No matter if it’s a first date, your 20th wedding anniversary or a first date with your “new wife” after 20 long years in Holy [shit] Matrimony, inevitably guys are gonna spend lots of time and money on dinner dates. Tastier than the “movie date,” and with a much better chance of getting laid than a “lunch date,” The Dinner Date is the quintessential (and prerequisite) stepping stone outing that all men must stomach.
The concept is great: unlimited food, easy access to booze, a menu with a maze on it. Good times. But, no matter how good the food is, how free the refills are, how many celebrities are sitting nearby, women have a way of tainting an otherwise perfect meal with these less than appetizing habits. See how many of these look familiar to you.
1. The Splitter
WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU WANT TO “SPLIT THE SALAD?!?!” It’s a salad, not a 72oz Rib-eye. The Splitter doesn’t just want to share normal things like appetizers and desserts. She’ll ask to split soup, cappuccinos, and would probably rip her napkin in half too if she had the upper body strength. The Splitter isn’t looking to save you a buck, but rather trying to create some emotional closeness through your half crab cake and her half artichoke. Of course all splitting ends when the check comes, but since I’m only half full, I’ll have no problem reaching my wallet. Call me a “pessimist,” but The Splitter is half empty inside.
2. The Mover
The Mover is the nomad of the dinner scene. There is always a reason why the table you are seated at isn’t the table she “should” be at. Too close to the door, too far from the fountain, upstairs, downstairs, outside, inside, too loud, too dark, too cold… The Mover is never happy with her first option. Even worse, she’ll ask us to take care of it. Now, I’m Mr. High Maintenance, explaining to the cute hostess why I “would prefer something with a southwest facing view, that’s not inside, or outside because I get chilly.” I’m not really sure if The Mover is ever happy, or if they just like seeing the army of busboys look at me like I just backed over their famalia in the parking lot of a Home Depot as they reset the table that we were at for less than 60 seconds.
3. The Pusher
“Looks good, but I’m allergic to shellfish.”
“Try it anyway, you’ll love it.”
The Pusher is so excited about whatever they are eating, they want you to love it as much as they do…even if you really hate it. I’ll applaud their enthusiasm, but I know how a menu works. If I wanted the Vegetarian Goulash, I would have ordered it. The Pusher doesn’t take “no” easily, and your best bet is to just open up and take it…don’t worry, you’ll trade rolls later.
4. The Asker
The Asker has questions, and lots of them. “Where is the fish from?” “How big is it?” “Did it have any siblings?” While you are sitting there listening to your stomach eat away at itself, The Asker is only on round 12 of her onslaught of questions about everything from the specials (“Is that made to order?”), to the menu (“What is the most popular roll?”) to the history of the neighborhood (“Didn’t this place used to be a pet shop?”). By the time she is done, you will know more about the restaurant than the owner, and your waiter will know enough to steer clear of your table for the rest of the night.
5. The Slider
No mini-burgers here. The Slider didn’t really go to dinner with you to eat. She just likes to slide her food from one end of her plate to the other until the waiter brings out her next course. She may do this because she is nervous, doesn’t want to get anything stuck in her teeth, or is on the “Hollywood Diet.” Either way, The Slider likes to order, just not eat. How about next time, I’ll just give you two $50 bills to slide around your plate and then we can each keep one after dessert? Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to see that you care about your body as much as I care about your body, but if you are going to be a slider, do it with the chicken instead of the filet mignon.
6. The Substituter
“I’d like the B.L.T, but with salmon instead of bacon, brown rice instead of lettuce and no tomatoes.” THAT’S NOT A B.L.T! Like The Mover (see above), The Substituter isn’t happy with anything as is. From simple requests, like dressing on the side, to the more outrageous “can I get soy milk instead of onion rings,” The Substituter makes the server go through more little pads then a womens locker room. The biggest annoyance about The Substituer is that she is actually shocked when one of the seventy-five changes to her order isn’t right. “I asked for baby spinach, and this is adult spinach.” I just hope the waiter has good aim when he’s adding a substitution of his own to your NASA complex entree.
I know that this article may make you think otherwise, but I actually love taking woman to dinner. My girlfriend, on the other hand, hates it when I do that. It really doesn’t matter if you are dining at the Chefs table at Mario Batali’s latest hot spot, or enjoying an endless pasta bowl at The O.G., dinner is one of the eight most important meals of the day, and as always the ingredient that makes it complete is Woman (and bacon).
Secondhand Smoke is a weekly column by Playboy Radio Morning Show host Kevin M. Klein. Follow Kevin on Twitter.