It’s believed that 36 million Americans are currently reliant on food stamps to feed themselves. That’s an alarming statistic, and it transpires that it’s just the tip of the iceberg. A new food trend has been uncovered, and while it’s good news for the restaurant business, it’s going to be a genuine eye-opener for Tinder lotharios.
A study from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology has uncovered a new term in the dating lexicon; “foodie calls.” According to SPSP, as many as a third of women agree to date exclusively for free food.
At a glance, this is actually amusing. It also means that you have a fun game lined up next time you’re eating out. Look around the eatery – how many couples seem to be genuinely enjoying each other’s company, and how many are scanning the menu for the most exclusive meal they can blag?
You may need to get your own house in order first, though. If your date orders the lobster, you may find that your suggestion of a second date at a bowling alley is rebuffed.
Will date for food
All jokes aside, however, it’s worth investigating what has sparked this phenomenon.
Is this a uniquely middle-class approach to the food stamp issue? If so, that’s deeply concerning, and suggests that the income and class divide runs deeper than anybody realizes.
That these women otherwise struggle to make ends meet, but would not receive any assistance without the suggestion of a romantic liaison, also paints a deeply unflattering picture of our society. Let’s all strive to do better.
Of course, there is also the possibility that these dates are accepted for the experience as much as the company. OK, maybe the experience drastically outweighs the company. If an invitation is extended to an exclusive and high-end restaurant that’s why out of a typical price range, the offer can be difficult to refuse.
And look, there’s always hope that chemistry can blossom in such a setting.
If you’re concerned about whether it’s your sparkling personality or the promise of a mouthwatering meal that’s led to the liaison, consider not mentioning the date destination. Very few women on a foodie call will accept the risk of a date in Burger King, but more metaphorical restaurant royalty is tougher to resist.
These are just suppositions and theories. We cannot actually say for sure why people accept dates in exchange for free food. The study did throw up some interesting data on the type of individual that engages in a foodie call, though.
The dark side of the diner
SPSP surveyed a wide range of women for their study, but we should say this – there is no way of knowing that their results speak for all women. In fact, we can’t stress that enough. Men, do not start rummaging through your credit card statements and receipts and demanding to know if your partner remembers a magical night in a fine restaurant.
What was discovered, however, is that the majority of the women that engaged in foodie calls felt no remorse. In fact, they considered it to be wholly appropriate behavior. Upon further investigation, these women scored highly on what’s referred to as the dark triad of personality traits.
The dark triad is a trinity of qualities that are considered evil and unappealing in human beings. These are:
- Machiavellianism. A willingness to deceive, manipulate, and use others to achieve your own ambitions. Machiavellianism really relies upon an ability to detach emotion from a situation and look at other people as a means to an end.
- Narcissism. An unstinting adoration of yourself, coupled with a firm belief that you are superior to those around you. Narcissist is convinced they are destined for great things, and that others should do what they can to accommodate this ascent.
- Psychopathy. Nothing to do with Norman Bates, kitchen knives, and showers – psychopathy in its purest form is an absence of emotion, and an inability – or unwillingness – to emphasize. A genuine psychopath will be a constant thrill-seeker, looking for new experiences without considering the consequences.
You can take the dark triad test yourself – there are free examples all over the Internet. Relax when you get your results; unless you’re Mary Poppins and the Dalai Lama rolled into one, you won’t have a 0% score.
The point is, however, that it suggests that such individuals would not think twice about a foodie call. These diners feel that they deserve a luxurious experience. The person inviting them to dinner made a choice and needs to stand by it. Nothing was agreed beforehand that it would lead to a relationship – dating involves taking a chance.
If nothing else, somebody with a darker personality would consider an evening in their company a fair trade for a costly meal. And let’s be honest, the kind of people that arrange a first date in a fancy restaurant? They may not be scoring rock bottom on the dark triad test themselves.
Choosing a location for such an event is like a peacock ruffling its feathers. A message is being sent about wealth, power, and status. Sometimes, it seems, two can play that game.
Besides, before anybody starts clutching at their pearls and demanding a fainting couch, ask yourself why you have arranged dates in the past. Has every one of your evening endeavors been arranged with a pure spirit of innocence?
Everybody has hopes and expectations for how a date will play out, and they don’t always end with a marriage. Sometimes you’re the player, and sometimes you get played. Those are the rules of the game.
So how can you tell if a date is genuine?
This information may be coming as something of a blow to the ego of many readers. Suddenly, you’ll be thinking back to all those magical first dates that seemed not to lead to anything. Were you just being used as a sustenance ATM?
The truth is, there is no real way of knowing. Yes, it’s possible that once the hors d’ oeuvres were sampled and that particular itch was scratched, you had no further use. Alternatively, you may have both entered a date with the best of intentions, but the chemistry just wasn’t there.
That happens – it doesn’t mean that anybody is an evil mastermind, secretly twirling a mustache and cackling away as they think about the free meal they just enjoyed. If you’re worried about whether you’re just a foodie call, think back to some of your dating patterns. If your invitations are only accepted when you suggest dinner, then it’s something to bear in mind.
Throw in the occasional activity date, with no access to good food or fine wine. You’ll quickly learn if your potential paramour thinks that you have more to offer than an American Express card and the ability to jump a waiting list for a restaurant table.
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