It's 2018, and we have officially entered an era where even my father has heard the terms "ghosting" and "f*ckboy" — even though he has no idea what they mean. (Sorry, Dad, love you.) In an age where traditional dating norms feel less certain than ever, when a date offers to cook for you, it can feel a bit like they are offering to climb your very long hair in order to save you from a tower. I honestly don't know what it means when your date cooks for you, but it seems like a very kind gesture.
My experience with men cooking for me is as follows: I've never been cooked for or had someone to offer to cook for me prior to a third date. This makes sense, because cooking requires entering your date's apartment, and entering a date's apartment on the first date is a bit scary because of murder and assault and the like. (Safety first!) Most of these men have seemed genuinely interested in me, but not all of them were complete perfect specimens who wanted to date me forever.
In my humble and skeptical opinion, if someone cooks for you, yes, they probably like you, but they also may just want to get laid. I took to Reddit, the most honest of forums, and heard from real guys what exactly cooking for a date meant in their experience. Here's what they had to say:
This Man Proves My Hypothesis
"If it's someone I'm dating I want a good excuse to get her over to my place for the first time. If it's just a friend then nothing really, just want to share a nice meal."
Yes, he wants to get his date over to his place, but to be fair, that doesn't mean his intentions are oriented toward the bedroom. (Or does it?)
This Realist Makes An Excellent Point
"It often reflects a romantic interest but some men definitely will cook dinner for friends with no ulterior motive. In my case, I like to cook, and while that often involves dinner parties sometimes you don't want a giant horde of people so I'll invite a friend over."
So basically, while cooking usually indicates some romantic interest, if your cute friend who you've never actually gone on a date with is cooking for you, the feelings might just be platonic all around. Or rather, the feelings may just be about food all around.
This Man Is Basically Dr. Seuss
"We're gonna feed you, then we're gonna breed you.
*face-palms painfully, leaving a bright red mark on face*"
This is funny and only a tiny bit alarming. I do think that cooking for someone does indicate a desire to take care of them, whether that is for an end goal of hooking up or an end goal of marriage and babies.
This Man Really Breaks Down The Possibilities
"It could mean a plethora of things, so I'll list a few that come to mind: Doesn't enjoy eating out. Doesn't like spending a lot of money on food he can make himself. Wants to show you he can take care of you (very situational). Likes his food a very specific way (also situational). I think more information on the current nature of your relationship is needed though."
You are right, and also, are you a professor? Like, dang, this is a thorough analysis.
This Man Reminds Us That Cooking Takes Time
"Depends on context and relation to woman. My fiancee likes when I make meals for her, or when we cook together. So does my mom when she comes to visit. Sometimes I bring food to work to share with all my coworkers. If they aren't related to you, then typically it's a few steps above asking if they want to get coffee. I wouldn't do it unless you've been on a few official dates or you are sharing the food with multiple people."
I agree, cooking too soon is a red flag, but cooking for someone later on could mean there's some interest beyond casual dating. But again, who knows. It's just a pot of chili.
This Guy Tells It Like It Is
"It means one person is hungry, possibly 2."
With a username like "tacoliquorr," I sort of feel like this guy knows what he's talking about. Hey, sometimes cooking is just cooking.
And for some female perspective on why a man might cook for a woman he's interested in, one woman told Elite Daily, "I once dated a guy who told me, 'Look, I’m realistic. I’m not the best-looking guy or the richest guy. So I play to my two strengths: I’m a damn good cook and I always go down on girls.' And to be fair, he made octopus tacos for me one night that we’re literally the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my entire life." See? Cooking isn't necessarily a tacky way to get someone into bed, sometimes, men just play to their strengths because that's essentially what dating requires.
My takeaway from all of this? If someone cooks for you, they cook for you. Say "thank you," offer to help with dishes, and definitely don't overanalyze things. Bon appétit!
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