Hey, Romeo, Have We Got Some Dining Date Tips for You

Dating advice. Everyone: books, shows, friends, animals, parents, tries to give it to you, but it never works. "Just be yourself," "Play hard to get," "Wait three days" are all about as useful as anger management tips from Meat Loaf.

Since most first dates involve eating something, and City of Ate is all about food, we thought we'd offer up a few nuggets of dining wisdom that will make your dating life much more fruitful -- or considering the source, about as useful as those anger management tips.

The Usual There's no better way to impress a date than giving the appearance that A) you are in total control of the situation and B) people know who you are. Two birds, meet one stone. As soon as the server strolls by your table to take your order, simply say "I'll have the usual." Even if you've never been to the restaurant before, your knowing confidence will give the server all the leverage he/she needs to bring you an excellent dish. Better yet, show your dining companion that you like to live dangerously and say "surprise me" when it's time to place your order. This will make you look like a James Bond-Chuck Norris lovebaby with George Clooney as your godfather. A word of warning: Beware the places you pull this stunt, as you might be greeted with a whole pig complete with apple ball-gag. If your date's into that, stop reading immediately.

The Power of People Let's face it, times are tough. The economy is slowly recovering and hot date spots don't seem to be getting any cheaper. What's the best way to live like a $60k millionaire when you're only a $30k millionaire? Coupons!!! Much like wine, craft beer and indie music, mass buying coupon sites are the newest snob obsession. Those who eschew Groupon for selling out after they hit it big may gravitate towards the hipper, more progressive Living Social. Whichever you choose, a surefire way to dazzle any date is by laying out an array of Groupons, letting the object of your affection choose from a slew of options, all to the delight of your wallet. The best part is being able to proudly unfurl the svelte 8.5x11 piece of paper from your pocket and gently lay it across the table for all to admire. Who wants dessert (as long as it's under $2.37)?

The Top-Off Keeping with the theme of thrifty town-going, here's another little gem. Since Prohibition, the hip flask may have fallen by the wayside like black and white televsion or Christina Aguilera. Fortunately for us imbibers, the steely vessel will always be our trusted companion. Notice your date's drink is running a little low? Reach into your pocket/purse and whip out your personal refill dispenser and share the wealth. Key points: In the age of roofies, this maneuver requires a certain level of trust from your date, so ask before you refill. Also, make sure you know what your date is drinking so when they nervously ask "What are you pouring in my drink?" you can assuredly reply "Why it's [whatever they are drinking], of course!"

Goin' to The Chuck Want to prove to your potential soul mate that you're good with kids? There is no better place in this great land of ours to prove it than a date night at Chuck E. Cheese's. Pizza: check. Beer: an incredibly surprising check. Tons of banshee-like offspring running wild: triple check. If your date can see past the red flags and ignore the dozen or so house apes blindly running into her kneecaps, she'll see you're a real keeper. If not, just kick back with a nice slice of pepperoni and some cheap yellow brew for a night of Skeeball. Just make sure that when you're order your 'za, you don't say "I'll have the usual." Singles who hang out too much at Chuck's are just a li'l bit creepy.

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Justin Bitner
Contact: Justin Bitner