By Anna Lowenthal, Columnist
Q: Dear Anna, how do I know what to eat in front of others?
A: I’ll have to admit, I really don’t understand the reason behind lunch interviews, meetings or even dates. What’s the point of dressing nice and putting on your confident face if you’re going to end up with salad in your teeth and spillage on your shirt?
Most of the time, there’s nothing you can eat attractively in front of others without making yourself look like a fool, but there’s always a little something that’ll ease the stress of eating in front of others.
First question: what do you eat when you’re in a situation where you don’t want to look like a complete idiot? There’s almost no way you can eat fettuccini alfredo without spilling some on yourself and catching the eye of your meal mate while you’ve got half of your forkful dangling out of your mouth.
Anything that is super saucy or difficult to get into your mouth within one try is out. That means any large pastas, leafy salads or giant subs usually don’t make for great one-on-one mealtime with someone new.
Something you can cut into small pieces and neatly tuck away into your pie hole is usually the best. Steak, sandwiches with limited toppings and soups all work out really well. But anything you can daintily eat will definitely make life a lot easier and manage to leave your back a little less sweaty.
Why is it that waiters and waitresses always come by to ask you how your food tastes when your mouth is stuffed with it? Why is it that whenever you’ve got a mouthful, your munch buddy decides it’s the perfect time to ask a question? These can be serious issues, as it is extremely rude to talk with your mouth
full, but even more awkward to have themstaring you down waiting for a reply.
The best way to combat this? Wait for your food companion to finish chewing their bite of food, and then ask them a question. This gives you the perfect opportunity to take a quick chomp, then smile and listen as they answer.
A good thing to remember is that no matter how much you want that tuna sandwich or blue cheese dressing on your salad, it probably is best to stick to something basic that won’t come back to bite you later.
It’s embarrassing to be talking to someone and realize you’ve got terrible, irreparable breath that no amount of gum or mints can save. If you’re on a date or around people you’d rather not repulse, don’t eat anything too crazy. The milder it smells before you eat it, the milder it’ll be after you’re done.
Lastly, please, for the love of politeness, chew with your mouth closed. Even in casual settings, there’s nothing that’s more of a turn-off than seeing or violently hearing someone else predigest their meal.
Brush up on your table manners before you exercise your lack of them. Believe me, no matter what eating situation you’re in, whoever you’re with will appreciate the fact that you keep your food safely inside of your mouth.
Eating uncomfortable meals around others is unavoidable. Unfortunately, it’s a social thing that we humans tend to do. So think about what you’re doing before you do it, and it’ll be smooth sailing with no worries about what you’re eating and how you’re eating it.