pre-dinner small talk- very little good can come of this. as a tremendously awkward person who has to repeat everything internally five times before it actually gets out, this is sheer torture. you end up saying inane things like "i love cheese" and "what was your favorite breakfast cereal when you were young?" more personal questions present a veritable minefield of conversational disasters- divorced parents, failed careers and messy break-ups.
facial control- the chief inhibitor of pre-dinner small talk, as it's extremely difficult to be articulate while trying to maintain a poised, becomming, detached but willing expression.
the epiphany- it can become pretty obvious, even after only preliminary pre-dinner small talk, how the date is going. if it is horrendous, then you have the agony of enduring a whole dinner (which is why Les recommends going to a museum for a first date, because you can point toward an exhibit and run for the door).
ordering- visions of the calamities that could arise during the eating of each dish severely impair the decision-making process. a salad is always a safe bet but then you're left battling colassal stalks of lettuce or uncuttable cucumbers all night.
the bread plate- crumbs! everywhere!
chewing- inevitably during the course of dinner, a question will be posed immediately following a rather too large bite. so not only are you left chewing while the date sits anticipating a reply, but you chew for an over-long time as everything just hangs there for a moment- being brutally awkward.
the payment conundrum- the moment where you know you're probably not going to have to pay but kind of want to pay and think you should offer to pay but would be offended if you actually had to pay.
am writing from experience here. i survived a waffle house first date. on the only date that overalls might have been appropriate, i wore a red dress and red heels (roxanne!) and was taken to the waffle house for dinner. the salad had colassal stalks.