There's something missing in this story. I believe that servers are trained to ensure that they have tended to each person's drink/meal interests. The restaurant wants to ensure that everyone is asked so that they can make the maximum amount of money. The LW must have refused anything when the server asked, because her date didn't offer?!? If I was the date, I would be thinking that she was the strange bird!!!
I also can't imagine attending a dinner date and my date refusing food and there be no discussion about that. I would be concerned that my date didn't approve of the restaurant choice. Maybe he/she has diet restrictions that the restaurant cannot attend to??? Maybe I misunderstood the agreed upon arrangements??? Maybe my date has changed his/her mind about me and is trying to end the date early??? Either way, I would be trying to find a polite way to say, "You didn't want dinner?"
In every first date dining experiences that I have had, the assumption has always been that everyone is eating. The food talk is often part of the ice breaker portion. The only situation when I might assume to not order food might be if the date was set-up to be drinks. "Would you care to get a drink with me at Hometown Pub?" If my date happened to order food in that situation, I would likely match that.
But yes, tattoos and piercings are ruining our way of life!!!
That's not always the case. Some servers might assume if they gave a menu to one person at the table, and that person ordered, the other person would have been consulted.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."