January 28, 2020

Dating: A Great Way to Get a Free Meal

“Magali Trejo-Martinez, a 22-year-old living in Salem, Oregon, recently went on a date that was rather uninspiring. “I had dinner, had a couple margaritas, and then went home,” is how she recapped the evening. This outcome wasn’t entirely surprising—she says she wasn’t very interested in the guy when she agreed to go out with him—but it wasn’t a letdown either, because he paid the bill. While her heart wasn’t in it, her stomach was: “I mean, if it’s dinner, I’m not going to say no, so that I don’t have to go home and cook,” she told me.

Trejo says that when she goes on a date where food, not romance, is her priority, she doesn’t feel bad, noting that she still makes an effort to be an engaging dinner companion. “If it’s a guy that’s inviting me out, I do expect them to be the one to pay,” she says. “But I am also bi, so if I like a girl, I like to be the dominant one and then I will go and pay.” And when she is the one who gets asked, she’ll sometimes still say yes to an otherwise inauspicious date. “If it involves food,” she said, “I am always down.”

Read: What does it mean to be ‘ready’ for a relationship?

In the age of online dating, media outlets have been fascinated by women who are in it for the food. Often they are portrayed as wily and deceptive, a category of person to be cautious about. “Some Women Are Going on Tinder Dates Just to Score a Free Dinner, So Be Extra Careful How You Swipe,” read a Maxim headline.”

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