When I broke up with my last girlfriend I received a rather venomous email chastising me for all my personality flaws. Needless to say this was a mighty long email. One sentence I'll never forget had to do with her opinion about my manners. When we were dating, this girlfriend used to think it was cute that I wrapped my whole hand around my fork (kinda like a cave man).

But now, in the wake of our breakup, she was holding it against me:

"You are an ignorant (learn how to use utensils) bastard."

And just the other day, my friend Margaret quipped that I could use some help from Emily Post. I couldn't argue, considering I didn't know who Emily Post was until I Googled her. Apparently she's an expert on etiquette, so she'd have a field day with me.

Honestly, I try very hard on first dates to mind my manners, but I guess the "real me" appears after I've dated a girl for a while.

We can all agree that bad manners can be dealbreakers on first dates. Here are a few examples of ones that plague me:

Utensil Confusion

When I go to fancy restaurants I'm confronted with a confusing array of forks and glasses. My only hope is to watch how other people use their utensils. I believe you're supposed to start from the outside and work in. I'm also guilty of grabbing the wrong water and wine glass at round tables.

Eating Manners

Apparently, I eat bread like a Cro-Magnon man. A friend noticed me eating pieces of bread when we were out to dinner without breaking it into smaller pieces first. She pointed out my faux-pas but all I thought was, who wants to waste time doing that?

Another friend tells me (keep in mind only women give me a hard time about my manners) that I put my face too close to the bowl when I'm eating soup. Soup is my favorite food, so why wouldn't I want to stick my face in it?

Talking With My Mouth Full

Talking with your full creates all sorts of problems. Not only is it a visibly bad habit, but you might spit food on your date, and it makes you speak in an incomprehensible language.

The Eternal Bathroom Visit

First dates are already awkward, so no one wants to be left alone to focus on his/her nerves. Sometimes you can't help it, but leaving your date alone at the table for long periods of time is rude.

Using the Phone

Talking to your friends on your phone, even if it's via text, makes you look disconnected and bored with your date.

Rude Ordering Behavior

First you have the classic: ordering for your date. Then, you have a number of obnoxious behaviors such as mistreating servers or trying to be cool by sending wine back even though you're not sure why you did it. A friend of mine told me that ordering wine by the glass instead of by the bottle is a dealbreaker as well. I would have never thought that.

Risky Food Orders

When you're going out with someone for the first time, don't get too risky with your restaurant choice. A friend of mine told me a date took her to a sushi spot (kind of risky already). In addition to ordering for her, he ordered something she described as "hairy spider legs sticking out of a roll". When in doubt, stick to safer stuff.

What kinds of bad manners are dealbreakers for you on first dates? Do you agree with my list?

What Do You Think?