- Researchers recently surveyed 698 single heterosexual women and found that 22% of them had agreed to meet a date because of the meal they’d get out of it, not the potential relationship.
- The women who admitted to “foodie calls,” as the researchers called it, were also more likely to exhibit psychopathic or narcissistic tendencies that could have contributed to their outlooks on dating for free food.
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If you ever thought your date was more interested in her meal than your company, you may have been onto something.
For a new first-of-its-kind study, published June 20 in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, researchers surveyed 698 single heterosexual women and found that between 22% and 33% of them had agreed to meet a date because of the meal they’d get out of it, not the potential relationship. The researchers dubbed this trend a “foodie call” to play off the common slang phrase “booty call,” or meeting up with someone solely for the sex.
To conduct the study, the researchers asked the women how often they engaged in “foodie calls,” how acceptable it is to go on a date with someone just for the free meal, and how much they believed in traditional gender roles. They also had the women answer specific questions to determine if they had psychopathic or narcissistic tendencies that could have contributed to their “foodie call” outlooks.
The researchers – based at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California, and the University of California Merced – found that 23% or 156 of the women admitted to partaking in “foodie calls.” Among those, 27% said they did so occasionally, 21% said they did rarely, and 15% said they went on “foodie calls” regularly. The women who were OK with the act and went on “foodie calls” more frequently were also more likely to exhibit narcissistic or psychopathic traits, or believe in traditional gender roles.
Women with “dark personality traits” were more likely to find “foodie calls” acceptable
Narcissism and psychopathy are two mental health disorders that exist on a scale. A person can have tendencies of these disorders, or have a full-blown version of them, like narcissistic personality disorder. In either case, a narcissist is a person who has an inflated sense of self-importance and lack of empathy for others, which are typically mechanisms used to mask their low self-esteem, according to the Mayo Clinic. These behaviours can be mild to extreme.
The severity of psychopathic traits can also fall on a spectrum, but generally speaking, people with them lie to deceive others, have little to no regard for moral standards, and act impulsively. People who are on the more extreme end of this spectrum may be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder.
The researchers used scales developed to specifically diagnose these disorders – the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale and the 40-item Narcissistic Personality Inventory – to analyse the women’s personalities. They said that it wasn’t one specific trait, but a high overall score on these scales, that correlated with women’s beliefs that “foodie calls” were acceptable and their frequent participation in them.
The researchers wrote that their findings support social theories that suggest “women with dark personality traits and traditional gender role beliefs may exploit traditional dating scripts for men,” asking them to pay for meals because it is the societally accepted thing to do.
The study did have some limitations. Since the researchers only looked at straight women, the results of the study can’t be generalized for the entire population. Additionally, some of the women surveyed for the study could have purposefully or accidentally misreported the number of “foodie calls” they went on or their feelings about them.
Still, the study offers insight into the ways traditional dating expectations continue to permeate culture, even with the advent of dating apps and the acceptance of more progressive gender roles.
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