The advice is often “be yourself” when going on a first date, but when it comes to the foods you order being yourself isn’t always the easiest option. How do you appear attractive, open-minded and easy going if your opening line begins “The thing is, I can’t eat…and would you also mind not eating…?”
One piece of research even suggests that doing so could be detrimental to our fragile romantic ambitions. The survey, LoveBites, looks at the perceptions of 4000 singles; it found that 30% of respondents would never date a vegetarian, 66% viewed picky eaters as a major turn off and 32% would be less than impressed if their date had no appreciation of food. It seems food has a strong significance in the world of dating
For food-allergic singles, of course “fussy eating” isn’t a choice. According to eHarmony garlic bread, beans and spaghetti are apparently some of the smelliest, worst and most embarrassing foods you could order. But what do you do if your menu limitations are more serious than risking a spinach leaf between the teeth? Certain foods for some people can be more than just awkward, they can be life threatening.
There are a number of allergy sites giving action plans for these first time dates. Some suggest avoiding the problem by going to a museum or cinema and staying away from food altogether. But others emphasise how important it is to make your date aware of your food allergies. However, the thought of discussing the use of an
EpiPen or antihistamines in detail can be tiresome or too much too soon. And asking your date not to eat certain foods or waiting 4-5 hours after they’ve eaten it takes the spontaneity out of that eagerly awaited kiss.
I have my own host of food triggers to stay away from and one of the worst reactions happened on a first date. We were at a bar drinking wine, my face felt warm after the first sip and pretty worryingly hot after the second drink. When I went to the bathroom, I glanced at my face, now a deep reddish-purple with a defined strip of white positioned perfectly down the middle. It’s as if the red sea had parted on my face. Apparently my date had noticed but felt that if he said something it would embarrass me. But with a heads up from him I might of avoided the tightening throat and shortness of breath I was now experiencing.
Symptoms he did nothing but goggle at whilst making it quite clear he wasn’t going to be leaving with me.
If things develop, sooner or later your date is bound to see you having an allergic reaction. How they deal with it says a lot about the relationship’s future. Do they stay calm or panic? Do they help with medication or taking you to hospital? Are they freaked out? Finding people who are like-minded, or share the same allergy, is naturally easier than trying to date someone who lacks understanding or interest. To that end, the market for diet-specific dating is on the rise.
There’s Glutenfreesingles.com, “a dating, networking, and informative website where you never have to feel alone, awkward, or a burden because you are gluten-free.” Diabetics can try Diabeticdate.com, and there’s SinglesWithFoodAllergies.com, for the food allergic with more than just one allergen, with its lighthearted slogan: “Celiac & sexy? Dairy-free & dynamic?”. All these sites give hope to those who might have given up hope, or just found dating a pain.
The world of dating is changing in so many ways – not least in giving people a platform to talk comfortably about their food specificities. If the food we eat helps determine the people we meet, websites like these can only help the process.