I’m at a restaurant with my boyfriend Robert, intensely studying the chicken portion of the menu, knowing that I should be good, that I should order the grilled chicken with a side of broccoli because it’s healthy and what my sensitive stomach would appreciate.

And then I see them.

Ribs that look like they would just fall right off the bone, lathered in honey barbecue sauce.  Cole slaw that seems to be playfully whispering my name. Fries that have been cooked to the perfect golden brown.

I can’t take my eyes off the picture, and when the waiter comes to take our order, I hear myself asking for a half rack of ribs with all the fixings.

As we’re waiting for our dinner to arrive, I start to laugh.

“I just realized I’ve never eaten ribs in front of you before,” I say to Robert, trying to hold back the unattractive snorting laughter that is threatening to sneak out. “Prepare yourself for this – it won’t be pretty.”

By the time our dinner arrives, I’m hungry enough to vigorously rip the meat off the ribs with my teeth like a cave woman, my elbows up on the table, barbecue sauce all over my face, sticky fingers and hands that no amount of wipes seems to clean.

Robert is grinning at me like crazy as we eat.

“Well,” I say, when I finally come up for air, “We’ve been dating for over a year now. It’s high time you know the truth about what I look like when I eat ribs.”

I lucked out with Robert, on a lot more than just him thinking it’s cute the way I eat ribs. But the dinner got me thinking that maybe if I had eaten ribs on first dates with some of the “winners” I’ve dated over the years, I might have been able to save myself a world of frustration later.

Eating ribs would have shown the other person just how attractive I can be.

When the preverbal gloves come off, the fact of the matter is that on a lot of my previous first dates, my date was not looking for the perfect match personality-wise as I was, but if I was attractive enough for his liking.

I think skipping the makeup and going straight for barbecue sauce covering my face would have been a good way to show my date what he was getting himself into. If he can’t handle me then at my worst (or best, depending on how you look at it), does he really deserve me when I don’t have sauce on every inch of my face, and, let’s be real, also in my hair?

Eating ribs would have shown the other person that I will never be a lady with perfect manners.

I like to pretend I am a classy lady.

But I think the reality is more like I am a classy-ass lady.

Meaning I’m fine to put on fancy clothes and go to fancy events every now and again, but I will want to go to Taco Bell after said fancy event because I will still be hungry.

What better way to show a potential boyfriend that I’m happy to go to his lacrosse banquets or parents’ Christmas party but he better be prepared for me to spill punch on my dress or “accidentally” burp during dinner than for me to bury my head in a plateful of ribs on our first date.

And if you’re wondering, yes, I have been on a first date with a lacrosse player. Draw your own conclusions.

Eating ribs would have proven that I will never be a size 2.  

I have long ago accepted that there will always be a little more of me to love, especially around the middle. I’m a foodie. It’s a huge part of who I am. (See what I did there?)

But I have dated several guys in the past who think the Taco Bells runs previously mentioned were just a phase and that they could convince me to shed a few or 20 pounds. And ordering a small salad on a first date because I’m nervously not hungry has proved a good way to make a guy think, “This girl just ordered a side salad as her main meal. That must mean she always eats like this.”

Maybe me digging into a full slab of ribs would have cleared that up.

Maybe me digging into a full slab of ribs would have cleared a lot of things up for previous boys I was silly enough to date.

But I’m far too busy finishing up this plate of ribs and cole slaw and French fries dipped in ranch dressing (remember I said I was a classy-ass lady?) and looking at my perfectly wonderful man of a boyfriend as he watches me with a smile on his face to think twice about those silly boys.