(While other guys were out on romantic Valentine’s Day dates with their girls, I was home pondering the nature of life and how much chocolate ice cream I should eat in one sitting. I’m sure I did something manly. I also worked on this.)
You’ve cooked a very special dinner for your girl and are seated at a candlelit table on a neighbor’s roof (non-sloped). This is approximately how you want your romantic dinner conversation to go (assume breathiness):
You: My Dear, can I give you any more of anything?
Her: My Darling, I’m quite full, it’s all so delicious, but I think I have a little room left for some of your yummy manicotti.
You: Of course, kitten. Here you are. Be sure to save room for dessert. It’s cherry cheesecake.
Her: Mmm, I bet it is, tiger. And you better save some room yourself, my love. (
You: Actually, monkey, that’s a turtledove I borrowed from the aviary. I thought the cooing was soothing. Just look at that cute little leash.
Her: Um, yes, Sniffles. It’s lovely, dearest, but the local pigeons are trying to…Oh, no! Stop that!!
Disgusting stuff like that. My grandma is blushing.
I’ve read here and there in legal briefs that the secret to a successful romantic dinner doesn’t lie so much with the menu, as it does with the effort made and the ambiance you set (certainly written by a terrible cook/attorney). I don’t think the writer meant to imply that it’s okay for you to serve peanut butter and pickle sandwiches with Kool-Aid to your date if you light candles and use fancy cloth napkins with smooth jazz on in the background. That may be in a distant neighborhood of reality.
I suppose it could depend on your date, too, but try to put some effort into your romantic dinner, so that it’s at least a little bit planned and looks as if you care. As if. No, you do. This girl is someone you like and want to impress, if only slightly. You’re trying to woo. It’s kind of like trickery through careful attention. Yes, I’m a romantic.
Consider the ambiance you want to set for your date. The milieu. Another French word. For a special romantic dinner at your place, you might give thought to the sensory features of your setting. After things are exceedingly clean (Really. Get it clean. Soap. Hot water. Defunk.), set the table with an attractive tablecloth and cloth napkins. Get some flowers. Place some twenty dollar bills strategically around the room. Things like that.
If you have fancy silverware and dishes, this is the time to bring those pretty little gems out of the cupboards and show them off. If you don’t have anything decent, now is as good a time as any to buy it. Same goes with the serving bowls. Drag out some candles and candlesticks. Light some incense. Put on soft music. Get your roommates out of the house. Tie up the cat. Tease it. These are all important things to keep in mind when you‘re setting the milieu. She’ll notice.
Her Preferences Are Insane
Backing up a bit, be sure you’ve planned your special date menu with an eye to her preferences. Before your romantic dinner (as far enough ahead to be useful), find out from your date what sort of food she likes and dislikes. Sneak it casually into a conversation. She doesn’t like Brussel Sprouts? Don’t cook them for her. She hates marinara sauce? Break up with her (No, don’t do that. Just taunt her a little.).
Be sure you are aware of any popular allergies she might be trying out at the moment. There’s nothing worse than serving your guest Pad Thai only to find out she’s allergic to peanuts when she puffs up, can‘t breath, turns blue, and requires a trip to the emergency room before dessert. Post dessert puffiness is different.
Also, she may have special dietary restrictions. She may be a vegetarian or she may be on a goat-only diet, so you’ll want to know that information in order to plan accordingly with the right goat‘s milk and goat cheese. It’s possible she’s only pretending to be a vegetarian, so probe a little. It may turn out she thought you said Sagittarius.
In my extensive reading of the works of JRR Tolkien, some tasty sounding go-to menu items I’ve seen suggested for romantic meals include eggplant parmigiana with pasta, a cooked vegetable, garlic bread, a nice dessert like cheesecake, Elf bread (Lembas), and Ent-draught. I can absolutely see myself eating this right now, My Precious. Get something nifty to drink. A delicious and full-bodied grape juice, for instance.
There are many fine recipes for eggplant parmigiana you might want to try out by cooking them days ahead of your date, so you can not only nail down whether you like this recipe better than that one, but you can actually practice making the stuff. Learn to do it adeptly and figure out the timing, so your pasta hasn’t gotten cold while you’re still fixing the bread and veggies.
Super Al Fresco
A more casual, but still romantic, version of this home dinner date would be a picnic in a park with the whole blanket and basket thing. Your food could be cold on purpose, less fancy, sandwiches even, but still fun and date-like. Sure, there might be ants and birds and creepy park people trying to flash you, but you’ll be together with your date while getting flashed. That could be romantic.
Also, with the basket you could re-enact “Little Red Riding Hood”. She could be Red and you could be the Wolf (Unless you want to try it the other way around. Remember, grandmother dies.). The point is to plan something special and do it. If you do it right, it’ll go well, look effortless, and your girl will be impressed. And that’s really what you want. It only seems like trickery.
the secret word is milieu
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