The psychology of date food: “If he orders Domino’s, he still has a long way to go”

Six months back in the dating game after a decade of dating and what fascinates me the most is the food psychology of dates. Let’s face it, most people turn down dinner on a first date, very 1950s and the potential for awkwardness is scary from the moment you sit down. But at some point we have to refuel and what we choose to eat says it all:


In theory, easy right? But oh the possibilities. In my experience, dates love it if you say you just want pizza, but the potential problems grow faster than sourdough in a wood-fired oven. I learned that the boys who order Domino’s still need to grow up; boys who order one in between don’t understand women (we eat) and boys who go to Waitrose and buy reduced and spicy beef numbers when you mentioned an aversion to very hot will only become friends. Weren’t they listening to anything you said? Aren’t you worth more than £2.83? (Obviously, I speak from experience: the shrunken yellow tag stared at me. I stared at him, wondering if the sex we just had was really that bad.)

Michelin-starred tasting menu

The obvious assumption is that dates who want to eat high-end are just Flash Gordons, but sometimes it turns out they live out of their cars, order Too Good To Go all week, and splash their savvy on meals. refined on weekends. I was taken to a chic, minimalist place in Bristol by someone not too long ago. We sat in library-like silence. “Do you bring all your dates here?” I joked imagining an extremely expensive bill. “The last one, yes,” he said, “but she wanted the vegetarian menu, so I had to have that too and wanted to try the meat version.”

“Wow,” I replied. “I was joking.” What I realized then was that people who love tasting menus care more about food and status than conversation – every few minutes someone would interrupt us to describe the ingredients so that our conversation never takes off. I would have preferred the pizza too, but he wouldn’t have known because he never asked.

People who love tasting menus care more about food and status than conversation

Homemade dinners

Comfort food in a recent storyline was mac and cheese. Meet two. Nice. But made with margarine, not butter, by a guy with a fridge full of turkey mince? This tells you that your new adventure is spending way too much time in the gym. To be fair, he described himself as a “CrossFit w*nker” on his Bumble profile. Another guy went for pheasant which caused our first argument when I refused to eat the tuna-sashimi colored middle. His belief that he was a master chef translated into a lot of arrogance about other things, I’m not sure he should have been that arrogant either.

vegan food

“Do you want anything?” asked the ethical non-monogamous with a partner who knew he was dating other people before Christmas. “I’m fine,” I replied, looking at her vegan box in a Notting Hill deli. This guy was a liberal eco-warrior who used the phrase “down to earth” for a studio apartment that smelt of his elderly parents. We’re friends now but I’ll never forget asking him where the bedroom was and watching him pull a bed out of a closet.

To eat lunch

Scrambled eggs – anyone can cook them, right? First, let’s appreciate the dates that offer breakfast. But let none of us ever utter the words, “I’m making the best scrambled eggs EVER.” If you say that, you really have to pull something out of the bag. Dill. Chili. Anything?

My friend Aldi and I discovered that eggs were directly related to someone’s style in bed. “Long slow scrambled eggs are always better, always moister,” he told me as I tried not to vomit and laugh simultaneously. Genius.

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