Is ordering salad really that bad?
Welcome to "What Guys Really Think...", our column devoted to polling real men about what's going on inside their noggins when women speak, act or even dress in various ways.
Is ordering a steak on a first date a sin? Will a burger and fries really make you look like a pig? Why is pasta totally off limits for ladies? Should you worry what he'll think when you order a salad? We're rolling through the definite dinner dos and don'ts, according to dudes.
I like an eater.
"When I'm out to dinner with a girl," says Mark, 26, "I feel better when she actually orders something with substance; not just a salad with cucumber. First of all, you're supposed to treat yourself when you're dining out — and secondly, how am I ever going to see myself spending time with a girl who eats less than my cat?"
"You always hear about girls who are scared to order what they really want on a date because they’re worried that the guy will make comments about what she's eating," says Brennan, 28. "I think the opposite: if a girl I'm out with orders steak, it's a huge turn-on for me. It tells me that she's not afraid to be herself — and that she doesn’t care what I think."
Josh, 37, says, "The first time I took my wife out to dinner — we were dating at the time — she ordered appetizer, dinner and dessert. She also suggested that we get a bottle of wine to share. Even though I was a little taken back, I was smitten. I felt like it made dinner more fun, going through the courses together. I could tell she wasn’t about to censor herself just because I was around and it made me like her more."
I want a rule-breaker.
"I've never stopped and thought about what a girl should — or shouldn't — order when we're out to eat. I think that if she’s obsessing over what she should order out of fear of what I might think, she's definitely not the girl for me. It shows that she's more concerned with her body image than she is with having a good time. I don't want a girl that plays it safe and cares about that kind of stuff," says Jason, 31. "Order the damn pasta! And let's have fun."
"I don’t know why, but I think if I ever went out to dinner with a girl and she ordered a salad, self-consciously, for her meal, I'd probably laugh. It's just so stereotypical. I think you can definitely tell why someone is motivated to do something and maybe by ordering a salad, she's trying to impress you. Truth is, that's not impressive," Steve, 23, says.
What does it say about me, then?
"If my dinner date orders a side salad and a plate of grilled chicken, what do you think it says about me when I order a burger, fries and the soup dujour? It’s definitely embarrassing for guys, too, when a girl is afraid to order what she wants,” says Ralph, 21.
Collin, 24, says, "One of the first times I took my girlfriend out, I told her that she had to order something more than just a salad — I didn't care what it was — but she just had to do it. I was nervous that she was going to order some lettuce to pick at and I was going to order the steak — and she'd think I was the pig!"
Don't run up the bill.
"I'm not saying that she should order a salad," says Jeff, 29, "but I'm not going to insist that she order the most expensive dish on the menu. I like to pay on a date (not for any other reason other than the fact that I think it's nice), and if she's going to order steak, a salad and dessert, it can get a little costly."
"I'm not a millionaire — and I won't ever be, so if the girl wants a salad, let her eat the damn salad; I don't care. I want her to enjoy her meal and not worry about what I 'secretly' think of her entrée. If she's going to order more expensive things off the menu, then maybe she wants to split it. This isn't the 50s anymore, you know," says Cal, 30.
Wait — it matters what she orders?
This has — by far — got to be my favorite response. It came from my good friend, Jake, 27, who was so appalled that I'd asked him this question that it took a few minutes for him to find his breath to answer again. He looked me dead-on in the eye and said, "Talking about what a girl orders at dinner? This is still a thing?"
The irony was not lost on him, that’s for sure. But when I pressed him a little bit further, he added, "I don't care what she orders: salad, steak, chicken — hell, she could order an appetizer for dinner for all I care. I'm not interested in what you're going to be eating; I'm interested in getting to know the girl that I asked out on a date. Now, if she chews with her mouth open, that's a whole 'nother question…"