Relationships: Should you order dessert on a first date?

As your dinner date winds down, you dread an inevitable question.

You’ve shared romantic chemistry all night. So you’re not surprised when your boyfriend grips your hands and suggests taking things to the next level.

“Want dessert?”

Well, only if there’s cheesecake on the menu.

Dating etiquette commonly focuses on a restaurant’s main course. Avoid vegetables that will get stuck in your teeth. Skip bread that will give you bad breath.

But I think a date’s final course — dessert — is more indicative of a relationship’s success.

Some women say you should only keep a guy if he orders dessert on the first date.

I followed the belief for a little while, but ended up rejecting men at an alarming pace. Not too many daters are willing to take the dessert plunge quickly.

I don’t blame them. The process isn’t easy.

There’s an initial risk of dessert ordering: the possibility you have an overly sensitive partner who will interpret your suggestion as sign you think he or she is fat.

What’s more, a majority of restaurant desserts are served in shareable portions.

You have to wonder if it’s a good idea to enter shared-plate territory with someone who hasn’t yet revealed the state of his bedroom closet.

And trust me, there’s no nice way to say, “I’m breaking up with you because you put your egg drop soup spoon in our pudding.”

Another drawback to the post-dinner menu?

Desserts come with serious cleanliness concerns. Sure, a potential for spillage accompanies every course of a dinner date.

Yet when you’ve narrowly preserved the integrity of your white shirt amid rib sauce and nacho cheese, you don’t want to take any extra chances. Especially if hot fudge is involved.

Of course, some people will always adopt “dessert, please” as a first-date mantra — boldly defying the challenges of judgment, compromise and messiness.

Many dessert-obsessed daters have an advantage in the romance world. They woo partners with a sense of spontaneity that extends beyond life’s main menu.

(Warning: All bonus points are erased if you mispronounce “tiramisu.”)

If your date doesn’t take the dessert plunge immediately, don’t discard the relationship.

After all, it’s easy to exchange seductive glances over chocolate cake on a first date.

But sharing an ice cream sundae after fighting about finances and household chores?

That’s one of the sweetest things of all.

Sonya Sorich, reporter, can be reached at ssorich@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-571-8516.

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