A first date can sometimes be a straight cringe-fest. Not only for the couple but also for the restaurant workers who are witnessing the whole thing. These workers reveal their top secondhand embarrassment moment they felt when serving a 'first date' table. Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
"I used to work at a Mexican restaurant and one year when I was working on Valentine's Day, I was subjected to one of the weirdest first dates ever.
A couple walked in, she was dressed to the nines, like she was ready to hit up a club. He was dressed more casually, in jeans and a button-down. Our hostess seated them and when I went to greet them, the man announced that this was their very first date. The lady looked less than impressed and gave a small smile that was more like a grimace. They ordered drinks and as I was watching their table, you could tell that the date was not going well. The guy was talking animatedly and the girl was glancing around as if she would rather be anywhere else.
I headed over to take their order and it was clear that I had interrupted something. The guy looked a little embarrassed and sad and the girl looked ticked off. He ordered his meal and she flippantly ordered seafood enchiladas without really looking at the menu. She tossed her menu in my direction and sucked down the rest of her drink. Okay then.
I delivered their food and went back behind the counter to continue rolling silverware and watching my tables. They dug in and the man seemed to be enjoying his food. His date on the other hand looked disgusted and was flicking bits of her dinner around the table/floor. I walked over to check in and see if she maybe wanted to order something else.
I got to the table to ask how everything was and she got up and screamed how her food was disgusting. Then she went off about how terrible this date was. She started yelling at him about how he should have ordered for her, how dare he take her to such a low-class place, and how she was so done with this date. She shoved her plate away, got up, and stormed out of the restaurant.
The dude was mortified. I told him I would be right back with the bill and asked if he would like his food boxed up? This guy shook his head, pulled her plate towards him, and said nope, he was fine to continue eating the meals he had paid for.
He stayed for the duration of his meal. I never did find out what happened to the lady. We talked about that incident for weeks after!"
"I worked at a 'fine dining' seafood restaurant chain for a while. An older gentleman, mid-40s came in with a younger Asian gal (she was 21 or 22- I checked their IDs for drinks.) He explained that she was visiting from Japan for the first time, and this was their first time together. They had been online dating for two years. Well, she didn't speak a lick of English and the dude could barely get out any Japanese. He proceeded to order two appetizers and four entrees because he wanted her to try how delicious our seafood was (We were in Wyoming, in the dead of winter).
I could tell as the meal progressed she was getting more and more displeased. She didn't like any of the food and basically stuck to her mixed drinks. During their dessert, I had a moment to talk with them more and he explained that they were going to get married someday and he was going to build her her own developing room cause she loved photography. Now she couldn't speak English but she definitely knew what he was saying and it made her incredibly uncomfortable.
She kept shaking her head and saying, 'No! No! No!' Then started to get up and leave. All the color had drained from her face. He paid in quite a hurry and left four plates of half-eaten food as he rushed out the door after her."
"I worked at a pub connected to a brewery in college. This dude came in with a stunning woman, I mean she was absolutely gorgeous. The whole time they were sitting at the end of the bar, you could hear the guy talking about how he had a room for them next door at the hotel downtown. So they decided to go to the brewery next door, he was gonna pull a little dine and dash. They got over there but the guy didn’t realize we were on the same system. So when he ordered a couple of pints, the bartender on the brewery side asked if he wanted to add it to his tab.
He looked over confused and said, 'What tab? I’ve never been here.'
She printed off the restaurant bill plus his brewery tab, it was like 80 bucks or so. He just blankly stared at the poor bartender and flew off the handle. The girl he was with ended up paying for it. They then walked across the street to the hotel, where he had already invited her up. But she stalled until her Uber got there and then just dipped out.
It was both funny and awkward, but that's what he gets for trying to dine and dash."
"I once witnessed the entire cycle of a relationship while working as a barista.
I was familiar with these two people as individuals who would come in separately. Both young, maybe early 20's 'hipster' types, and both were very attractive by conventional beauty standards. The guy was always really sweet. He would order regular coffee or espresso, make pleasant chitchat about whatever music I happened to be playing, and tipped generously. The girl was usually very abrupt, never even remotely friendly. She would order elaborate espresso drinks and food, left her dishes and a mess on the table every time, and never tipped a penny. This went on for a couple of months. Never saw them in there at the same time.
One day, they both came in together. I got their order, the guy paid, the girl was fine with it, and they sat down. It got pretty obvious and was almost like a fun game to play at work, like 'spot who was on a Tinder date' and guessing if the couple would be a good match. They were obviously on a first date, judging by their body language and snippets of 'intro' type conversation I was picking up. They both seemed happy and they hung out for a few hours.
Fast forward a few weeks, they were in together all the time. They started paying separately, she went back to ordering a bunch of complicated orders, not tipping, and he took all the dishes to the very obviously marked bus pan when they finished. Fast forward a few months, they were still coming in together, but less often. The dude came in alone a few times, still friendly but seemed preoccupied. At this point, I didn't even know either of their names, but I wanted to tell the dude that he was a sweetheart, she was a prick, and that he could do better. I passed on all that and we talked about bands some more.
A couple of weeks later, the girl came in with her female friend, ordered an elaborate drink, and her friend didn't order anything but grabbed a cup of water. Here was where it got weird. They didn't sit together. The friend sat like three tables away, drank her water, and looked at her phone. The guy came in, got a coffee, chatted for a bit, and then sat with the girl. He didn't seem to know or acknowledge her friend, who likewise didn't say hello.
I started doing my thing, washing dishes and helping other customers who came in. I glanced up every so often and the couple both looked super serious. Her friend was now smiling, looking at her phone. I tried not to project or read anything too much into it, but it occurred to me that the girl was breaking up with the guy. Also, I heard snippets.
He was looking sad now. She got up, went to the bathroom, and took her phone. Her friend started texting on her phone. She was still smiling, almost holding back laughter.
The girl came out a few minutes later, didn't sit back down, they said a few words, and she left. Surprise, she left her mug on the table. Her friend waited a few minutes, then also left. The guy was just sitting there looking shell shocked. He stayed awhile, bussed the table, ordered an espresso to go, and asked me if I had heard the new Pile record and what I thought.
I told him I loved it and gave him the espresso on the house. I tried to non-verbally communicate something to him. A nod or a shrug. He already seemed happier. I didn't see either of them again."
"Most of our players were men, so we never really saw any true 'dates.' Going to play blackjack all night long would a terrible date idea anyways.
But this one night, a guy came in with a younger woman. The guy was a semi-regular, maybe once a month kind of player. He was around 55-60 years old and was always alone. But this night, he came in with a much younger woman that was clearly a woman of the street.
He sat down to play, as she came to hassle him for money to play some pull tabs. When I say hassle, I mean she basically berated him for money, and he just sat there and took the abuse.
After a while, I finally figured out what was going on.
The man was one of those guys who enjoyed being spoken down to by women. He was basically paying this woman to treat him like trash, and she was doing a good job of it.
Over the course of the hour that he was there, he had given her about 500 bucks to play in pull-tabs. The entire time, she was talking down to him and telling him she was going to go home if he didn't give her another 100 bucks for more pull-tabs.
I felt bad, but as a co-worker explained it to me. The dude enjoyed that stuff, so I guess I should have been happy for him that he was finding pleasure in being humiliated?"
"I went with my friend to this fancy Italian place where we used to go to all the time in high school. While there, this single guy came in and sat down at a table for two and looked around then at his phone like he was waiting for someone.
At this point, I was not paying real attention, but he ordered two glasses. About 10 minutes later, I was halfway through with my meal when his date finally arrived. She sat down without saying a word, and neither did he. I was not watching their every move, but I could just kinda see them when I stared straight ahead. As far as I could tell, after five minutes they had said nothing, but just drank their glasses.
As high schoolers do, my friend and I started coming up with possibilities of what this could be, whether a first date gone horribly wrong or something. I mean, these two 20-something years olds were sitting and eating like old people do when they've run out of things to talk about after being married for 40 plus years.
Anyways, they both ordered ravioli. It came out wickedly fast and almost immediately, this guy started to eat it with his hands. Now, I was really paying attention. By now, they had only exchanged a few words, but with completely blank faces. Absolutely no idea what they could have been talking about, but the woman hadn't touched her food at all, and this guy was licking all the sauce off his fingers one after another.
Something like ten minutes went by and the woman still hadn't touched her food. My friend and I were convinced that this woman was trapped on the worst date of her life when suddenly, she also began to eat with her hands and grabbed a huge ravioli and sucked it down with sauce all over the place. My friend and I were stunned. We couldn't make heads or tails of what the heck was going on.
All in all, I guess they were made for each other. They then ordered dessert, some sort of tiramisu, and ate it with forks."
"I worked at a chain restaurant, and the guy’s card got declined. The girl said she would pay but had to go to the ATM to take the money out. There was one next door. The guy embarrassingly offered to stay and apologized to the girl like a million times when she left to go to the bank.
Ten minutes later, she wasn't back.
Twenty minutes later, the guy was calling and texting her.
Thirty minutes later, she still wasn't back and the guy began to realize that he just got ditched at the restaurant (she drove) with an unpaid bill.
Forty minutes later, he told me that he really had no money and didn’t even know the girl who bailed on him, and now he couldn't get home. I felt bad for him because clearly, this wasn’t just some ruse to get a free meal. This dude really was stranded.
I told my manager what happened and he basically told the guy to come back and pay when he could.
Surprisingly enough, the guy did come back the next night and left a good tip. Never saw him again."
"I worked for a while as a waitress at a small-town restaurant. A grown man (probably late 30s) came into the restaurant and told us what table he wanted and that he was there for a date. He described what his date would be wearing and went to sit down. His date finally arrived but wasn't fully what he described. It was another grown man who was wearing the exact bracelet that the first man described. I went to direct him to the table.
We got almost there when the first guy saw us and stood up with a weird look. I wouldn’t really call his facial expression surprised but not sure what else it could’ve been. They made eye contact and almost in unison, they both said in a variant of, 'You’re actually a guy?'
Well, they had dinner anyway and chatted me up the whole time. Turns out both of them were pretending to be lesbians in the Yahoo messenger. They were hoping to get some hot young girls to go out with them. Not sure how they thought it would work once they met in person though."
"A couple was shown to their table, and the guy was on the phone the entire time. I normally waited until guests were off their phones to give my spiel of the specials and to take a drink order, but he didn't show any sign of getting off the phone. I took the order, which the guy just held his hand over the phone and talked over his date. When I came back, she attempted to order an appetizer and our house specialty, but he tried to say the portions were large enough without. She ordered the zucchini anyways. I got the dinner order and brought out the appetizer.
At this point, I hadn't been to the table when he hadn't been on the phone. While I was putting together the salad, the woman came out to the lobby and asked to get her meal packed up. She ended up paying her half of the bill and ducking out. She told me this was their first date and she was set up by a soon-to-be-former friend. Said she was going to be calling her friend as she walked out.
When I brought the guy's meal to him, he asked where her dinner was and I told him what happened. He really thought she was in the bathroom."
"The guy got there early and let me know it was a first date which was a lunch date. When she got there, they started chatting and he ordered a drink and she ordered a water. After a few minutes, he skipped on appetizers. So every so often, I would go by to see if they would like to order. She would open her mouth to speak then he would interrupt with something like they were fine at the moment. Well, this went on for a while.
I even tried to just take her order but he would insist they were okay for now. So he kept ordering drinks and she kept sipping water. After an hour or so, she said she had to go and just left. He asked me if he did something wrong.
I answered honestly, 'Since it was a lunch date, she probably didn’t have too much for breakfast. If you offer a lunch date, she’s probably expecting to eat and you wouldn’t allow her to order. So she’s probably starving.'
He sat there and drank till the end of my shift."
"One day this (very cute) 20-ish girl came in, ordered, and cheerfully asked me if we had any board games that were great for two people (I worked in a concept bar where we had 700 plus board games you could play as long as you ordered something to drink). I showed her a few games, she chose one, and sat at a table near the entrance.
Thirty minutes later, she came and sadly asked me if we had any games you could play alone. I gave her one and told her if her date didn't come, I would give her a free shot.
Another forty minutes later, she came back, so I gave her the shot and we talked a bit. Then she went back to her table to play by herself (It was a busy night, overwise I would have played something with her. She seemed nice and was obviously sad).
The guy ended up showing up almost two hours late. He ordered a bit rudely, she paid for him, and they spent less than an hour talking. He wasn't interested in playing a game and didn't really seem interested in his date either. He left early, she stayed a bit to talk with me as I started to clean up. I offered her another shot and drank one with her, then she left all sad.
I imagined she was excited about her date and thought the boardgames bar was a cute, fun idea for a first date, but the guy was so rude being late and not showing any interest. It was just sad. She came back a few times with friends though and was really a nice girl."
"I was a bartender at a local place that was somewhat close to the university, but far enough away that it was a 'hidden gem.' We used to get first dates all the time, most of them were Tinder-esque.
I remember one time specifically, this guy came in and sat down at a table alone, and kept checking his watch. A watch? I wander over, greeted him, and asked what he would like to start off with to drink.
He asked, 'Ummm, I dunno, I'm meeting someone. Is it rude to have a drink already before they get here?'
I smiled, asked if he was waiting for a date, he said yes, and I suggested a pint to sip on instead of a mixed drink. It might calm his nerves a bit, but wouldn't get him inebriated too quickly so he could enjoy his date. He agreed, apologized profusely for bothering me (which, he hadn't bothered me at all), and continued to wait.
After about 20 mins of him waiting (and him checking his watch every five minutes), I wandered over again and asked if he would like to look at a food menu, perhaps munch on something while he waited. He declined and glanced at his watch again. I made a comment about his watch and how I appreciated his use of 'analog technology', and he laughed nervously and said he didn't want to pull out or use his phone during his date because he didn't want to seem disingenuous.
Another 30 minutes passed, and Mr. Hopeful was still alone. I asked if he'd changed his mind about some food.
He merely shook his head and said in defeat,'I'll just finish my pint and go. I'm sorry I wasted one of your tables.'
On his last swig of the pint, a cute-looking girl walked in, eyeing the room, obviously looking for someone.
'Chelsea! Over here!' he started to stand, grin from ear to ear.
The entrance was near my drink well, which I had just happened to be standing in. This night was particularly quiet, and the acoustics allowed me to hear chitter-chatter in the entryway. I look over to the girl after seeing my hopeful's eyes light up, and she had a disgusted look of, 'Dang it' on her face.
She rolled her eyes and made contact with mine, sighed, and said, 'Are you friggin kidding me with this guy?' Then she put on her fake smile, and immediately sat down, avoiding a half-hug attempt by Mr. Hopeful.
The entire date felt forced. Every time I went to check on them, she was ordering another drink, and he was doing his best to try and pull conversation from this girl, who had her face in her phone the entire time.
About an hour later, I watched the girl get up with her purse, announced that she had to use the restroom, and wandered away towards the restrooms. I immediately went over to Mr. Hopeful to ask how his date was going.
'I don't think she likes me...', he trailed off. I gave him a pat on the shoulder and said it looked to me like he was doing everything right. He smiled, thanked me, and I went back to my bar.
The girl never came back. He footed her tab which was 90 bucks worth of drinks and his two pints were eight bucks.
He continued to come back as a regular, and I became his wing-woman. I eventually set up Mr. Hopeful with Ms. Lonely-heart. They're still together."