The movie High Fidelity is my relationship bible. The answer to every relationship problem I’ve had can be found within those 113 minutes of film. The foundation upon which all of my adult relationships rest can be summed up by the following line of dialogue:
“What really matters is what you like, not what you are like. Books, records, films -- these things matter. Call me shallow but it's the fuckin' truth.”
Let’s add “food and drink” to the list as well, though. Nothing forms a stronger bond than sharing a mutually enjoyable meal, bonus points if there is an element of guilt involved. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but this is how I know Felicia and I could hang super hard. We share a love of food, both gourmet and disgusting.
Obviously you don’t need to have identical tastes in every category to have a strong relationship. Though Sean and I have extremely similar taste in music, film, and beer, there are some points that our tastes deviate pretty substantially. Patsy Cline for example. My husband does not like Patsy Cline (he thinks she’s “all right, I guess”) and I only recently found this out. (Haha, WHAT BETRAYAL?)
Yes, it’s been a rough time, but we’ve been working through it by listening to a lot of Belle & Sebastian (we are listening to Arab Strap AT THIS EXACT MOMENT). In spite of this, I would say that our music compatibility is around 97%.
But food is a different fucking ball of butter.
Sean does not like:
- Non-cured pork
- Lima beans
- Any other bean, really
- Any shellfish
- Really stinky cheeses
We overcome this with a mutual love of craft beer, The National, and Star Trek.
Sean never actively prevents me from enjoying the foods he dislikes -- in fact he encourages me to order and cook anything I want (and he never complains about smells that I know he finds gross, the dear). This weekend I had some escargot, and I loved it. But you know when you’re eating with someone and you have something amazing, and you’re all “put this in your mouth and thank me for ordering it”?
I was robbed of that. I was robbed of my snail moment.
A lot of my friendships are formed around "what you like" (there’s always an element of “what you are like” that comes into play, but it’s mostly limited to “not being a sociopath”). My friend Stacy (Maid of Honor at my wedding) is dear to me because I never feel remotely self-conscious around her, food-wise. I've never seen her count a calorie, and the last time we were together we ate patty melts and drank milkshakes. We both yearn for our home of Los Angeles, not for the beaches or the “scene,” but for the Jimmy Philly Omelet at Fred 62.
Stacy has other amazing qualities (she’s supportive and boobs) but my favorite thing about her is that we can sit down and eat a block of cheese together without anyone saying anything about “having to zumba this off” or some shit.
All of the above supports my theory that I could never date a health nut. EVERY CONVERSATION would play out à la Maria Bamford: “I'm a gypsy. I’m a sea cow. I know the motor boats are going to hit me, BUT THIS IS WHERE I FUCKING SWIM.”
I just couldn't bang someone who thinks that there is something intrinsically evil about a damn chili dog.
Do other people feel so strongly about “food compatibility”? I’m very good friends with a vegetarian, but we bond over baked goods, crunchy things dipped in cheese, and ethanol. Consuming these things is 80% of what we do together. The other 20% is watching Sweet Genius.
I can't think of a single friend who doesn't share my love of at least one food or drink.
So yes, I think food definitely plays a part in compatibility.
And so do the xoEditors:
Emily’s culinary deal breaker is:
“Dudes who act like Doritos and the like are poison they would never put into their body. It's scientifically engineered to be delicious, don't act like it's not. I can't date somebody who doesn't want to eat really disgusting things sometimes.”
She later added something that I couldn't agree with harder:
“OH, and what about people who are stingy restaurant orderers? I need to order lots of stuff -- appetizers, dessert, etc.”
“Hmm. It is always weirdly comforting for me to be able to share food with someone - it's like, you're having an experience that you want someone else to partake in and discuss with you. I'm also a huge mooch so I enjoy dating vegans so I can eat off their plates. The only time I've ever refused to kiss someone for meat purposes is when my BFF had JUST eaten a hot dog and it was like coming out of his pores.”
(“For meat purposes” is now my new favorite saying.)
She later added:
“I've always lived with/dated meat eaters, pretty much (actually I hated when one of my boyfriends in college went vegan because he was sooooo sanctimonious about it and would lecture me about how bad eggs were EVEN THOUGH I DON'T EAT THEM.)”
Natalie put it most succinctly:
“If I became a vegetarian I think Chris and I would break up.”
India and I couldn't date:
"I don't think I could seriously date a meat eater. The thought of raw meat in my fridge freaks me the fuck out."
BUT Daisy and I could date:
"I could NEVER date someone who was gluten-free. Or vegan. Or wasn't into ordering dessert. I could *maybe* deal with a vegetarian, but... no. I take that back. I need a meat eater."
Also (and I feel this way as well): "MUST LIKE DORITOS."
"My only gripe is picky eaters/people who won't try things. I also couldn't be with a guy who couldn't cook. I love food and want to date someone who loves it too. And like no dudes who get all frowny about me being a vegetarian. I never preach at meat eaters so leave me alone if I order the tempeh, bro."
"It is really tough to cohabitate with someone who doesn't/won't eat the same things as you. My only sticking point is really picky eaters -- but maybe that's because I spend like 50% of my time as a mom trying to get Oliver to finish his goddamn vegetables."
Marianne has a very healthy (no pun intended!) take on the whole thing:
"Ed is gluten-free for health reasons and I have a ton of food allergies.
Through basic respect for each other's needs, I usually don't eat bread in the house and he doesn't eat *insert huge number of my food allergies here*. We have enough meals where we aren't together that the ones we DO eat together are a pleasure simply because we are hanging out.
I could not date someone who assigned strict moral value to food (this is separate from veganism, which falls into food ethics, I think, as opposed to morality). Basically because the most boring thing on earth is listening to someone justify eating "bad" foods or judging others for enjoying them."
Rebecca is trying to steal my boyfriend:
"I've got no real food dealbreakers, outside of human flesh and even then Mads Mikkelsen is quickly winning me over."
(MADS IF YOU ARE READING THIS I WILL EAT HUMAN FLESH WITH YOU.)
And s.e. had this to say:
"What about stingy restaurant TIPPERS?!" (We all agreed they suck).
"I'm pretty much all for everyone minding their own damn plates, honestly." (Indeed).
And there you have it. Edible deal breakers. Does food affect your relationships? What do you think matters more, what you like or what you are like?