Food you mention on your dating app can decide your prospects, says US survey
The food you mention on your dating app can decide your prospects, says a US survey. We speak to bloggers and dating coaches here to see if this applies to us too
Mulund-based graphic designer and food blogger Anand Prahlad first signed up on Tinder in September 2014. Over the next couple of months, his profile matched with a few women. "But that's pretty much where the story ended. The conversations were dull and boring. It went nowhere," he recalls. Prahlad then decided to tweak his Tinder profile, this time making it more appealing to women who liked chocolates, and cats. The Facebook profile pictures were soon replaced by shots from his food blog, decadent cakes and emerald-eyed kittens. "Back then, I had baked a chocolate monk nirvana cake using rum, and it had turned out swell. So I uploaded a picture, and voila, it worked!" he laughs. The first person he ended up chatting with was somebody he dated for over a year.
Eventually the 36-year-old moved on to other dating apps like Hinge and OkCupid. But what remained constant were the conversations over food. "So, Hinge basically pulls up images off Facebook. Since I don't have too many display pictures, it showed most of my food pictures. With this, I added a note stating I'm a food blogger and passionate baker which explains the number of food shots," he says. The introduction became a seamless talking point for him and the women he met up through the app. It's a pattern that is consistent till date, he observes. "The conversation flows a lot easier when it's about food." This then brings us to the question: Does food impact our romantic interactions?
Eat, pray, love
Recently, Zoosk, a California-based online dating service that's available in more than 80 countries, conducted a survey where they analysed how food affects online daters' interactions by poring over 3.7 million dating profiles. According to their findings, a profile could get more hits if the person mentions the right food in their dating profile. Food blogger Rohit Haryani, who has 86K followers on Instagram and goes by the pseudonym The Hungry Mumbaikar, agrees. His now-defunct profile on a dating app once read, 'I'm a foodie who likes pizza, butter chicken and Old Monk'. The picture showed Haryani posing next to a massive, delicious-looking brownie.
The ratatouille that he prepared and uploaded on his blog
"I wanted to come across as comfortable and approachable. So, I used my picture with the chocolate brownie, and mentioned butter chicken, old monk and beer, which are massy but have class," he says. For Haryani, it was important that he mentions his love for food as an introduction because that's a large part of who he is. But not everybody believes in revealing their gastronomical preoccupations on a dating profile. Restaurateur and food blogger Simrranjit Ghuraa aka The Hunger Blogger, whose Instagram page has almost 54 K followers, has steered clear of it. It's something he reveals only after he has developed a level of comfort with a person. "Funnily, I've also taken many of my dates along for food reviews at fancy restaurants because they insisted. But I do that only when the girl is genuinely interested and curious about food and not faking it," he says. In return, Ghuraa has been introduced to little known eating joints like a stall in Andheri West that serves pork dimsums and a quaint misal place in Dadar. "It's a two-way street. I can't be the only one talking food," he says.
Graphic designer Anand Prahlad runs the food blog, Magic Marinade. Many of his food pictures make it to his dating profiles because he believes conversations flow when it's about food.
Ghuraa says he often gets questions from his followers on how they could come across as more well-exposed. "Based on my observation, I feel if one wants to come across as elite, sophisticated and well travelled, mentioning foods like artichoke, ravioli, gnocchi, and sushi, always works." But it's not always a sure shot formula to success, says Prahlad, given that a lot more people are gastronomically aware these days, thanks to YouTube videos, and shows like Masterchef Australia. "I guess name dropping doesn't always work because people can tell if you're simply trying to show off," he says.
Let's talk over a meal
Versova resident and dating coach Nidhi Sharma often comes across cases where food has the potential to impact romantic prospects. She narrates the case of a vegan client who was finding it tough to last in relationships. "He would also complain that women are not mature enough or don't match his intellect. Later, it so happened that we decided to meet for dinner, and as I sat there eating, he started to tell me how my food choices were wrong. I stopped him and asked if this is what he does when he's out with women. He was stunned, and in the few seconds of silence, it all made sense — why none of the women would call him back," she says. Sharma later went on to coach him on how he could be more accepting of people with varied food choices. Her idea was to help him adjust, and not compromise when it came to food, because "unresolved food choice negotiations lead to conflicts."
Simrranjit Ghuraa at a food review
Zoosk's survey also states that some foods should be avoided when it's time for that first date. Dishes like buffalo wings, ribs, and anything that's hard to pronounce, are best avoided feels Saloni Kukreja, founder, Food of Mumbai, a micro blog, which is present on social media and Wordpress. According to her, it's better to be neutral when it comes to ordering food while on your first date. "Don't try to show off your wine knowledge, or pretend to be someone you're not. Order stuff that's easier to eat and avoid messy dishes like burgers." For Kukreja, a restaurant is a great place to judge compatibility, which is why even if an individual isn't a foodie, they still meet up at a cafe or a restaurant. "What you eat and how you eat reveals a lot about who you are," she says.
Versova resident and dating coach Nidhi Sharma often comes across cases where food has the potential to impact romantic prospects
It's a fact that cafes are also cashing in on. Ishanee Haware, owner of The Koffee Works, a cafe and bakery she has started in Chembur, admits her target audience are mainly young couples. Which is why the decor has a lot of vibrant shades of yellows and pinks instead of sober blacks and browns. "A lot of happens over a cup of coffee. I've seen the trajectory of many couples," she says. But for many, it's only when a dinner date concludes with a dessert that the prospects appear more promising. "Ending the meal on a sweet note is an indication that it's been successful. It's a pattern I've experienced and even noticed with friends," says Amrith Padmanabhan, a publicist who also runs the food blog, The Hogger's Blog.
A walk through Mohammed Ali Road's Khau Galli