How dieting will ruin dating
Dating and relationships are about compatibility. Once you get past that early stage of dating, compatibility has a lot to do with the more mundane features of life. Like what we eat.
Ever try cooking dinner for a group of people with very different dietary requirements? Not fun. My son was a vegetarian at the same time I was on keto and trying to eat 200 grams of protein per day. Reconciling our family menu, the grocery list, and everyone’s happiness was a challenge to say the least.
At least family and long-time friends can navigate these trials. Those who are early in their romantic journey often have more trouble.
A Brand New World
Beyond four or five generations ago, a date might have meant a walk through the countryside or some quality time in the family parlor. Ah, the simplicity of it all. Today in contrast, choices abound to reinvent dinner or “grab a drink.” 
Meanwhile we’ve all gotten very niche with our diets. No fat. All fat. No sugars. Whey protein. Micellar protein. Cricket protein. Dairy free. Gluten free. Enjoyment free.
Not to mention religious. We’ve grown so strict with our consumption that one day we might need to have a third-party service figure out what restaurant to meet at. And speaking of religion, God we are so desperate to optimize our schedules that we’re practically ready to actually use Calendly.
Meanwhile, Siri could help us determine what to order based on each other’s profiles:
She’ll share the flan with you if you order that. Reviewers Pedro and Josh give Katie an average of 4.3 stars on their flan-sharing experience. And whatever you do, don’t get the Roquefort. Katie has ties to those protesting the plight of French cave farmers, and she receives a weekly email called Fair Cheese.
These tribulations of ours are only going to get worse. We nod and agree while our friends wax Shinto about how perfect is Jiro’s pursuit of perfection. Wouldn’t it be better if Per Se were in a train station, too? And yes, who needs adornment? Invention? Just make me the simple stuff better than anyone else.
There’s a new place near me that’s focused on simple, full-meal bowl-food using ancient grains. I can’t wait to try it. They’re even making a documentary.
In reality Jiro worship is a kind of social kabuki theater. We put on masks and play grotesque philosophs in search of Platonic ideals. “Oh, a perfect circle would just be so beautiful!” Sure. 🙄
Give Them What They Want
No. We want different. We want luxury. We want adornment. We want frivolous. And we want food and drink suited to our own obscure health regimen.
However, we don’t yet have that specificity in cuisine. Another place specializing in grilled cheese and only grilled cheese right off the set of a Food Network show is welcome — but small fingerling potatoes in the grand scheme.
In the early 2000s there was a place called CH1VE in San Diego. So much chive in everything. Chive puree. Chive oil. Chive garnish. It was great. Until they felt the need to change to a tapas concept and eventually closed.
Maybe we just weren’t ready.
Sure, you’ve got your odd vegan restaurant, and you can find more than a few New York places that specialize in obscure Indian street foods. But have you ever seen a keto Italian place? Where’s my paleo Thai? Bueller?
It’s crazy that a whole subculture of protein whores tired of the same salad places is left to prowl the ghettos of Chick-fil-As and Boston Markets. Let me be clear: those grilled nuggets at the former don’t get any better after 29 of them.
And keto dieters like this author have experienced untold shaming at marginally finer establishments after ordering gratuitous sides of fatty condiments. Wait till you’re told by a gastropub bartender “we don’t know how much to charge for that,” as if you’ve out-exotic’ed your friendly neighborhood exotic dancer and she/he needs to call an actuary for a price quote.
What does this have to do with dating?
Everything, my friend. Niche cuisine is coming. And the explosion in choice will go ahead and paradox as predicted.
She might want to try that new alkaline cocktail joint down the street. You forget where you are and order your average sour cocktail. Those “in the know” lecture you condescendingly about the ignorance of lowering your blood pH while your date eyes that guy savoring his fermented cucumber puree down the bar.
You manage to escape that bitter scene to arrive together at that Mesa Indian pop-up for dinner. Supposedly the owners plucked prehistoric corn kernels from Anasazi ruins and then sequenced the genome. They grow midget maize (aka “Lazarus corn”) in their own organic upstairs greenhouse and serve “simple roof-to-table fare that honors the traditions of the 13th C. Pueblo people.”  You observe to your companion, wittily you think, that it’d be awesome if each table could be served in “the intimacy of your own personal mud cave.” But your date fails to see the humor and looks askance at your “cultural appropriation.”
Despite your still fresh and epic fail in the joke department, she humors you when you suggest that Yelp-“Hot-and-New” kernel-centric place for a nightcap, which you refer to as a “nut job.” 
On the way you each snag an amuse bouche from the sidewalk window of Meese, a shrine to the former Attorney General and a purveyor of every type of mousse you can imagine. Chocolate. Mango. Duck liver.
“What if generals wore tailored suits, and attorneys wore military uniforms?!” you proffer in your best Seinfeld voice. At least four eyes roll around you. But she smirks.
You get the kaffir lime mousse. She gets the Vidalia onion. You feel one-upped and tell her so. She tells you she respects your weirdly competitive nature and admits she only got it because Siri told her to.
Despite the grab-and-go snack, you’re both still hungry, since the previous place’s miniature corn dishes were sized as such. So after arriving at your final destination, you two lovebirds order a nut mezze platter. Over hazelnut spread on almond flour crostini you vehemently agree when she says how chocolate ruins Nutella. “Everyone knows that!”
Subsequently you learn she was just kidding and give an “aww shucks” expression when she justifiably asks you to, “Dude, lighten up.”
But wait, then you rebound by detecting some nut husk in the mezze components and verbally pitying your romantic forebears and their poor, huskless digestive health. 
You’re on the home stretch now. You’re congratulating yourself for following all of those food porn influencers on IG and watching Anthony Bourdain reruns at 3.5x speed in college. “This is why we train,” you smile to yourself.
The cocktails are on their way. If all that masturbatory back-patting weren’t enough earlier, you feel good about biting your tongue that coconut infusions are in some of the drinks. I mean, it’s not really a nut, is it. That quick drink you guys grabbed may pay off for all concerned.
You gaze into each others’ eyes and take a sip. Those sesame bitters are really balancing out the coconut oil, and the macadamia whip is light and airy like grandma used to make. A vine of poppy syrup somehow holds itself together, suspended vertically from rim to floor.
It all comes crashing down about halfway through your collins glass. Like Sherlock you put it all together in a flash. No, not the one with Iron Man, the TV one.
Dammit, not the old TV one, the new one who’s played by that actor that looks like a pasty alien and hangs out with Bilbo Baggins.
Anyway, you see the pieces floating in a web of destruction around your rapidly degenerating digestive tract.
- The almonds were of a wild but slightly GMO’ed variety and hydroponically grown on yet another local rooftop. Then they were milked, boiled, deglazed, fermented, and extracted. All of these factors lead to a much greater chance of cyanide poisoning. (You say all of this really fast, shouting to yourself, reveling in your cleverness as you self-diagnose this medical emergency. Your date audible scoots her chair back.)
- Society’s nut-crazed subculture has been inuring themselves and their offspring to the effects of cyanide for decades now — like the Princess Bridegroom. That’s why no one else is feeling what you are.
- Also, there was a warning sign in front and a waiver you signed.
- You don’t have a nut allergy. (You remind yourself merrily that you’re fit for nature unlike your evolutionarily handicapped contemporaries.) But sesame allergies are on the rise. You probably adult-onsetted that shit.
- The amount of coconut-ness in that drink was enough to make 80 beach mai tais complete. Again, not really a nut, but who cares when your insides are a panic-enhanced rollercoaster. The MCT oil in that drink you’ve happily downed by now is enough to kill a small elephant. If this were a BBC set, Bilbo would be cheering you on right now.
- All of the crossfitters in here spent their days in the bathroom getting over the MCT adoption hump long ago.
- Should’ve asked for extra husk.
- Again, that waiver.
The Future Starts Slow 
It’s the future, though, so you’ll probably be alright. Antidotes will have re-dotes by then.
While the painfully niche “milk bar” for you and your droogies to frequent disappeared by the mid-20th C., you can rest assured that increased gastronomic diversity will come — dating ramifications be damned. 
Those of us in the quaint present will probably have to deal first with scheduling dates that meet our intermittent fasting protocols. The hassle of scheduling a 5:2 girl and an 19:5 guy is maddening enough to remind you of Calendly. We should just have dating apps tailored to our specific cohort:
Meanwhile, we’ll just have to settle for romantic interludes over plain ol’ mussels and fries. Or slum it with some artisan brick-oven Neapolitan pizza. Just hold the nuts.
About the author: Sri hosts The Warrior Poet podcast, a show on the philosophy of leadership based on his experience in the SEAL Teams, at Harvard Business School, on Wall Street, and in tech. Shows every Monday. Follow him on Instagram @sri_the_warrior_poet and @sri_actually.
All the way wet (aka the footnotes)
 “All the way wet”: Something an instructor might say to students at Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training.
 I personally detest the way our culture makes it almost mandatory for any invitation besides a wedding or bat-mitzvah to be casual, non-committal, mildly interested, off-the-cuff, and (ironically) obsequious and condescending at the same time.
Anyway, this “grabbing” of libations we speak of says,
I know you’re busy, and I’m really busy, too. You should just see how many dates I have lined up in that new app JerksGetJerked. If it’s not too much to ask, cause I find you mildly attractive, and cause we’re both super busy and in-demand, we could set a time and place using this shitty app called Calendly and jog by a mixology vending machine as it hands out Voss bottles full of a carb-free cocktail. We can keep running and spilling it all over our shirts as we run and talk about how we’ve both had better vending machine cocktails at that place a few blocks away that was written up in the Gothamtonian last month, y’know? Then we can high-five for the extra tolerable run and drink we just grabbed and be on our collective fucking ways. Cause we’re both terrified the other will think we’re more interested than they are. And cause we both have better things to do than hang out — like eat Double Stuf Oreos and watch dystopian scifi on Netflix in a dark room by ourselves. But in that 5 minutes we’ve both squeezed in together, also if you decided to have sex with me, that would be cool, too. Not that that’s why I’m asking you out, as indicated by my super casual and societally approved phraseology. But yeah, we could grab some sex real quick.
Note, more adventurous verbiage with the same meaning doesn’t work. You aren’t gonna “swipe a beer” or “purloin a martini.” You might “snag” something with a friend that word doesn’t seem to suave with a member of the opposite sex.
 The menu is reverse-engineered from bowls, utensils, and digestive remains found in the ruins.
 Siri suggested not only the place but also the joke. Date reminds you that joke only earned points cause it’s late and you’ve both had a few drinks. Tread lightly, buddy.
 WARNING: This author has no evidence that nut husk is in any way healthy or even edible. This author has plenty of evidence that someone will study every possible food we can eat looking for previously undiscovered health benefits and, with some diligence, usually find what he or she is looking for.
[*] kernel panic (n.): “A ‘kernel panic’ occurs when a UNIX operating system detects a fatal error from which it cannot recover. It is roughly the same as a “blue screen of death” (stop error) in Windows. The panic sends highly technical information to administrators and developers designed to help the identify the problem.” (Fandom)
The exact spelling is a reference to Mr. Robot, Season 2, Episode 1. Love that show.
 Given the title of the last section, I have no choice but to give you one of the best songs of the last decade:
 The powerful opening scene from the disturbingly spectacular “A Clockwork Orange” by Stanley Kubrick (written by Anthony Burgess)
Be sure to check out: If you enjoyed this story, you might enjoy my related post on how Wolverine gets shredded abs: “Intermittent Fasting and the Placebo Effect.”