Vicki Egan-Silcock, writer of Mrs Petticoat, shares her Dos and Don’ts for the first restaurant date..

It is always daunting when meeting somebody for the first time and even worse when this initial interaction occurs in a situation in which so many things can go wrong: a restaurant. If you’re an anxious person like me, you know the very real dangers that may crop up at any given moment. Follow my fool proof guide so that you are prepared for any possible occurrence.

I present: Mrs Petticoat’s guide to The First Restaurant Date:

DO: pre-prepare topics of conversation. Awkward silences are the bane of any first date; have in mind a few questions to ask your date in order to get conversation flowing. My personal favourite is ‘what’s your favourite breed of dog’ as it is a topic of which everybody has an opinion. Also this will establish if they don’t like dogs, in which case you can make a quick exit when you nip to the loo. Other sure fire hits are ‘Team Jolie or Aniston?’ or ‘what is your spirit animal?’ (my answers: golden retriever, Aniston and penguin.)

DON’T: get too drunk. There’s nothing wrong with a small dose of Dutch courage beforehand, but too much of the tipple and you’ll be slurring your words, drooling a bit and confessing that you used to carry a photo of Prince William around in your school blazer pocket.* Nobody ever wishes they’d been more drunk the night before.

DO: familiarise yourself with the Heimlich manoeuvre. What a tragedy it would be to lose the future love of your life at the hands of a piece of under-chewed steak. Perhaps do some weights to improve your upper body strength in preparation as an ineffective manoeuvre could not only prove embarrassing, but potentially deadly.

DON’T: order anything too difficult to eat. Yes we all love a crab claw but a crab shell missile to the face could quickly hinder any blossoming romance. Also avoid any foodstuff that could become lodged within the many crevices of the teeth, soft herbs are not your friend.

DO: wear comfortable clothing- I’m not suggesting you turn up wearing a spacious track suit but if you’ve had to squeeze into your outfit, chances are it’s not going to look much better during a spell of after dinner bloating. You want to be eating muffin tops for pudding, not fashioning them.

DON’T: be afraid to enjoy your food. Being a lover of the gastronomic arts does not make you a greedy guts, nor is it an unattractive quality. Enjoyment of food and of life comes hand in hand. Kate Moss said that ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’; well she’s clearly never eaten so much mayonnaise in one sitting it could be considered a soup.

But above all else be yourself. There is only one of you and if your date doesn’t like that, they’re not THE ONE. Go out and enjoy yourself – order side dishes, share a pudding… To end with a quote ‘One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.’ Virginia Woolf

Find more interesting dating advice on our Manchester advice page.

Disclaimer: People who don’t like dogs deserve love too. But maybe you should cuddle a pug and change your mind?
*Purely fictional. A person who carries a photo of Prince William is surely suspicious**
**I did this. I am not suspicious.