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Dating don'ts

Your guide to four menu choices to avoid on a first rendezvous

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08 SEPTEMBER 2008

We've all been there. You're sitting across from a special someone over dinner and can't quite work out how to tell them they've got spinach in their teeth or tomato sauce on their chin. Tell them and the embarrassment might kill your chances. But if you say nothing they may think less of you once they realise you've let them sit there with food on their face

Sharing a meal is particularly crucial when the event is also a first date. You want to make a good impression and avoid splattering your date with ketchup or making a mess with the foie-gras. To up your chances of creating a good impression there are some things it's best to steer well clear of.

Spaghetti

This is seriously problematic. It's almost guaranteed that you'll splash tomato sauce on yourself, and chances are you'll end up getting some on your date too. Then there's the noise issue – that inevitable schllooooop-squelch-smacking noise as you suck up the strands. Of course you could always cut it all up, but that's a desperate measure as anyone who can't eat spaghetti with a fork and spoon probably won't warrant a second date.

Windy wonders

Any excess gas creators are a serious no-no. They usually take about 4 or 5 hours to really develop, so if you are thinking you might make tonight the night definitely give lentils, beans, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage a miss.

Garlic

When your date sees you happily tucking in to a large slice of garlic bread, they'll probably take a goodnight kiss right off the menu. Cooked garlic is a lot better than raw, but try and avoid it altogether if you can.

Lobster and the like

Eating lobster, crab, crayfish and shrimp – all of which fall into the crustecea family – tends to be a messy business involving tools, fingers and a vigorously determined approach to winkling out the tender morsels. In other words, its best avoided at all cost. Cracking lobster claws is an art best left to the experts, or at least your second date! And while some find getting stuck in with your hands rather aphrodisiacal, it might not make a great first impression. Sucking shrimp and slurping crab are similar no-nos.

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