Last week I talked about how friendships can change when you go gluten-free, but dating is one of the toughest things to do gluten-free! Just picture it: you are out looking good at a bar or party when you meet someone charming. You flirt all evening, careful to put yourself in the best light, and then it happens–he asks you out. Yay! Now comes the hard part, you say “yes, but…” and with that but you invite him into the difficulty that is feeding you.
It can be embarrassing enough to explain your eating restrictions to family and friends, but it’s much harder to lay it all out for a guy you are seriously crushing on. After all, admitting to be gluten-free often gets an initial “wow, you must be a freak” reaction, which is not so fun. Of course, any guy worth dating won’t mind that your meals are a little high maintenance, but it can be an adjustment. I warned my now-husband about my restrictions mid-flirt and he asked me out anyway–he just made me pick the restaurants until he got a better idea of what I could and couldn’t eat. He also worked very hard to plan dates that didn’t just revolve around food–he took me to a comedy show, to watch the circus elephants parade into Manhattan, to a fun wine bar, on a walk across the Brooklyn bridge, and to Coney Island to ride the famed Cyclone. He also did his research and called ahead if he wanted to take me to a particular restaurant. (He’s a catch, I know!)
If you are a guy reading this and you are gluten-free, dating wont change too much for you since the onus is usually on the guy to plan the date! Just make sure to pick restaurants with food she likes that also has gluten-free options, call ahead to ask questions, and make reservations. Picking her up with a bouquet of roses is a good idea too!
For girls, it’s a little tougher, but here are my tips:
1. Be upfront with your date about what you can and can’t eat when he asks you out.
2. Have a list of gf restaurants of different price points saved in your smartphone. That way if he suggests a dinner spot that won’t work for you, you can suggest something similar that will.
3. If you know where you are going, call ahead and ask questions so you can know exactly what you want to order. It will save you time during the date that could be better used for flirting!
4. Skip the crowds and offer to cook your date a delicious gluten-free meal.
5. Suggest an afternoon or morning date that doesn’t involve food. You could meet for coffee and a hike, go to a museum or concert, play tennis or another sport, go to a movie, or pack a picnic!
And, this should go without saying, but any date that encourages you to stray from your diet, calls you a “hippy” or “freak” or makes light of your restrictions, especially if you have celiac, isn’t worth your time. Just tell him you hope he has fun cuddling with his bread 🙂