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Viral list of unacceptable first dates sparks heated debate online

The list has even caught the attention of some celebrities — including women — who claim that men just can't seem to catch a break.
Stock images of people on dates.
Posted at 2:36 PM, Oct 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-25 14:36:52-04

Dating can already be complicated and there are a lot of unspoken rules, but now there's a new laundry list going viral that men must now take into account. 

The list — allegedly compiled by women — was shared by @duvalpromo on Instagram and is now making its rounds on social media, sparking a heated debate over places the women said they find absolutely unacceptable for a first date. 

Now, some of the spots may come as no surprise — I mean, who really wants to go to a Denny's or Waffle House for a first date? But others on the list are sparking controversy among men, who claim there's just nothing they can do to keep the ladies happy.

I personally see two right off the bat that now make me guilty. My apologies for thinking a movie and bowling was the best I could do in seventh grade.

Anyway, here's the list in question:

Nearly half of U.S. adults — and a majority of women — say that dating has become more difficult in the last 10 years or so, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. But the findings are based on data from 2019, and I'd go as far to say those numbers are probably much higher now based on the perplexity of this list.

It's worth noting that this list obviously doesn't apply to all women, just a select few who seemingly submitted their preferences. And the general consensus can probably agree that places like church or a family reunion aren't necessarily the best places to win over the heart of a person you're meeting for the first time. 

But seriously, ladies, what did most of these delicious restaurant chains do to you? The list has even caught the attention of some celebrities — including women — who claim the men just can't seem to win.

"Well damn, where can we go? Ladies, what IS an acceptable first date??" sports journalist and radio host Stephen A. Smith said on X.

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TV personality Demetria Obilor also weighed in on the debate, defending one popular restaurant on the list. 

"If you won't go to Cheesecake Factory on a first date, you are the problem," she said in a video posted on Instagram. "There is nothing wrong with going to Cheesecake Factory on a first date. In fact, I thought it was low-key thoughtful because when you’re still getting to know someone you don’t know what they love to eat yet and Cheesecake has like 10,000 items on the menu." 

Meanwhile, American rapper and actor LL Cool J posted to X on Tuesday saying "I'm going to Cheesecake Factory tonight." 

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Anna Brown is a researcher who has written extensively about American experiences with dating and related issues, and she says dating has already become more complicated over the past decade in an increasingly digital America with the rise of social media and dating apps.

Not to mention how tough it was for single people during the pandemic.

So what is it, ladies? Do you agree with this list or has pop culture taken things a bit too far on this one?  

As for the men, good luck out there.