Is The Cheesecake Factory a bad place to take a first date? The internet is divided.

Lots of folks have experienced a bad date. But it’s not every day someone exposes the intimate details of their bad date online — down to the choice of restaurant their prospective date chose — garnering an audience of millions. For one woman, that happened when she pulled up to The Cheesecake Factory for a first date.

Yes, the popular chain restaurant famed for its Bible-length menu is going viral for reasons likely making its marketing department lose sleep. A TikTok of a woman refusing to exit a vehicle for a date at The Cheesecake Factory has made the rounds on social media platforms this past week.

The TikTok in question, posted by a woman speaking directly into a camera, went into detail about how this was, apparently, a great offense.

“Who takes someone that looks like this to a chain restaurant?” she said in the video.”Look at me: I cannot go in Cheesecake Factory. I will die.”

The whole thing has since taken on a life of its own. So much so that the original TikTok isn’t even the issue in question anymore. At more than six minutes long, the video features the woman dressing down her would-be suitor outside of The Cheesecake Factory. He also poked back at her for being late and they then went back and forth, arguing in the front seats of a car. And, not for nothing, these sorts of TikToks are often staged and played up for the camera because…well, duh…people want attention.

If it was for attention, it worked. Millions of people have watched the interaction. The response has largely been in defense of the guy and The Cheesecake Factory. Typical comments were: “What’s wrong with the cheesecake factory” to “he seems so nice I would’ve been so hyped for the cheesecake factory,” and “I like the Cheesecake Factory….Girl bye…. He dodged a bullet.. perfectly played.”

Then, of course, the online world began having a Discourse because that’s what people online do. A list of 28 places not to take a date went viral, for instance. Twenty-eight places! (What’s left?) Things only escalated from there.

Popular sports talking head Stephen A. Smith ranted about it. TL;DR: “Ain’t nothing wrong with the Cheesecake Factory.” The freaking View had a segment on it. The brands posted about it, including The Cheesecake Factory itself.

In some ways, you do begin to feel bad for the woman who posted the original TikTok. Was it shady, over-the-top, and slightly unnecessary? Yes, of course. There was no way, however, she could know it would be this big of a deal. But in our culture where everyone needs to post about going to the viral new place, the relatively bland reliability of The Cheesecake Factory might feel like an insult. Never mind the fact that the restaurant itself estimates the average guest spends about $30, which isn’t that cheap. If you’re springing for drinks, dessert, and tipping no less than 20 percent, it seems the bill for a first date is likely to be at least $100.

The jokes about the whole saga will keep on coming for a while.

First dates are tough. Picking a restaurant is difficult even for couples who’ve been together for years, let alone two people just meeting.

It’d be great to support locally owned restaurants, but sometimes people want to play it safe with a place that has hundreds of options. There are worse things. And hey, at least the dessert will be good. That is if you enter the restaurant from the parking lot.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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