What Would You Give Up For Love?

Candlelight, red wine, freshly made pasta. Flirting at a small table in a corner infrequently visited by the waiter. Such are the makings of a great date.

But not if you can’t eat what they’re serving. What if you must start with a 10-minute interrogation: Can the scaloppini be prepared without a dusting of flour? Can I forgo the bed of pasta and just have the red pepper salmon? Does the chef use anything to thicken the risotto? Embarrassing. Your waiter takes a few trips to the kitchen to speak with the chef, and your date progresses in fits in starts. And–let’s be honest–you might seem a little high-maintenance (think Sally Albright, the picky heroine who ordered everything on the side in the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally). However, if you have Celiac Disease–a condition where the immune system reacts negatively to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye–your questions aren’t a matter of preference. You must avoid the flour and pasta! Even if you aren’t a vegetarian or vegan or suffer from an intolerance or allergy, chances are at some point you’ll dine out with someone who is. In these situations, how do relationships fare?

Animal House
When 28-year-old New Yorker Erin clicked on 30-year-old David’s online dating profile, what she found was intriguing: he was a vegan. “I love food. I found it admirable that someone could choose to live such a restrictive lifestyle for the benefit of the planet,” she explains. Love blossomed as the two began to date, as did Erin’s initial interest in “converting.” “David introduced me to all kinds of food I’ve never tried,” she says. “Initially, it seemed like there were limitless possibilities.” Until, of course, they had hit all of the eight vegan restaurants in the city—twice. Then things felt a little limiting. “Eating out became kind of a pain, and eating in required quite a bit a prep work in the kitchen—unless we wanted to eat rice pasta every night,” she adds.

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