DHD: a term used at colleges across America to refer to a Dining Hall Date. Commonly used in passing for topics like, “How was that DHD between classes yesterday?” or “Dude it’s getting kind of serious, maybe I should take her on a DHD,” Dining Hall Dates have found their place at the top of the list of most common college date spots. But how does one approach said DHD? What prior knowledge needs to be addressed before being thrown into this overwhelming realm? How does one guarantee a future DHD? Let’s find out.
Let’s start from the very beginning: the initiation of a DHD. As a freshman, I’m pretty much always able to pull the “when’s your next class? Oh, me too! Want to get food before?” card – one of the few perks of being a newbie to campus. My one piece of advice is to hop on that early in the semester so it doesn’t get past the awkward hump where lunch buddies have become cemented in stone. Regardless of year, the underlying theme of the initiation is confidence. While it may seem daunting to ask the cute guy or girl in front of you to grab some food, for lack of a better cliché, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
Okay, so now you’ve hopefully landed a time and place for the date to occur. Solid. Good work. Will it be North Dining Hall or South? Will it be before the 6:30 rush hour or during? What will you wear? Speaking from experience in Midwest weather (thank you, Notre Dame), I’m always a fan of picking the dining hall geographically closest to me to avoid sweat, oily faces and god forbid – body odor. I’m also always a fan of avoiding rush hour on DHDs because who really wants to be surrounded by a swarm of people speculating on the seriousness of the relationship?
Oh, and don’t forget outfit selection. While I’m always a fan of showing some skin, I try to rock the high-neck shirt look for DHDs because there’s nothing worse than leaning over those uncomfortably-positioned tables and revealing a little bit more than you anticipated for a first Dining Hall excursion. For guys, please don’t come straight from a workout. That being said, in the end, your style is totally up to you.
Another tip is to always consider the lighting in the dining hall. At Notre Dame – especially during the day – the lighting is rather unforgiving. I always try to limit my face makeup usage because I don’t like guys getting the impression that I cake it on. Guys, I would suggest steering clear from makeup, but again that’s just a suggestion.
Now: the actual logistics of the date. Always scope out a spot to put your bag and silverware down before getting food (ends of tables work best because you won’t feel stuck between two conversations happening on either side of you). In case you lose your DHD-lover in the whirlwind of cafeteria lines, it’s always good to have a meeting place to avoid aimless wandering and awkward waving across the Dining Hall.
As for food, avoid red flag foods like stuck-in-your-teeth-broccoli, cream-stain-on-the-lip-alfredo and bound-to-leave-a-not-so-nice-after-breath garlic bread. Other than that, you should be in the clear. Depends on the person you are, but you can try to show off your healthy eating habits or in my case, display your famed not-so-healthy eating regimen (chicken fingers and fries for days). Either way, it gives you something to talk about if the conversation runs dry.
In relation to drinks, I’m always an advocate for the one-drink-max rule, because there’s nothing worse then walking back to your seat with two drinks praying they don’t tumble off the side of your tray and merit a full-cafeteria applause. Regardless of my love of risk-taking, I would advise sticking to one drink for the first impression.
After a hopefully successful walk back to the seats of choice, I always try to face the side of the cafeteria with the most action so I can pick out some random person from the scene behind him and play the classic “let’s make up a story about his life” game. This comes in handy if the date is dry, but it’s a personal favorite of mine even if the date is going dandy. In reference to the actual consumption of food itself, I’m always a proponent of slow eating with small bites because there’s nothing worse than being asked a question and having to wait thirty minutes for the cashew chicken to make it’s way down the hatch.
For some, DHD is their middle name, while others sometimes struggle with the awkwardness of the situation as a whole. Regardless, anyone with the courage to ask you on a DHD is worth the time. Good luck DHD’ing!