Are Young Women in American Cities Using Men for Free Meals?

Elle Silver

Called going on a "foodie call," I regret I did this in my past. It's not fair to use men this way, especially seeing guys are expected to pay for meals on first dates.

Back when I first discovered online dating, after a long period of being single, I decided to enjoy myself and go out on dates with a lot of men. Every single morning, I would open my inbox to find it stuffed with emails from potential suitors.

No, I didn't like most of these guys. They weren't right for me.

But still, I assented to go on dates with them. Why?

I was coming out of an era of feeling so alone. It was exciting to have all these men interested in me. And so I went out on dates with tons of them, even if I wasn't romantically interested in the vast majority of these guys.

But still, I ate a lot of free meals as a result. Some people would say this is unethical. There's an expectation in our society that men should always pay for dates. At least on the first date, he should pay.

A survey conducted by and SurveyMonkey found that 78% of both male and female respondents believed that men should foot the bill on the first date.

So is it fair for a woman to go out on a date with a guy if she has no desire to even date him seriously? He's paying for her meal because he wants to take it farther.

Sure, sometimes a woman doesn't yet know if she's into a guy or not. She has to meet him in person first. This is his chance to impress her by buying her dinner.

However, some women abuse this dating standard.

I certainly did in my past.

The "foodie call."

A new breed of women are consciously using men for free dinners. This issue is so rampant that there is even a term for it: “foodie calls.”

The term was coined after a woman had a guy she’d met on Tinder order her a pizza to be delivered to her house.

A study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science entitled, “Foodie Calls: When Women Date Men for a Free Meal (Rather Than a Relationship),” found that out of a surveyed 698 single heterosexual women, 22% of them had agreed to meet a man for a date just for the meal they’d get out of it.

This practice has become more and more popular as the cost of life skyrockets in American cities and inflation is on the rise. Young women take advantage of the dating rule that men pay for meals on the first date, enjoying dining in the finest restaurants, all on their suitors’ tab.

These young women don't seek romance, just nutrition.

This doesn't sound very cool at all. Isn't that just using a man? What kind of woman does this?

What does it say about me that I did?

Women who go on "foodie calls" have dark triad personality traits.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that a recent study found that women who commonly go on dates with men just for the free food have dark triad personality traits.

What are dark triad personality traits?

According to Scott A. McGreal who wrote an article about "foodie calls" in Psychology Today, such traits are:

...related to selfish and antisocial attitudes and behavior, specifically, the traits of psychopathy, Machiavellianism and narcissism, which indicate callous disregard for the rights of others, a cynical, manipulative approach to social interaction, and a grandiose sense of one’s own superiority to other and feelings of entitlement to special treatment, respectively.

Yes, this means women who go on "foodie calls" have some sociopathic tendencies. Knowing this, what does this say about me?

Am I a sociopath?

I think my biggest flaw is that I was quite naïve when I was younger. I would also say I was a little desperate. I wanted attention from men after spending years alone.

During my earlier dating life, I often felt used by men. I won't say that I was getting back at men by going out on all these dates. I wasn't seeking revenge. The attention just made me feel good.

It seemed like the guys had fun on our dates as well. Maybe they weren't getting the girl they wanted, but at least they were getting a great conversation.

Isn't that what dating is all about? Having fun and trying new things?

Maybe I was also giving these men the practice they needed so that they could hit a home run on another date with the right woman.

But sure, a part of me feels guilty. I feel like I exploited dating rules.

Luckily, I've learned my lesson. When men ask me out today and I'm not into them, I politely demure.

It's the right thing to do, after all.

What do you think? Please let me know in the comments.

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I write about dating, marriage, divorce, family, society, and the city I live in: Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, CA

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