(As written by a waiter.)
Good evening, I'm Jon and I'll be your server tonight.
I see couples on dates almost every night of the week, and have gotten pretty good at looking for red flags. There are things I'd like to tell you, but won't since in this country I'm dependent on your tips to live.
Don't worry, though, I'll be sure to share my observations with the other servers. Observations like...
1. He's not polite to us.
This is the biggest and most obvious red flag us servers usually see. Admittedly, we're a bit biased in this regard: no one likes it when people are rude them at work. But wait staff are in a special position to evaluate rudeness. Since our job is hospitality, our aim is to see that your date goes well.
If your date can't be polite to someone who's doing their best to serve as his wingman — and who, by the way, is handling his food — he's eventually not going to be very polite with you, either.
2. He's slumped in his chair.
You can tell a lot about someone by their posture, and the way that your date is slumped in that chair like a big bag of fertilizer tells me that he doesn't have a lot of self-awareness, assuming there's no medical reason for him to look like a slowly deflating balloon.
Lack of self-awareness is the generous reading, by the way. I could also interpret his slouchy posture as a sign of his general disregard for this present moment in which you two happen to be on a date.
If he won't sit up straight and pay attention to the person he presumably wants to sleep with, what will he pay attention to? In this regard, you could see it as a lack of respect for either of you, since he's not upright and alert for you and simultaneously neglecting to hold himself with dignity.
3. He put his shoes up on the booth cushion.
Now I see your date has decided to sit sideways in the booth like a wee, small child instead of upright like an adult human being. Please, by all means, make yourself at home! Put your shoes right up on that booth cushion. It's not like other people, some of whom will be wearing white pants, will be sitting on that. I just love having to navigate around his raggedy flip-flops every time I visit your table to refill your water.
4. He's wearing flip-flops and a polo.
I realize we can't all go around looking James Bond sharp all the time, but you two have set aside time to get together and participate in the human courtship ritual of dating, which, like other courtship rituals in the animal kingdom, involves a bit of visual display (think of the peacock strutting his stuff).
Your peacock, however, is wearing flip flops and a polo shirt. That's fine if you're also dressed down, but if you're in heels and he's in flip flops with any frequency, you might want to raise your standards, or ask yourself why you're spending your time getting presentable for someone who isn't returning the favor.
5. He doesn't accept the glass that comes with the beer.
Oh, Mr. Manly Man is too manly to accept the glass that comes with his beer. He must be a damn lumberjack or something. He probably tattoos grizzly bears and drinks his water straight from a mountain stream frothy with leaping salmon.
There's a reason you're served a glass with a beer, and not just because you're over the age of four: to fully taste something, you need to be able to smell it, too. So if your date wants to taste that beer he just paid six dollars for, he'll pour it into a glass.
6. He has the food preferences of a 5-year-old.
By the way, it's funny that your date is old enough to order a beer when his food preferences suggest that he should have to wait another ten to fifteen years. We have some really exciting specials on this menu, and our chef has worked hard to see that his produce is local, his meat is responsibly sourced, and that the ingredients are combined in fresh ways that bring out their best qualities.
Nonetheless, your date has opted for the chicken fingers. There's nothing wrong with the occasional guilty pleasure, of course, but as with the rule about dressing down, if you recognize this as a pattern, you might want to think about what it will mean for you to be forever tethered to someone who always orders the chicken fingers.
7. He orders chicken fingers.
And I know your date always orders the chicken fingers because he's in here every week, usually with a different, sad-looking girl who thinks she has to settle for the guy wearing flip flops, sitting sideways in the booth, drinking his beer right out of the bottle, and eating the chicken fingers.