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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Dating Triumphs & Tragedies > Restaurant Dating

Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

Restaurant Dating Dos and Don'ts

I recently spoke with a waitress at a restaurant, and it occurred to me that she might have an interesting perspective on the dating world, since she sees many people on dates come into her restaurant.  When I asked her, she certainly had a response.  From how to treat customers dating to how to avoid them, she noted a lot of things that I thought I should share with you so that the next time you’re on a date a restaurant, remember…someone is watching.

The first thing that came to mind for Mindy, as we will call her, is to not go out on a dinner date when you are in a fight.  If you think it’s uncomfortable for you, think of how much worse it is for the waitress serving you.  “It was obvious this one couple had been in a fight, and maybe they were trying to reconcile over dinner but it didn’t seem to be working.  They were having a heavy discussion and I didn’t want to be rude and interrupt, but I had to do my job and take their order.  Though, part of me would have been relieved not to have gone over.”  I think the thing is there, if you’re having a little tiff, maybe resolve things before you go out for dinner.  It’ll make things easier on everyone.


Then there’s the opposite, the couple that is way too into each other.  Mindy describes this couple as the one who doesn’t sit across from each other at their meal, but instead, sits next to each other on the same side of the table.  She’s even had some couples who were at a table for two, pull their chair to the other side!  Talk about wanting to be close.  But being too close can make it uncomfortable for everyone—the waitress and the other patrons.  “I’ve had couples sitting next to each other who get a little too cozy.  They are wrapped up in each other’s arms while I’m trying to read them the specials.  I’ve had some couples that I can’t even talk to because they’re all over each other and making out.”  Save that for alone time, folks.  You’re out for dinner, so let that be the task.  It’s understandable that you want a nice night alone, but so does everyone else.  Smothering each other in kisses might ruin everyone else’s dinner.  It’s good that you like each other so much, but there are other ways to show your affection.  If you want to sit next to each other at dinner, that’s fine, but let’s leave it at that.

While I was talking to Mindy, another waiter came over, Bill, who had experiences as a waiter, drinker, and dater, and he had this to say, which he thought was very important.  “Don’t get too drunk on your date, especially a first one.  I’ve been on dates, and I’ve seen a lot of couples come into restaurants, where it seems like their main objective is to get drunk, and then the date just flops.  When you’re too drunk to even talk to your date, things aren’t gonna go too far.  A drink or two is fine, but don’t go overboard.” 

Bill had a good point.  If you’re on a date, and especially if it’s a first date, you don’t want to be so liquored up that you don’t remember everything that was said.  And you want to be able to communicate well with you date, whether it’s a first, third or seventh date.  You can still have fun, but you want to keep your memory in tact and leave a good impression.

If you’ve been dating for a while, Mindy had these words of wisdom, and she laughed as she said:  “Don’t propose with a lava cake with kids running past your table every five seconds.”  Apparently she witnessed a man who had his lady pretend it was her birthday.  She was confused, but went along with it.  It was a family restaurant, with a theme, and there were kids everywhere.  They brought the lava cake out and the ring was inside.  She did say yes, but as a waitress, Mindy says it was a hard thing to pull off.  On that note, the way a person proposes should be up to them, though, you might want to pick the right atmosphere.

People go on dates in restaurants all the time, and rarely think about the impression they leave on their waiters and waitresses, but now you know that they are taking notice, and the little things you do have an effect on them.  Whether you are upset with each other that night, or overly affectionate, it could make your waitress act differently toward you.  So just remember, no matter what is going on in your dating life, it may just carry over to the next person.  And don’t you want your meal on time?  Leave all your little quirks at home and enjoy your meal with the person you are with—both you and your waitress will appreciate it.


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

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