Supposedly, St. Andrews is where love flourishes, and where does love better flourish but at a setting with food and candles. The authors of this article are senior students who’ve seen too many confused freshers and equally confused older lots in restaurants on awkward dates. Too much garlic, too much alcohol, or too much food in general can hinder the passage to love. As two single Mediterranean girls who have a passion for both food and men, we’re here to aid you on your first date.
What to wear: It is a truth universally agreed upon that first impressions are based on clothing choices. Nothing too tight – Cristina once wore a dress two sizes too small, forcing her to unbutton her dress in the middle of dinner as she could no longer breathe because of the amount of food she ate. So either wear something fitting, or don’t eat. While it heavily depends on the location, the girl’s best choice remains cocktail attire without too many accessories. Men – no red trousers.
Where to go: Inviting them over to yours – if you’re a good cook, it’s fantastic, or you can cook together, which is perfect for bonding. However, we think it’s better to be safe and take them out instead to avoid awkward moments regarding when you should leave, if you should help wash dishes, if you should bring something, etc. You might also not know their food allergies and preferences, so it’s best to leave them to choose their own meals.
Restaurant choices – in a town like St. Andrews, as with other things, we’re quite limited, but it can be an advantage because both parties will know what to expect once you name the restaurant. Market and South Street are obvious choices, but we suggest The Scores for an intimate first date because you don’t want to run into your friends and have to make uncomfortable introductions.
Price range – just make sure you’re on the same page. You don’t want to intimidate your date with an expensive restaurant. If you go somewhere more economical, there’s still room to spend on desserts, cocktails and wine.
What to order: Start off with two courses – appetizer and main, and ask about dessert. Considering you probably don’t know the person that well, don’t assume you’ll be sharing the food, ask and offer your food first. If they say no, then don’t ask if you can try theirs, and, well, you probably shouldn’t see them again for a second date.
Keep it light, even if you’re not going home with them, you want to be in good shape and not have a food baby. Nothing too garlicky, and never order the most expensive dish, even if you’re intending to pay as you’re showing off. Regarding oysters, we have mixed views – Maria thinks it’s always okay to have oysters, but Cristina thinks it’s too suggestive.
Wine – you’re students, you only know so much about wine unless it’s actually a passion of yours. You’re not all sommeliers, so don’t be pretentious. Don’t be afraid of not knowing what wine to order, just ask your date. Glass or bottle? If you’re a light-weight, please just get the glass.
Cocktails are better reserved for after dinner – it loosens you up for flirtatious chats, whereas having it before dinner on an empty stomach might be dangerous.
Who’s paying: As girls, never assume the guy’s going to pay, and for guys, it’s perfectly fine to split the bill. Just make sure that as the bill comes, you both pull out your wallets. On the first date, offer, but don’t push it as you don’t want to fight over the bill. Evidently, as the authors of this article are single, take our advice with a pinch of salt. Maria’s had wonderful first dates where the man cooked, and Cristina still wears that dress, flashing her dates. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be, just don’t be nervous and enjoy yourself.