Life Forget the booty call, the foodie call is the new dating (out)rage
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Forget the booty call, the foodie call is the new dating (out)rage

Cheers baby! On a foodie call, he's toasting future good times, she's toasting a killer dessert. Photo: Getty
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A hot new study finds that up to one in three women will admit to going on a foodie call – a date with a fellow they’re not attracted to, for the sake of a free dinner. The fancier the better.

I’m shocked. I figured many more women would have ridden that gravy train.

The study, from Azusa Pacific University – which describes itself as a “top Christian school in Southern California” – goes out of its way to suggest that women who trade their sparkly company for a plate of lamb chops and half a bottle of shiraz are no less than monsters without conscience. And also old-fashioned.

They came to this conclusion after carrying out two separate studies – involving a total 1177 women – that examined their gender attitudes, personality and foodie call history.

Perhaps, predictably, the two-thirds who claimed to have never been on a foodie call, described the practise as socially unacceptable.

Burn the steak, not the caller

Still, they fell short of condemning the foodie caller volunteers to hell.

The researchers, however, pointed out that psychopathy, Machiavellianism and narcissism personality traits were more present in foodie callers than in women who stayed home with a tuna bake.

According to a statement from the university: “Upon further analysis, the social and personality psychology researchers found that women who scored high on the ‘dark triad’ of personality traits (i.e., psychopathy, Machiavellianism, narcissism), as well as expressed traditional gender role beliefs, were most likely to engage in a foodie call and find it acceptable.”

In what was probably a rationale for exploring the darker side of foodie callers, social psychologist Dr Brian Collison observed: “Several dark traits have been linked to deceptive and exploitative behaviour in romantic relationships, such as one-night stands, faking an orgasm, or sending unsolicited sexual pictures.”

Big news or old news?

The study has been widely reported – from The New York Post to The Jakarta Post.

And picked up by dating advice sites such as Bolde which declared: “Foodie Calls Are Becoming A Big Problem In Dating — Are You Guilty?”

Foodie callers strike back

Now and then, a foodie caller comes out of her crumb-littered closet to brazenly say: “So what?’

“Why I Have No Regrets About Sneating On Tinder,” headlines a confession from university student Sarah at advice site Whim. (Sneating means sneakily dating to eat, a term for foodie calling that didn’t take.)

Sarah’s story is almost a parody of the fallen woman coming clean: “Being a student is financially tough, and I’m the first to admit I don’t handle money as well as I probably should. What I do to get by could be seen as ethically murky, but I’m confident I’m not doing anything illegal.”

So, yeah – she frequently made with the baby-doll eyes, tucked into a cassoulet and beat it home afterwards to make with the textbooks.

Men know they’re being had

All this suggests that men are rubes. Not so. Back in 2016, the LA Times published “How I found out she was only using me for free dinners and drinks,” by a writer named Giorgio Selvaggio.

He reported: “We ordered four dishes to share, and I didn’t have to fight her for the privilege of paying the whole $130 check myself.”

University of Melbourne sociologist Dan Woodman isn’t sure there’s a full-blown moral panic about behaviour that’s been going on ever since Eve hooked up with a reptile to score a piece of fruit.

Dr Woodman said we’re living in a time when we’re giving all the old social rules a moral flogging – and seeing what survives.

“There are these layered-over sets of rules that are longstanding, and that are probably changing – but have not disappeared completely,” he told The New Daily.

“So what you see with the outrage on social media… is we’re trying to work out what the new manners and rules are with dating and everything else.”

It’s confusing for both sexes. “If you go back to the post-World War Two period, it was ill-mannered to state it, but it was it was up to the man to do the wooing and show he was up to it. This meant paying for everything and doing everything he could to impress the woman.”

Those days are gone some will say

In 2014, Vogue asked its editors to give advice on whether women should ever pay for a meal with a man.

One suggested that one should at least to pretend to reach for the purse, and hope like hell the man did the right thing. Others weren’t so thoughtful.

“I never even pretend to reach if it’s a first date. That’s just standard,” said another editor, “unless, it’s a confusing situation where I don’t know if we’re on a date or we’re just friends. Then, I’ll do the pretend reach.”

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