The men on Hinge want me to eat carbs
This cool girl is tired from the pandemic
Why do men put on their dating app profiles that they’re looking for a woman who eats carbs? Sometimes, they specify that they want someone who eats pasta or who doesn’t order the salad, but thanks to confirmation bias, I keep seeing this interest in women’s food choices on men’s profiles. This, and anything else negative or that comes from an assumption that most women aren’t that thing eg: ‘looking for someone who’s smart,’ is an automatic no for me. But, I find this reference to what women eat particularly disturbing.
Hinge is the dating app du jour in London and it forces you to fill out answers to three prompts of your choosing such as: ‘All I ask is that you…’ or ‘I bet you can’t guess…’ This means, on Hinge, you have three opportunities on your profile to say something about yourself and so, it amazes me that the need for a partner who eats carbs is so often chosen as one of those top three things. I can only presume that these men are very traumatised by an ex who wouldn’t eat pasta.
I get it to an extent. I’m half Greek-Cypriot and food is an important part of ours, like many others’, cultures. Sharing food and meals is social currency and lots of bonding and connections happen over the dinner table. Eating together is a key activity in a relationship. I also agree that fussy eaters can be tiresome and a long list of dietary requirements can suck the joy out of cooking. But, I still find this ask for women who eat carbs sinister. It stirs up the paradox that as women, we’re expected to be both thin, while effortless about it.
I’m a big fan of dating guru Matthew Hussey, whose YouTube channel has millions of subscribers. However, I was watching one of his videos called: The 5 first date moves that leave him wanting more while chopping vegetables and I froze when I heard tip number four. Hussey said: “order the chocolate cake”.
I understand what he’s saying here, Hussey talks a lot about how important it is to be playful on dates. He was also saying it’s fun to be spontaneous and not to hesitate if you secretly both want the dessert but are being too polite. But also, what he’s also doing is telling us to use chocolate cake to communicate to our love interest that we’re fun and cool. This advice is very of our times: imagine if Hussey had told us to light a cigarette after dinner to show how fun and carefree we are, we’d be shocked.
The cool girl monologue from Gone Girl is one I think of often, and that too, is all about how we use food to communicate our coolness:
[The Cool Girl] jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot...The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much!
Being cool is about getting effortlessly to the results society expects of us. We seem to over-value effortlessness, even though nothing is ever effortless. We don’t just do this about food and our bodies, we do the same thing with work and success. I flinch when I hear people use the word luck when talking about their career trajectory. When we minimise our efforts, we minimise ourselves. It’s why I love people who talk openly about their failures and setbacks that are the inevitable path of anyone’s life.
We make the mistake of valuing natural talent like we do a thin woman’s fast metabolism. But if you put the effort in, you can speed up your metabolism just as you can put the effort in to hone your talents. We are undeserving ourselves by trying to be cool and effortless.
But this cool girl is tired from the pandemic. I did a lot of comfort eating and boozing during the first lockdown and I didn’t do much exercise as I was used to. I have no regrets, it was a deeply unsettling and upsetting time for everyone. However, as we potentially head into another lockdown in London, I want to do V2 differently. I’m not giving up on winter, I’m going to put all the effort in to look and feel good and I don’t care how uncool that makes me.