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I just started dating someone about a month ago. I really like him, we make a great match in a lot of ways. But there’s one way in which we really don’t match up: food. I’m a vegetarian, who loves good healthy food. Food isn’t just sustenance to me, it’s culture, its experimentation, it’s nurturance. Michael Pollen’s Omnivore’s Dilemma is one of my favorite books. There isn’t a vegetable out there that I don’t love. Cooking is a very important thing to me, and in other relationships it’s been an important part of my connection to the other person.
This guy is exactly the opposite. Not only does he absolutely hate vegetables, he doesn’t even know how to identify some of the very basic ones. He’s in his 30’s, but when we go out to dinner, he might as well order off the kids menu—he eats pizza, grilled cheese, hamburgers (no tomato, lettuce, pickles, or onions, of course) and cheese omelettes. The only color other than white and yellow on his plate is the occasional ketchup to go with his french fries. Even with beer we don’t match up—I’m always looking for a fun new microbrew or craft beer, and he rarely strays from Miller Light.
I know it sounds like a trivial thing, but this mismatch has actually been pretty challenging for me in our burgeoning relationship. It’s obviously not just about the food itself, it’s an ideological thing. Am I overreacting? Should I try to convince him to start eating like an adult? Sneak veggies into his food like you do with little kids? Help, Yenta!
There are a few key points here. 1) You have been dating a month and he already annoys you. That is not fly. Month one should be easy and blissful. 2) He eats like a child. You are what you eat. There is nothing burgeoning about this relationship. Get out, and get out now.
I strongly believe that you can decode a great deal about a man based on how he tackles his plate. Go to a quick-paced eatery and watch one day with a notebook in hand. Look at how some men gobble, others slice and chew slowly, others eat in small piles or leave flung chunks of food across the plate or the table. In the way a man approaches what he consumes, you can detect a great deal about his interior choices.
Ie, does he waste food? Does he care where it comes from? Is he connected to the world beyond himself, or is food a frenzy, a moment of need rather than a moment of gratitude, consciousness and connection? Also, remember that what we eat affects our temperament. If he is eating Ramen noodles, his nutrition is low which means his emotional stability is not being fed. This translates across the board.
This sounds judgemental and absurd, but it is just judgemental. What are your values? List them. Figure out what you need your man to understand, appreciate, be connected to. He might not have to be a vegetarian to be your lover, but perhaps a conscious eater? And consciousness can come in a million forms. This bozo sounds like he is stuck in a fourth grade mentality and it shows in his choice to eat Wonderbread instead of spelt.
I don’t understand why women think it is too much to want someone to be evolved. That is your god-given right, and really your obligation for the sake of humanity and generations to come. You must hold high standards and seek a man who has progressed beyond fourth grade because fourth graders cannot rise up and grow to the potential you have inside of you.
Leave him, maybe send him a cookbook, and seek a better man elsewhere. There may be nothing seriously wrong with this particular guy, but there is plenty wrong with this particular guy when it comes to dating YOU. You HAVE to be picky because you CAN be picky because you owe it to yourself and to your community to find a man who raises you up, or at the very least, meets you where you are. Why on earth would you want to spend your good energy educating a child-man on how to eat vegetables when you could be exploring life eye to eye with a man of your caliber, discovering new things and expanding daily.
You didn’t learn to eat well for nothing. You are an evolved woman. Onwards and upwards!
Other books to send him off with:
Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating by Mark Bittman
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser
Ask Yenta! E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using www.send-email.org to ask anonymously.
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