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Avoid These 10 Foods If You Want to Get Lucky on Valentine's Day

Order what she's having, but not any of this other stuff.
Order what she's having, but not any of this other stuff.
Castle Rock Entertainment/Columbia Pictures

I've never been one to shy away from any meal when I am on a date, regardless of how unattractive the consumption may make me appear. I've slurped soup and spaghetti, virtually unhinged my jaw to chomp down on a burger, inhaled more garlic than a vampire hunter and cracked shellfish like a caveman without ever worrying what the fella across the table would think as he watched me eat.

I've always believed that truly reveling in a good meal is pretty sexy.

That said, I'm one of the few who feel this way. I know girls who won't eat salad on dates for fear they'll get lettuce stuck in their teeth and guys who won't chew on ribs because it might make them look uncivilized. I say, "Who cares?" But I guess I can see where they're coming from.

So, in the spirit of the upcoming holiday (you know, that one that celebrates the lives of martyred saints love), here are some foods that are sloppy, smelly, unwieldy and, um, digestively challenged. Eat them at your own risk.

Medicinal properties, yes. Good breath properties, no.
Medicinal properties, yes. Good breath properties, no.
Photo by Jonathunder

10. Anything with a lot of garlic Yes, this one's a given. How is it that garlic smells so good when it's being shoveled into one's mouth, and so bad when its odor is breathed back out? It's truly one of life's great mysteries. I think we can all agree, though, that no matter how much you like garlic, it's no fun to kiss someone with garlic breath. And unfortunately, no amount of tooth-brushing and mouth-washing can erase the scent completely. It just has to fade on its own, which is why it's probably best to avoid things like garlic bread and super-garlicky pasta altogether.

9. Brussels sprouts There was a time when everyone hated Brussels sprouts. They were the go-to example of nasty food (along with liver and onions, which is actually quite delicious). But these days, the marble-sized green veggies are everywhere as a trendy new side dish. But beware. Brussels sprouts contain raffinose, a complex sugar also found in broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, and raffinose, as our pungent gas can attest to, cannot be broken down in the small intestine. It heads to the large intestine, where bacteria release carbon dioxide and methane while breaking down the raffinose. Brussels sprouts also contain sulphur as a defense mechanism ('cause who wants to eat that?), which, when combined with the methane gas in your bowels, makes for one hell of a...you know. So yeah, skip them sprouts for one evening.

The list continues on the next page.

 

Beware the dreaded asparagus pee...
Beware the dreaded asparagus pee...
Photo by Sam Smith

8. Asparagus If you are in the half of the population who has no idea what I'm talking about when I use the phrase "asparagus pee," then ignore this section and eat as much asparagus as you want. But the rest of you. You know who you are. You're one of the lucky ones who, according to researchers, have a special gene that allows them to smell the sulfurous amino acids that asparagus is broken down into during digestion. But it doesn't just stop with pee. Those funky asparagus chemicals will invade other, um, things, which will smell just as bad. But before the folks who don't have the "special gene" start gloating, know this: Your pee smells funny, too. You just don't have the evolutionary tools to detect it.

7. Spaghetti I don't care how expert you think you are at twirling pasta daintily around your fork into the perfect-size bite to place seamlessly into your mouth: You are going to mess up. And when you do, you'll end up shoveling strands of noodles into your gaping pie hole and slurp-chewing until it's all secreted between your lips, at which point you'll realize you have sauce all over your face and have, in the process of sucking pasta strands, flung some of the sauce across the table, where it landed on the disgusted face of your unwitting date. Stick with penne.

The list continues on the next page.

 

This poor guy and his beans. He's never gonna nab a lady friend.
This poor guy and his beans. He's never gonna nab a lady friend.

6. Beans I'm not gonna sing the song about "magical fruit," but we all know it. Like Brussels sprouts and other veggies in that family, legumes contain a sugar that we can't easily digest called oligosaccharides. These sugars make it all the way to the large intestine, where, as with Brussels sprouts, they're finally broken down. In the process, though -- you guessed it -- more methane gas is created, which then builds up pressure. You know the rest. With beans, it's not a question of if it'll happen; it's when. So either stock up on Beano or try something different with your enchiladas.

5. Lobster First, there's the bib. A lot of lobster places provide bibs, and you're considered a bad sport if you don't at least attempt to tuck it into your shirt. Then there's the cracking of shells and flinging of juices and sucking of meat. It's all very primal, but not really in a sexy way, because it's all so darn messy. And, of course, you're probably paying far too much to be cave-manning it in a restaurant with white linen tablecloths and a $5,000 bottle of Champagne on the menu. You end up looking like a monster covered in butter. And you wish you'd ordered the snapper.

The list continues on the next page.

 

All those tasty little basil leaves just waiting to get stuck between your incisors.
All those tasty little basil leaves just waiting to get stuck between your incisors.
Photo by Cliff Hutson

4. Pesto Picture it: You're sitting in a fancy Italian restaurant. The conversation is going great. She takes a bite of her osso bucco. You take a bite of your spaghetti alla pesto. Your first mistake was ordering spaghetti, but you're hoping to salvage the meal by eating very daintily. She looks up and smiles at you. You meet her gaze and return her winning smile with one of your own. Suddenly, she shrinks back in horror. You stare at her for a moment, unsure of what's gone wrong. She gestures uncomfortably to her own teeth. You hold up your knife, smile into its mirrored surface and see what appears to be a swamp creature growing out of every crevice between your teeth. Pesto was a bad call. 3. Ribs Remember what I was saying about looking like a caveman while you're eating lobster? Yeah, ribs are worse. First there's the gnawing of the meat off the bone, which initially can seem almost provocative until you realize the halo of barbecue sauce around your mouth is making you look like a deranged clown. By the end of the meal, you've accumulated a pile of bones on your plate, which A) reminds your date of a cemetery, and B) is just a tad cannibalistic, no? And you end up with shreds of meat stuck in your teeth and barbecue sauce under your fingernails for days, so everywhere you go, you smell faintly of vinegar and tomatoes. Not as bad as smelling like Axe body spray, but still not great.

The list continues on the next page.

 

Do not eat these if you have any intention of doing anything other than going straight to bed after dinner.
Do not eat these if you have any intention of doing anything other than going straight to bed after dinner.
Photo by punctuated

2. Spicy foreign food you aren't used to I love an adventuresome guy. I appreciate a fellow willing to get out of his comfort zone and try a new dish or new cuisine that he's never encountered before. I think it's super-hot when a man shows he's open to new things. What's not super-hot is when he gets sick because his digestive system isn't really used to spicy curry, and he ends up spending the rest of the evening in the bathroom encouraging me to turn up the volume on the movie. There's a time and a place for adventuresome dining. Valentine's Day is probably not it. Know your limits, and know that not everyone is built to devour gallons of chile paste with every meal.

1. Hot wings This is an anecdote straight from one of my male friends. It is 100 percent true. This guy -- let's call him Chad -- was out on a date with a girl, and they went to a wing restaurant, where he proceeded to eat a great number of atomic wings, the spiciest ones on the menu. Like ribs, wings can leave a distinctive ruddy stain around the mouth and on the fingertips, and chicken can get caught in the teeth, and the sauce can cause you to reek of garlic. But that was not the problem. No, the problem came later when the couple was back home in bed, enjoying a little foreplay. The two were engaging in something I believe the kids refer to as 69-ing, when the girl let out a shriek. Suddenly, she'd started burning...down there. They both sat up, unsure of what to do, while she continued screaming, tears now streaming down her face. It wasn't until later, while they were sitting awkwardly in bed, he with an embarrassed pallor, she with an ice pack between her legs, that they remembered the hot wings, and the capsaicin lingering on Chad's tongue.

They broke up the next week.

And that's why you never eat hot wings on dates.


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