The better portion of my conversations with friends involves a complicated algorithm of verbal novice Squash. Whether we play singles or doubles is irrelevant: we repeatedly hit walls.
“Where should we go?”
“Let’s do Jack’s Wife!”
“I ate there last night.”
“How about burritos?”
“I’d do burritos!”
“Me too — Tacombi? The one on Elizabeth?”
“They don’t have burritos there, just tacos.”
And so on and so forth it goes, a set of step-by-step operations intended to solve a problem. And while the solution seems as though it should be simple (just decide where you want to eat), we’re humans faced with too many choices who repeatedly forget to carry the 1 — so we start again.
It was during an especially grueling group text that I began to trace The Restaurant Game’s direct correlation to our inability to pick a mate. The conversation of “where should we eat?” mingled with a “why don’t I like anyone?” lament.
Realize it or not, we follow their lead. We’ve picked up their hashtagging habits and put a dramatic number of E’s on the word “eats.” We stalk GrubStreet and track food trucks on Twitter. Most importantly, however, is how we mimic their fickle gastronomic tendencies and mirror their migratory restaurant path — that right there is the problem.
Foodies opened our eyes to this world of not just choice, but distinction. To a level of taste that can and will be judged by others. Before Foodies, all we cared about was the good bagel place on the corner. We had zero pretense about grabbing a coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts and sushi was sushi regardless of chef.
Now, a restaurant is only hot for a minute. It’s almost taboo to eat at the same place twice. Casual dining is considered cool — and it’s preferred, yet when reservations are too readily available, we’re turned off. We’re wary to award a place we frequent with the title of “favorite spot” (because what if things change and suddenly, it’s not), we’ve become accustomed to the convenience of booking tables online — multiple at a time, and all meat must be local.
Doesn’t that sound like your own dating requirements and/or gripes?
Foodies are the frequent butt of millennial jokes so I hate to be another contributor to their plight. (We exhaust Instagram with group photos of our clothing-coordinated friends — how is their stream of well-plated burrata any worse? And everyone loves a ramen burger.) But I am afraid if not certain that their demand for “what’s next” — and our blind inclination to follow their lead — is the exact reason we can’t commit beyond third dates.
Besides, our romantic lives needed a new scapegoat, and I needed a new answer to the age old question, “How am I still single?”
Illustrated by Autumn Kimball