It’s funny how we build stuff up in our minds isn’t it?
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard someone say they’re ‘just going for a drink’ on a first date, because they want to keep it casual. And I’ve written before on 30 Dates about how going for a coffee – something older daters in particular choose as a casual date option- can be anything but casual.
You can see the logic – the shorter the time commitment, the more casual and relaxed the date might seem. You don’t want to scare someone off by asking them out for a 3 course meal … and there’s also the financial ‘investment’ that comes with taking someone for dinner. Cynical, yes, but if I had a pound for every time a dater has shared me that opinion with me, I’d have enough money for a decent three course meal at least!
The thing is, first dates are a really odd social experience. You’re thrust into this situation where you know you’re both trying to work out if you fancy the other person. You’re fuelled by nerves and adrenaline. You drink too much, or say too little. You go away and relive every awkward moment.
In my opinion … and trust me, I’ve been on a lot of dates … only going for very short dates isn’t the answer. Because most people take time to relax, and show their true colours. And whilst you might know in a few seconds if you’re initially physically attracted to someone, a ridiculously high proportion of the married people I know admit to not necessarily fancying their partner at first sight. How attractive we appear to someone else is coloured by our personalities. And it can be hard to properly convey that personality over a quick drink or a coffee.
The longer you invest in a first date, the more likely you are to see the true person, beneath their first date nerves. Which is one of the reasons I’ve always tried to make a first date last at least 2 or 3 hours. To prove the point – I didn’t fancy The Rugby Boy when I first met him, and it took him so long to shake off the nerves of being on a date with a ‘dating expert’ that I wasn’t even sure if I fancied him at the end of our (8 hour long!) first date. What I did know, after Urban Golf, drinks, and dinner, was that I enjoyed his company enough to meet up with him again. And that at the very least we’d end up being friends. Nine months later and we’re living together …
So how do burgers come into it?
Burgers are casual. They are food. (I’m on form this morning!) But they are quick, casual food. A burger isn’t intimidating. It isn’t (necessarily!) a three-course meal. And it shouldn’t come with a crazy price tag.
But a burger is a meal. It’s an opportunitiy to sit down and chat for longer than just a drink. It’s also a way of soaking up the nervous alcohol you might have been guzzling a bit too quickly, and making sure you stay sober enough to make a good first impression!
I know a lot of girls worry about eating in front of a date, but (having consulted LOTS of single men) I can reassure you that for most guys, you tucking into a burger on a date is far more attractive than you picking at a salad.
And the great thing about burgers in London in 2015 … is that you can go for a nice posh burger, in a really nice restaurant! You can eat your burger with a glass of prosecco, and follow it up splitting a slice of cheesecake or banoffee pie! And it still won’t break the bank.
And so burgers are my answer. If you don’t want to go OTT on a first date, and you want a nice casual way to chat and get to know each other after work … don’t just suggest a bar. Suggest dinner, but a casual dinner. My personal choice would be Hache, because their venues are beautiful, and look nothing like burger restaurants. And because their burgers are genuinely incredible.
To show I take my own advice, The Rugby Boy and I went for a date at the Hache on Clapham High Street last week and went for a really lovely walk through Clapham Old Town afterwards … proving burgers can be romantic 😉