed.

I nodded. “I should have warned you,” I told him. “Going out to eat with me is like being with a five year old.”

“Five year olds are cool,” he said. “Maybe this weekend, I’ll take you to a nicer restaurant…one that has menus for kids to color.”

Then he smiled and picked at his fries, and I knew that our next meeting would be a legit date, not just a lesson in burger ordering, and I was okay with that. More than okay.

Maybe Animal Style isn’t so scary. Maybe I’ll order my guys that way too.

Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at

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