If dating is like the Hunger Games, getting back in the ring after a break up is the second reaping. But despite the long-lasting battle scars (yes, I’m talking about foot fetish guy), I’ve made the brave decision to volunteer as Tribute.
These days my key criteria for a good date aren’t quite as extensive as they used to be. I just want someone who’s funny, equally pissed off about Brexit and shares my love for eating things.
It’s fair to say food is my biggest passion in life. I love it so much that browsing restaurant menus online has become a legitimate hobby and sometimes I go to bed with a bag of crisps as a comfort blanket in case I get hungry in the night. I know I’m supposed to have interesting pastimes like skydiving or playing the violin or French philosophy, but I don’t. My passion is channelling the spirit of a morbidly obese woman through the vast consumption of baked goods- preferably in some sort of brunch/lunch/dinner hybrid situation.
When I first discovered my ex was fussy, I was already in over my head. I ignored the glaring warning signs (refusal to eat eggs, fish, anything with milk, anything with mayonnaise or any vegetables) because CHEMISTRY. A year and half later, as I nursed my broken heart through the not-so-festive period, I realised there was a silver lining to this miserable shit show. Not only could I cook meals without having to hide the vegetables, I could find a man who shares my (borderline obsessional) passion for food.
It seems I was a bit hasty. A month of perusing dating sites has proved there’s more weird eating habits on Tinder than gym selfies and shit pictures of people posing with a drugged-up tiger in South-East Asia. There’s the obvious ones to avoid: vegans, bodybuilders, people who think juice fasts are a good idea and anyone who doesn’t eat carbs. But then there’s the secret weirdos, hiding in the woodwork, ready to come out and dump their food crazy on you.
Last week I went out with a Greek cheese racist. I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW CHEESE RACISM WAS A THING.
To be honest the date didn’t start well. I managed to suggest a pub and then walked to the wrong one, which he didn’t find nearly as funny as I did. One hour later the conversation was flagging and he’d only taken about two sips of beer. I’d finished my wine and was wondering whether there’s a polite way to ask if you can finish someone’s drink to kill the tedium. (In case anyone else has ever wondered this, there definitely isn’t.)
So instead I turned the topic of conversation to my favourite hobby. Was he enjoying the restaurants in London? How did they compare to New York and Greece?
“There are no good Greek restaurants here,” he complained. “If I want Greek food I have to make it myself.” (I’m amazed there isn’t a single decent Greek restaurant in the whole of London but anyway, I digress.)
‘What about British pubs? Roasts… pies…?”
“I don’t like roasts. Or pies. Only Greek pies. Why don’t you have traditional Greek pies here?” I don’t know. Because we’re not in fucking Greece?
But let’s back up here. WHO DOESN’T LIKE ROAST DINNERS!? Honestly, it makes me a bit angry thinking about it- like a mad fat hippo protecting all the baby hippos from poachers.
“Is there anything else you don’t like?” I asked, with the same sort of trepidation usually reserved for approaching a mountain lion.
“It would be easier to list the things I do like,” he replied. “Grilled chicken breast. Only grilled. Definitely not any other kind of chicken. No roast chicken. No fried chicken. NO OTHER KIND OF CHICKEN.” (I think we get the chicken thing.)
“Also, I eat very well done steak. Absolutely no blood or pink anywhere. And I eat fish with salad. Actually, my salmon would sell for £50 in a restaurant.” (Because everyone wants to pay £50 for plain grilled fish, right?)
“What about brunch?”
“No. I hate eggs. I wouldn’t even touch one. They’re disgusting.”
Then he pulled out the big guns.
“Oh and I don’t like cheese.” (I’d mentally left the building by this point.)
“But didn’t you just say you eat cheese pies?”
“Yes, but only Greek cheese. Feta and Halloumi. I only like white cheese that comes from Greece. Definitely no yellow cheese or blue cheese.”
There, in one sentence, he managed to capture my biggest bugbear with fussy eaters. This six foot something man, with a decent career, his own car and a nice home, suddenly looked and sounded like a stroppy three-year-old hurling its spaghetti on the floor. I DON’T LIKE IT. WON’T EAT IT. SHAN’T. I half expected to wee all over the floor just to make a point.
The trouble is, there’s so many of them, lurking in the undergrowth of civilisation with their ridiculous food fads, ruling out entire food groups like some kind of flavour assassin. (A friend of mine in Dubai is currently dating a man who eats nothing but tins of tuna because he ‘doesn’t like cooking’. Even if they get married and have babies, I will never stop thinking of him as ‘tuna boy’.)
I mean, honestly. What fresh fuckery is this? We knock women for cleaning eating but what happened to all the men who eat stuff like normal humans?
To the single men of the world, fuck your weird food fads, your milk aversions and your cheese phobias. If you can’t handle dairy, you can’t handle life.