It’s no secret the food world is overwhelmingly dominated by men. That doesn’t mean great female culinarians don’t exist, because they totally do. Some of my personal idols include Alex Guarnaschelli, a total sweetheart yet hardass known for her scrutiny as a judge on the show Chopped, Amanda Freitag, an almost docile woman who can turn on the heat literally and figuratively in the kitchen, and Chrissy Teigen, because she eats whatever she wants and doesn’t give a fuck.
I’m not saying I’m even close to these professionals on the totem pole – I’m not an officially trained chef – but I do know a lot about food. My entire life basically consists of developing recipes for my blog The Bacon Princess, eating food, photographing food, writing about food, reviewing restaurants, maybe sleeping, and then repeating the whole cycle every day.
When I meet new people my age, I feel almost like a circus attraction. Living in Washington, D.C. it’s rare to find a millennial employed by someone other than the Federal Government, and when they find out I “do” food as a living, the fact usually leaves them agape. In this case, I’m just talking about meeting new friends. Dating is a completely different story. When a guy first hears that a) I love bacon (hence my blog name) and b) I eat a lot of food, it’s almost like their brain short circuits for about 30 seconds straight until they know how to process it.
Here are some of the guys I have encountered in the dating world after they find out I’m a girl who is passionate about food:
1. The Showoff
I went on a date with a seemingly pleasant gentleman to a restaurant in Washington, D.C. called Thip Khao. The joint serves traditional Laotian cuisine, and it is fantastic. I actually think the guy picked this place, which was refreshing. But when the meal started, I could tell why.
This fucker had apparently traveled through Laos on some janky boat, and because of this, considered himself an expert in everything Laotian. It took nearly 45 minutes to place our damn order, because he kept engaging the server in detailed conversations about the most obscure things on the menu, proving that he knew what they were, in an attempt to dazzle me with his vast knowledge of Laotian cuisine. On the walk back to the metro, I finally thought we had landed on a normal conversation about childhood pets, but after I mentioned my family had a dog he replied, “I’ve never had a dog as a pet, but I’ve eaten one before.”
2. The Boozehound
Just because I appreciate great food doesn’t mean I need to eat like a princess all the time. But when a guy suggests we have our first date at a grungy bar known for buckets of unidentifiable liquors and blacking out on Saturday nights, I just can’t. So instead, I suggested one of my favorite restaurants in the city I knew had great happy hour deals, and an impressive assortment of local beers on tap. Guys like beer, right?
Turns out the dude was already two vodka cranberry’s deep by the time I arrived fashionably late by a whopping two minutes. The vodka cranberries continued throughout the duration of the date, which by some miracle lasted ninety minutes instead of thirty. Turns out we should have just gone to the dingy bar…or maybe he could have just gone and imbibed without me.
3. The Plain John
Washington, D.C. has some pretty awesome food places. One of my personal favorites is a local chain called &pizza, where you can customize your pie and wait while it’s made right in front of you. However, the best thing about &pizza is that there is only a base price for customizable pizzas, rather than charging you extra per topping, for which many pizza places are notorious.
I don’t know about you, but I go wild with that shit. I’m going to get everything that will physically fit put on that pizza. If you’re a little more modest, I can understand opting for maybe two or three toppings. But I went here with a dude and he legit ordered a straight cheese pizza. Not even three-cheese or four-cheese. Literally just crust with sauce and cheese on it. Do you know what this tells me about your moves in the bedroom? Bye.
4. The Tinder (Douchebag)
Admittedly, I hopped on the Tinder bandwagon in its early days. It was good clean fun to me. I swiped at work when things were slow, on the metro when I could get service, whenever I was on the toilet – you get the picture. My profile definitely mentions my affinity for bacon, and this has turned out to be a great conversation starter.
One day, I opened a message from a pretty attractive guy. He was impressed I liked bacon. Most guys are. He checked out my Instagram, did his homework, and asked an incredibly reasonable question: “Do you get paid to promote bacon?” I replied that I didn’t but have been given ample supply of the fine meat in the past by certain purveyors. He then says, “Cool. You eat a lot of bacon, but I like that you’re still trim.” Glad my body is good enough for you, bro.
5. The Carnivore
A few weeks ago I was speaking with another guy from Tinder about food. He worked in the restaurant industry and also sold fine wines, so I felt at home. We had a good amount to talk about. For some reason he was really shocked when I said one of my favorite foods was chicken wings, so we set a date to get our wings on. I would assume many girls are overly conscious about what they look like while eating wings, or if they have sauce on their face, but I don’t really give a shit.
I met with the guy in-person, ready to get some wings in my belly, but he decided to go for the gold and order ostrich. I’m not really sure why this barbecue place decided to have ostrich on the menu, but they did and the dude ate every bite. I have to admit, I was a little turned on. I love a man who can eat adventurously.
6. The Guy That Makes It Weird
When I was living in Chicago, I got a lot more messages about the bacon aspect of my Tinder profile. I am correlating this to the fact that Chicago is a meat-eater’s dream, with hot dogs, cheese steaks, and deep-dish pizzas loaded with pepperoni around every corner. One day, I received a first message from a guy that literally said, “How about you come over, I cover you in bacon, and let’s get busy.” I briefly decided to entertain his fantasy by asking “Cooked or raw?” to which he replied “raw.” Strange. Am I Lady Gaga, or something? Even I’m not into that. The same guy actually happened to walk into the restaurant I worked at one night and we exchanged a very awkward glance of recognition for a painful amount of time.
7. The One Who Just Really Doesn’t Get It
I have a weakness for cocktails. Not rum and cokes or bourbon gingers, but carefully crafted cocktails. Obviously I drink the shitty ones too because I’m not rich and I am indeed a human, but I can appreciate the time and skill it takes to make a good drink. In a surprising twist of events for me, I actually “dated” a guy for nearly three months. He was alright. Except, he did not share my affinity for skillfully composed food or drink. This turned out to be an issue.
Knowing that he liked whiskey, I took him to Jack Rose Dining Saloon, a well-known whiskey bar in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of DC. This place is legendary. They have so many different types of whiskey, they literally have one of those library ladder things to move around just so they can navigate the whole collection. I thought he would love it. But then he saw the price of one cocktail was $13. Sure, that’s steep, but for the quality, is it really? Good whiskey can be pretty expensive.
He explicitly said, “I’m not going to buy a cocktail at that price when I can buy a whole unit of whiskey for less.” Bruh, what kind of piss whiskey you drinkin’? I’m out.
8. The Wine and Dine-r
Every once in awhile, I am impressed by the culinary aptitude of a man my age. I don’t mean to sound degrading at all, but there are a lot of people in the “eat to live” camp versus the “live to eat camp.” One time, a dashing gentleman invited me over to his apartment for a home-cooked meal. I obliged mostly because I thought this would be pretty entertaining for me, watching a guy struggle in the kitchen.
But this man did not struggle. When I arrived, there was already a bottle of red wine in the decanter. A DECANTER! I didn’t know people actually owned those things. When I asked him what was for dinner, he said sushi-grade Ahi tuna with freshly sliced (not pre-packaged!) kiwi as a garnish. This was impressive. Needless to say, that date went well.
9. The Exhibitionist
There are always those guys on Tinder, whatever dating app, or even in-person that are trying to see you naked from the get go. You may call these people “males,” but I prefer to refer them to exhibitionists. I was approached by a scantily clad muscle man on Tinder who was trying to get the conversation started, but instead of asking for a nude, he decided to mix it up. He said, “Hi. How’s it going? Care to exchange Snapchat? Send me your best food baby photo and I’ll send back a photo of my abs. Fair deal?” Whether this guy is turned on by food or baby bumps, the world will never know.
While I’m not certain whether other females who chose food as a livelihood have encountered the same near-freak incidents as I have, I do know that food is and will always be my most loyal love. As long as I remain the type of girl who values humor and a great story, I shall toil forward through the dating game, ready for whatever characters I meet next.